General Info

How are young people selected and assessed for their suitability for having a guide dog?

Guide Dogs is a client focused organisation and as such we will assess potential clients on an individual basis. Our aim is to determine whether the provision of a guide dog will aid a person’s mobility, increase confidence and self esteem, and thus improve the quality of an individual’s life. This is equally applicable for young people. An in-depth guide dog mobility assessment will explore key elements such as walking speed, balance, lifestyle etc. A decision will then be made as to whether or not the individual is placed on our waiting list for a guide dog. Guide Dogs will involve the parents or carers/guardians and other professionals from the outset, as they will play a key role in supporting the young person with a guide dog. The parents or carers/guardians will be the owners of the dog until the young person reaches the age of 16.  At this age ownership transfers to the official guide dog owner. Guide Dogs’ legal agreement ensures that the Association is able to fully support partnerships on an ongoing basis.

Back to top

How long does the training take and what does it include?

We want anyone with a guide dog to enjoy safe, independent travel whilst enjoying many of the benefits a dog can bring, including companionship and an increased sense of responsibility. The training programme will vary from person to person depending on age, experience and ability. All training will include:

  • Looking after the dog’s care and welfare. To include grooming, feeding and checking the dog for any signs of illness or health problems
  • How to maintain a high standard of obedience so that the dog behaves well socially and doesn’t make a nuisance of itself by barking or jumping up at people or on furniture
  • How to achieve and maintain a high standard of recall when the dog is given a free run
  • What commands to give in order to make the dog turn left or right, stop and take off once it has stopped at a down kerb
  • ‘Following’ techniques so that effective avoidance of obstacles and other hazards can take place
  • Safe road crossing and traffic assessment techniques
  • Use of public transport
  • How to ensure the dog is relieved regularly and how to maintain hygiene routines
  • How to support and maintain the dog’s willingness and confidence during the performance of the guiding role
  • How to deal with situations specific to the individual i.e. school lessons
  • Health and Safety guidance and good practice as applicable

Support is maintained until such a point that the instructor is confident that the individual can travel independently. At this point supervision gradually reduces.

Back to top

What support is provided after training?

Guide Dogs continues to provide aftercare once a partnership has completed training. This can take the form of routine visits, which are more frequent after initial training, or requested visits from parents, school or the individual, where the need for extra practice or training has been identified.

Back to top


Young Guide dog owner