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Learn about the Guide Dog Program

Guide Dogs enable extraordinary transformation in the lives of people living with blindness and vision impairment. It is the independence and pure joy offered by these dogs to our clients that keeps us going.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see. And Ida—she’s my Amazing Grace.” – Michael with Guide Dog Ida.

Michael with Guide Dog Ida

Michael with Guide Dog Ida

Guide Dogs not only enhance mobility, independence and quality of life for people living with blindness or vision impairment, but they provide companionship and inclusion in the community. They support their users’ mobility by:

  • Negotiating obstacles,
  • Stopping when there’s a change in surface level, such as a kerb or set of stairs,
  • Locating doors, seats and pedestrian buttons at traffic lights,
  • Locating the destinations that their handler uses regularly – just to name a few.

But it’s the intangible benefits they provide their users with that really makes all the difference.

“I have found myself again. I can go out and go to the shops and feel a sense of achievement. I finally feel accepted.” – Jackie with Guide Dog Tara.

Owned and operated by VisAbility, Guide Dogs WA relies on the generous support of the community to fund the Guide Dog program. We want to see a world where everybody who needs a Guide Dog, has a Guide Dog, and for that reason each of our Guide Dogs is provided free of charge to people who are blind or vision impaired.

Download our fact sheet What is a Guide Dog?

Did you know?

  • Black Guide Dog-in-training in HarnessGuide Dogs are working when they are in harness. Always address a Guide Dog user first, and ask before saying hello to their companion. A distracted Guide Dog can be dangerous, not only for themselves but for their user.
  • Out of harness, a Guide Dog can play and behave like any other (well-trained) pet dog. A Guide Dog is only working when in harness, and generally only works for a maximum of a few hours each day.
  • By law, Guide Dogs can go anywhere their Guide Dog user can. The only exceptions to this law are areas such as operating theatres and certain areas of zoos. These conditions are set by government legislation and those who don’t comply face tough penalties.

In addition to Guide Dogs, there are many types of mobility aids available to people who are blind or vision impaired. To find out more about specialist orientation and mobility support and aids such as white canes, Miniguides or GPS, visit the VisAbility website.

Why not learn about the stages of Guide Dog training or see our alternative Dog Careers?

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