What it takes to train a guide dog!

0 to 6 weeks

The puppy is living with its mum, brothers and sisters in a Guide Dogs volunteer’s home. They play, explore and sleep! The puppy then goes to the breeding centre at six weeks for health checks and immunisations.

6 weeks to 4 months        

The puppy is moved to its Puppy Walker’s home. The dog will start learning manners and basic commands, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ – as well as how to walk on the lead.

4 to 14 months

The puppy gets used to the area it lives in. It will learn how to negotiate flights of stairs, busy shopping areas and transport. It will also get used to being around people and other dogs.

14 to 17 months

Guide dog training school. A professional guide dog trainer will introduce the puppy to a brown training harness. It will start learning guiding skills such as dealing with kerbs and avoiding obstacles.

17 to 20 months

At this stage, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will put all the training together, so that it learns to use guiding skills in everyday situations. They will also start the matching process, finding a blind or partially sighted person who’s just right for the puppy.

20 to 22 months

The dog will now be matched with a person with sight loss so they can get to know each other and start their partnership training.

22 to 24 months

The guide dog has changed a blind or partially sighted person’s life forever! It has now settled into its new home and is practicing its regular routes. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will keep visiting to check how it’s all going.