Frequently Asked Questions

I live in London, how do I apply for a guide dog?

If you would like to learn more about our service, or find out more about the application process, please contact our support team.



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What are the current waiting times for a guide dog in London?

For replacement Guide Dog Owners, the average wait is between 6 and 12 months.  For first time owners, the average wait is between 12 and 24 months.



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What if a guide dog is not suitable for me?

At any stage during someone’s application, they and staff may decide that a guide dog is not for them.  If this happens, we will signpost them to more appropriate services that they may need, often via their local authority.



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Are there any differences in the training the dogs have in London to those in other teams?

The basic training is the same as dogs receive in all other teams, however they do require exposure to London conditions that many other dogs may not ever come across.  This includes the intensity of working in London, particularly during rush hours, exposure to underground stations and tube travel, and for some dogs negotiating moving escalators.



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I'm a guide dog owner in London, how do I get my guide dog trauined to be able to use escalators?

We can provide escalator training if a client meets the criteria – they should be travelling in rush hour at least once a week, and there should be no available alternative  e.g. stairs or lift.  A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will need to assess the dog and client’s suitability, and carry out the training. We find that only a minority of dogs will get on the moving escalators, so cannot guarantee that we can train your dog on them. It should be remembered that this only applies to escalators on the London underground, not in other stations or shops/shopping centres. Also once you have had the training, if there is an alternative such as stairs you should still use this rather than the escalator. Escalator use is not risk-free, we can only minimise the risks to the dog by teaching the safest way of using them. Please contact the office if you think you need escalator training.



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I need a replacement harness, who should I contact?

Please contact the office and speak to one of the Support Worker’s – we will replace equipment as necessary, however we do ask that you take good care of any equipment issued to you as it can be expensive.  For example, a lead sleeve costs £5.00, a harness is £25.50 without anything else added on, and a lead costs £14.70.



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I am a guide dog owner and have been denied access to a business in London, who do I contact to report the problem?

Call the support team as the first point of contact who will take all the details of the access denial and then pass them onto the Engagement Team who will contact you back to discuss further and aim to resolve the denial.



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How can I become a volunteer?

There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer depending on what your interests are and what free time you might have. You could help out once or twice a year at some of our fundraising events or you could directly help someone with sight loss as one of our My Guide volunteers. To find out what is available go to our ‘what volunteering can I do in London?’ page or type in your postcode and find out what’s available in your area in the ‘support us’ area of our website.



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How can I become a volunteer dog boarder and how long does the training last?

We are not currently recruiting for boarders, however it is likely we will do so again in the future.  For boarders to look after training dogs, it is a 6 month commitment if you take a dog for both its’ Early and Advanced training, and 10-12 weeks for Advanced only.  We need you to be able to drop the dog in to the office between 8-9am each morning and collect between 5-6pm each evening.  You will be given initial training before you get the dog, and then you will be supported by a GDMI/GDT for the time you have the dog.  We also run frequent volunteer evenings and refresher sessions. For emergency boarding, when Guide Dog Owners are in hospital etc, the length of time can vary from a couple of days to a few months at a time.  We do require that people are at home for the majority of the day, as guide dogs are used to being with people most of the time. There are also other roles that you may want to become involved in such as volunteer driver, My Guide volunteer, sighted guide for a free running group or helping individual owners free run their dog.  Please visit our volunteering pages for more information on how to get involved.



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Do you have to be over a certain age to volunteer?

Our minimum age for volunteers is 14 however you must be over 16 years of age to help out with our dogs or to hold a collection box at one of our fundraising events. There are many things that young people can do for Guide Dogs. You could organise your own bake sale at school or assist in a sponsored go walkies event in your local neighbourhood.  Check out the ‘opportunities for young people’ bit on our ‘what volunteering can I do in London’ pag



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What other volunteering opportunities are available?

Just one hour of your time is enough to make a difference. Across the country, all year round, we have events and collections run by our mobility teams and our fundraising volunteers. If you can only help once a year, why not help at our London Flag Day? This is a day where we can collect money anywhere in London. As we don’t receive any government funding for the Guide Dogs service, we rely on donations from generous members of the public. So, you could help by being a part of this. Check out our ‘what volunteering can I do in London?’ page to find out what one-off opportunities you could be involved in.



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Guide Dog volunteering workshop