Matching guide dogs to owners
Guide dog owners develop a very close relationship with their guide dogs, which in itself can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Guide dogs are working dogs, but just like other dogs, they need plenty of love and attention. Spending time relaxing and playing together not only helps strengthen your bond, but establishes a level of respect and trust, which you’ll need for when you’re out working together.
Which dogs are guide dogs?
We mainly use Labradors, golden retrievers and crosses of these two breeds as assistance dogs, with a small number of other breeds that we use less often. Sometimes, different breeds can offer some different characteristics but every dog and every person is a complete individual and so matching the right dog to the right person is one of the most important aspects of our jobs.
There are lots of different things we consider when matching dogs and owners, and these include:
- The speed the person and the dog naturally walks
- The Environment the person lives and works in; some dogs might be suitable for the city centre and others more suited to working in a quieter environment
- How much a person does each day
- The type and amount of transport a person uses, some dogs don’t enjoy going on public transport
- We can sometimes match a larger dog to someone that would benefit from additional stability
When you start the process of getting a guide dog, we’ll work with you to make sure we understand all of your needs and give you the best match possible. This is the reason that the assessment process is so thorough, and it may feel like there are a lot of questions!