The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) comprises of 95 organisations from all around the globe, all working to uphold standards of excellence in the breeding, raising, training and partnering of guide dogs. The IGDF’s biennial conference gives different guide dog schools the chance to come together in one place for a week of communication and collaboration. This year, I and other members of Guide Dogs staff were able to join our international colleagues in Vancouver, Canada.
We attended with a clear message in mind. At Guide Dogs, our life-changing dogs transform lives by helping people with sight loss live the life they choose. Being a guide dog is an incredibly important job and we take the wellbeing of all our dogs very seriously. We always seek to achieve a balance where the needs of both human and canine are fully considered.
We have had the chance to share this approach at the conference. With the theme ‘Strengthening Connections’, our team of experts delivered six presentations, a full quarter of the conference’s content, that together showcased the very best of Guide Dogs’ commitment to positive reinforcement training and how this approach helps strengthen the connections between our dogs and their people.
Overall, this was a fantastic opportunity for us to not only explain the future-facing ethos behind our work, but back it up with years of research and scientific evidence from our Canine Science team as well as examples of real-world success. Our presentations were well received, and we had many conversations with representatives of other guide dog organisations wanting to find out more about our approach.
I’m delighted to announce that Guide Dogs has been chosen to host the 2025 IGDF Conference in June 2025. It will be exciting to see if our knowledge sharing this year will result in other organisations embracing ever more dog welfare-focused training and care, and working towards a world where human wellbeing and dog welfare outcomes are considered equally important.
We are proud to announce our long-term partnership that aims to create a more inclusive travel experience.
New research shows that over half (55%) of guide dog owners say members of the public distract their dogs at least once a day, despite the danger it poses to the owner and dog. This International Guide Dog Day, remember 'don't dive on the dog' and leave guide dogs to work.