Dual purpose dogs


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What is a dual purpose assistance dog?

Dual purpose dogs are specifically trained to help people who have a vision impairment and an additional need, such as:

  • significant hearing loss
  • epilepsy
  • physical disability
  • use of an electric wheelchair

So, on top of their training as guide dogs, our dual purpose assistance dogs also learn to perform another role as a hearing dog or providing disability support. To achieve this, we work closely with other Assistance Dog UK charities.

Once they finish their training, dual purpose dogs then learn how to work with their new owner over several weeks. It’s a process that takes a lot of commitment and patience, but those who have trained with a dual purpose dog say it has made a real difference to their lives.

Living independently thanks to assistance dogs

The first dual purpose partnership in the UK was established in 2003 between Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs. Angela, who has dual sensory sight and hearing loss, was trained with her first dual purpose dog Roddy. In 2011 Roddy retired and Angela is now working with her second dual trained dog, Mel.

As well as assisting with her mobility and helping her to get out and about, Mel alerts Angela to sounds in her home such as the smoke alarm, doorbell, oven timer and alarm clock. Despite the challenges she faced, Angela now lives independently – all thanks to amazing dogs like Roddy and Mel.

Apply for a dual purpose assistance dog

If you are interested in our dual purpose dogs service, we can arrange a no-obligation visit to explain the service in more detail, answer any questions and see if a dual purpose dog would be right for you and your lifestyle.

We want to communicate with you in the best way for you, whether that’s alongside your preferred interpreter, communication support worker or other language service professional. Alternatively, we can arrange for a qualified interpreter to support during any visits.

For more information on adults’ services, complete our short form