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Hi, All-Knowing One:

Who picks up after guide dogs for the blind? Does the dog's blind master carry a pooper-scooper or plastic Baggie? If so, how do they know where the waste matter is located? By smell? How do they know when the dog has the need?

-- Perplexed in Peñasquitos

By smell? Let's give the blind a little more dignity than that, Perp. Your answer depends in part on where the dog and its handler have been trained. In California and most other states, guide-dog owners are exempt from pooper-scooper laws, so not all dog-training schools include a unit on poop-finding techniques. Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael does have a canine good citizen class, and they recommend the following. First, feed the dog on a regular schedule, gauge its typical digestion time, then you'll be ready to go when he is. Put the dog on a leash, take a plastic Baggie, and head outside. When the dog is poised, follow the leash so you can find the front end of the dog. The location of the back end of the dog is then obvious. Put your hand inside the bag like a mitten, find the poop, scoop it. If the dog has some kind of intestinal distress or has just eaten salsa, it will let you know when it wants to take a walk. It's all very simple. And best of all, the blind don't have to look at it.

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