How do I apply for a buddy dog

Thinking of applying for a buddy dog for your child? These are all the steps you’ll need to go through before we can place a buddy dog in your home.

  1. Call Guide Dogs and speak to the advice line
    When you phone us, you’ll be put through to the advice line where we’ll ask you some questions to find out whether a buddy dog is suitable for your child and your family. If so, you’ll be able to book onto one of our buddy dog discovery days.
  2. Attend a buddy dog discovery day
    This is just for adults to learn about the buddy dog service and gives you more information about the criteria needed for a buddy dog, but just because you’ve been invited to a discovery day does not mean you’re necessarily eligible for a buddy dog. These sessions are also available for families with a child with a visual impairment who may want to get a dog from another service.
  3. Attend a buddy dog experience session
    This takes place in one of our training centres, and is for the whole family. It gives your child the chance to meet a dog from Guide Dogs, and learn all about what’s involved in looking after a dog for life. Again, being invited to one of these sessions does not mean you’re automatically eligible for a buddy dog.
  4. Fill in an application form
    Following the two workshops, you’ll be sent an online application form to fill in. As part of the application process, we’ll also need to see supporting documents such as rental agreements or details of your child’s visual impairment. It’s worth getting these sorted now, as we’ll check them during the home visit and/or development day.
  5. Telephone interview
    Once we’ve got your application, we’ll call you to ask some follow-up questions.
  6. A home visit
    If we think your family is right for a buddy dog, we’ll then arrange to visit your home.
  7. Attend a buddy dog development day
    If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to another workshop in our training centre. This is designed to give you more information about buddy dogs and advice on looking after a dog in your own home.
  8. Matching with a buddy dog
    Once you’ve been to all the training sessions, you’ll be matched with a buddy dog. We can’t say how long this will take, as it depends on your circumstances and if we have the right dog for your family. If we do have the right buddy dog available, your family can collect them at this point and take them home.
  9. Follow-up and qualification
    You’ll have four weeks (minimum) to get to know your buddy dog and allow them to settle in properly. Next, you’ll be invited back to the training centre for a qualification visit, where you should be signed off as a buddy dog partnership.
  10. Ongoing aftercare
    For the entire time that a buddy dog lives with you, we offer ongoing support and aftercare – you’ll be able to contact us if you have any problems. We’ll also carry out annual check-ins to make sure your child, your family and the dog are still happy.

Want to apply for a buddy dog?

Contact us on

0800 781 1444