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Guide Dog Overcomes Fear of Delivery Robots After Unique Encounter

by Lisa

A guide dog has triumphed over her apprehension of delivery robots after an unconventional encounter.

Amelia, a Labrador residing in Raunds, Northamptonshire, initially displayed distress when confronted by Levi the robot during one of their walks.

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Upon learning of Amelia’s unease, the delivery company that operated Levi extended an invitation for her to visit their depot in an effort to ease tensions.

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According to David Holmes, Amelia’s owner, the once technophobic dog now confidently navigates encounters with electronic couriers.

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The sight of white boxes on wheels with antennas has become commonplace in certain urban areas as they traverse sidewalks and streets, ferrying takeout meals and packages.

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Holmes recounted the incident, stating, “Amelia led me to the curb and began barking, growling, and pulling me towards the road. I heard a faint trundling noise behind me, and it wasn’t until I returned home that my wife asked, ‘Did you encounter the robot?’ It all made sense then.”

Holmes shared his experience on social media, catching the attention of Gareth Chisholm, general manager at DPD’s Milton Keynes depot.

Chisholm expressed a desire to facilitate a positive introduction between Amelia and Levi, aiming to foster a harmonious relationship.

“We didn’t have a specific plan for their introduction, but we knew it needed to be gradual, with treats involved,” Chisholm explained. “Amelia initially displayed apprehension, but as treats were introduced, she became more engaged. Eventually, we were able to pass the robot by Amelia with minimal reaction, indicating her growing acceptance.”

Subsequent tests conducted on a pavement outside the depot replicated real-world conditions, with Amelia exhibiting no adverse reaction to Levi’s presence.

Holmes later observed the effectiveness of the familiarization session firsthand. “During a lunch outing with my wife, she informed me of a nearby robot. Thanks to Amelia’s calm demeanor, I remained oblivious to its presence.”

Amelia’s successful integration with delivery robots serves as a testament to the power of gradual exposure and positive reinforcement in overcoming fear and fostering acceptance.

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