A brand that represents Australia's six state-based Guide Dog organisations.
Guide Dogs Australia is a brand that represents Australia's six state-based Guide Dog organisations. Together, as the nation's leading providers of orientation and mobility services, including Guide Dogs, we assist people who are blind or have a vision impairment gain the freedom and independence to move safely and confidently around their communities, and to fulfil their potential.
International Guide Dog Day, Wednesday, April 27, celebrates the important role Guide Dogs play in enabling freedom and independence for people living with vision loss. The first Guide Dog to be trained In Australia was Beau, a Kelpie/Border Collie cross, in Perth in 1952. Beau and his blind owner Mrs Elsie Mead travelled all over Australia promoting Guide Dog mobility.
Guide Dogs Australia is a brand that represents Australia's six state-based Guide Dog organisations. Together, as the nation's leading providers of orientation and mobility services, including Guide Dogs, we support people living with blindness or vision loss to live independently and achieve their goals in life.
We rely heavily on the financial support of the community and business to help provide our vital services to people who need them.
To support Guide Dogs in your state, or to discuss partnership opportunities, click one of the following images or call: 1800-484-333.
Most Guide Dog pups are born as part of a special breeding program. Young pups start training as soon as they can walk but they spend most of their early days sleeping or playing. At eight weeks pups are picked up by their volunteer Puppy Raisers. They'll live with them for the next twelve months. At twelve weeks pups are now out and about and attending Puppy Pre-Schools. They are now learning important commands such as: "sit", "stay", "drop"; and socialising with other dogs.
At 14 months, it's now time for these fully grown dogs to say goodbye to their Puppy Raising families and commence their Guide Dog training. Each dog will be assessed on health and temperament and tested on what they have learned so far. Suitable dogs then begin 20 weeks of Guide Dog training with their new instructor. The instructor’s job is to build confidence and consistency, teaching the dog a range of skills and how to manage distractions, as they visit busier and nosier places.
After 20 weeks of intensive training it's time for the dogs to undertake their final challenge. They will be tested on their ability to: ignore distractions such as food and noise, navigate obstacles, travel on public transport, find landmarks such as bus stops, and cross the road safely. A Guide Dog team must be a perfect fit. That’s why every dog and handler is assessed on personality, lifestyle and physical traits.
It's taken a lot of hard work but each Guide Dog is now ready to start its working life guiding their handler safely and independently from one destination to another. The Guide Dog team must now build trust with each other and develop a strong bond – working together requires a lot of concentration. The Guide Dog team start their training at a basic level, building up to more complex situations as they gain confidence.
After walking about 9,000 kms over the eight to ten years of its working life a Guide Dog will retire. Its handler will have the option of keeping their retired Guide Dog as a pet, or allowing it to be rehomed with a new loving family.