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What is a Guide Dog

black dog laying on the grass looking up into the sky with black and red harness on

Guide dogs are specially trained to help those who are blind or suffer from some other visual impairment. Guide dogs can help people with these disabilities to lead a more normal life and help to keep them safe.


Dog schools are set up solely to train service dogs. These dogs are bred to be service dogs and then trained for about a year by volunteers. They are then sent to a dog school where they are trained for about six months by a professional trainer. It can take over $40,000 to train a guide dog, and most schools are funded by donations.

What Guide Dogs Learn

Guide dogs must learn many things in order to be successful. They learn how to lead their owners around obstacles such as tree, benches or stairs.. They are taught to be very obedient, but not to obey any unsafe commands like going out into oncoming traffic. They do not get distracted by things like cats or food. They also have great manners, which is a must when visiting public places.

Guide dogs are intended to help a person get to where they are going safely, but it is the owner's job to know where they are going. They cannot lead their owner to a new place or read traffic signals.

They Know When It's Time to Work

Guide dogs have a very strong work ethic. When they are in their harness, they know it is time to work. They become all business, and their business is their owners safety. When the harness comes off, they are just like any other dog with good obedience training.

Obtaining a Guide Dog

To get a guide dog, you must submit an application. Most schools don't charge the person getting the dog anything, but they will evaluate your needs and the conditions the dog will be in. Individuals do not have to be completely blind to get a guide dog, but they must have significant visual impairment.

Guide dogs provide their owners with much more independence than they would be able to have otherwise. They develop a very close relationship with their owners that is built on mutual trust.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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