Puppy Resources

Module 1 - How can a guide dog change a life?

1.2 Lesson plan and activity sheet

How are guide dogs trained?

An interactive story showing the stages in the life of a guide dog in training.

Guide Dog parents and their puppies

1 Guide Dogs have a worldwide reputation as a breeder of working dogs. This means that The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association make sure that all guide dog mums and dads are happy and healthy dogs.

Guide Dog puppy being bicked up by it's trainer

2 Once born, each litter is named after a letter of the alphabet. So an A litter might have an Adam, Amy, Albert. The only letter not used is X.

Guide Dog puppy being patted on the head

3 Some of the puppies are extra special and are chosen to be sponsor pups or are named by a member of the public who has raised money to name the pup. These dogs have different names. (name a puppy@school)

Guide Dog puppy sat wearing a blue training coat

4 Puppies are vaccinated and meet their volunteer walker at 6-8 weeks of age.

Guide Dog puppy in training

5 The volunteer walker introduces them to sights, smells and sounds - such as busy roads and public transport.

Guide Dog puppy in training lay down

6 They are taught to walk ahead on the lead and obey simple commands such as sit, down, stay and come.

Guide Dog puppy being trained to behave around another dog

7 The puppy walker also takes the puppy to classes to learn to behave properly around other people and dogs.

Grown Guide dog wearing it's brown training harness

8 At 1 year old they say goodbye to their volunteer puppy walker and go back to school. At school they wear a brown training harness.

9 They learn to walk in a straight line unless there’s an obstacle, not to turn corners unless told to do so. To stop at kerbs and wait for the command to cross or turn left or right. To judge height and width so that its owner does not bump their head or shoulder and to deal with traffic.

Trained Guide Dog sat with his new owner

10 Next the dog is matched with the correct owner. To do this they have to consider the length of owner's stride, their height and lifestyle. The owner and guide dog train together for 4 weeks.

Fully trained Guide Dog wearing it's white harness

11 If successful, the owner hands over 50p and the guide dog is awarded with a white harness and their working partnership begins.

Diary of a puppy walker

Hi, my name is Penny Parker and I will have been a puppy walker for six years in May this year, although I am now walking my seventh puppy. I live in Felixstowe, Suffolk, not far from the beach.

My two daughters Hannah 23 and Lauren 21 still live at home. Hannah works full time but helps out with the puppies and fundraising in the evenings and weekends. Lauren has special needs and suffers from Williams Syndrome, but has placements three days a week. We share our home with Umber a white Labrador (our first guide dog puppy that, unfortunately, was withdrawn from advanced training due to depression) and two cats Bonnie and Beauty.

Polaroid of a black puppy