Frequently Asked Questions
What does a Guide Dog do?
A Guide Dog is trained to guide a client in a given direction unless told otherwise, avoiding obstacles on the route. It will stop at kerbs and steps, find doors, crossings and places which are visited regularly and it will guide the client across the road but it is up to you to decide where and when to cross safely.
The Guide Dog and client are a partnership, with the client giving commands and encouragement and telling the dog which way to go. The dog is not infallible but for some people it can offer a unique, safe and effective way of getting about independently.
Can anyone be trained with a Guide Dog?
If you have a significant vision impairment that makes safe independent travel difficult, you are over 16 years of age and a resident in Queensland, you can be considered for a Guide Dog. Not everyone is suited to working with a Guide Dog and there are many factors that have to be taken into account.
What types of dogs are used?
We mainly use Labradors, Golden Retrievers and crosses of these two breeds. We occasionally have a small number of other breeds that we use less frequently. Different breeds of dog have different characteristics. We understand you may have a preference for a specific breed or type of dog. However, your mobility requirements, environment and physical ability will determine the most appropriate type of dog for you.
How does the dog know where it is going?
The Guide Dog will learn routes over a period of time. However, it is a partnership and the client needs to have knowledge of their environment in order to support the dog and tell it which way to go. You need to remember that the dog left to its own devices may choose the route to the park every time, so it is important that you are in charge of navigation!
Also, the decision to cross a road is made by the owner who decides where and when it is safe to cross, a Guide Dog helps ensure that crossing is completed safely.
Where are Guide Dogs allowed to go?
A Guide Dog, and a Guide Dog-in-training, have the legal right to enter public places including shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs and travel on all public transport and taxis. Their rights are protected by legislation, including the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.
Does a Guide Dog ever act like an ordinary dog?
Yes. The Guide Dog is taught it is on duty when in harness. When out of harness, it behaves just like any family dog.
Can a Guide Dog be patted?
When a Guide Dog is in harness it is working and needs to concentrate on leading the vision impaired person around safely. If the situation allows, the person may be able to take the harness off, signalling to the dog that it is okay to play and be patted. It's also important to remember never to feed or distract a Guide Dog when it is working.
What happens to dogs which are unsuitable to train as Guide Dogs?
If they do not make it through our Guide Dog training, they may be assessed for other careers such as with Corrective Services, or become one of our Guide Dogs-in-training (Public Relations). We also accept applications from community members interested in purchasing our rehomed dogs.
In this section
- Guide Dogs
- Freecall 1800 810 122
- Guide Dogs Shop
- 1800 007 460
- Head Office
Guide Dogs Queensland
Breeding and Training Centre
1978 Gympie Rd
Bald Hills, Qld, 4036