At home

How should the guide dog behave in the house?

The guide dog’s behaviour in the house is of great importance and the dog must be aware right from the start of what is acceptable. It should never be allowed on furniture and should not be encouraged to bark or become overexcited, nor should the dog be allowed to jump up at people. You need to remember that it is a working dog, so behaviour at home will affect how the dog works when out with you.



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I have a pet dog; can I keep it and still have a guide dog?

Usually the answer is yes, and once introduced the two dogs will generally be fine together. However, the routine and behaviour of your pet dog can affect the guide dog and its work, so we like to discuss this with you. You would also need to think about how you will exercise the two dogs, since you cannot work the guide dog in harness and lead the pet dog at the same time.



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What about other pets?

Again, this is not usually a problem. Guide dogs are generally quite happy around other pets, including cats. If they are introduced carefully then they get to know each other and the guide dog will settle into the home.



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What is the family’s relationship with the guide dog?

Although there are bound to be some changes, the guide dog should fit into family life with little disruption. It is essential that the family understands the importance of following the guidelines given to the guide dog owner and supports the owner in settling the dog in. The owner must always be supported as ‘the boss’ and should be the one to feed, walk and discipline the dog. In the owner’s temporary absence it is helpful if a family member is able to maintain the same consistent approach.



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Will a guide dog fit in with children?

Guide dogs are used to interacting with children, so there is little difficulty with them fitting into family life. They may need a little time to get to know each other, but if, initially, the dog is allowed to approach them there will be no problem. The dog’s bed should be its sanctuary and children should be encouraged to leave the dog in peace when it goes there.



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Can I give the dog titbits to eat?

No. We try and discourage guide dogs from sniffing and scrounging so they are concentrating while working. Giving the dogs titbits encourages them to look for food on pavements, which means they are not looking where they are going!



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What if I want to go away or on holiday?

It is perfectly acceptable to leave the dog with a trusted friend or family member and all guide dog owners are encouraged to ensure they have someone they can turn to when they need their dog looking after.   In an emergency such as being taken into hospital, then our staff will arrange short term care if alternative arrangements are not immediately available to the owner.



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Can I take the dog abroad on holiday?

Legally, yes, provided your dog has a pet passport (although not all countries are in the pet passport scheme). If this is something you will need to do there are issues you will need to consider, and we would encourage you to discuss this with us early in your enquiry.



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