A guide to the Guide Dog Partnership

1 February 2005
Volume 06, Issue 1

An insight into the role of the guide dog.


The guide dog’s role is to lead its visually impaired owner in a straight line, unless directed otherwise, avoiding any obstacles in the way. Nearly half of the guide dogs in the UK are Labrador–golden retriever crosses. Training the prospective guide dog takes 16–20 months and starts at the age of 6 weeks. The guide dog is matched to a visually impaired individual and a further 3–4 weeks’ training is undertaken to establish a working relationship between the pairing, with an additional 6 months in the home environment to iron out any difficulties. The total cost of training and upkeep of a guide dog is approximately £35 000. At present there are nearly 5000 guide dog and visually impaired partnerships in the UK.

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