About Guide Dogs

Guide Dog Training - Step by Step:

  • At eight weeks old the puppies go to ‘Puppy Raisers’ who care for the puppy and teach basic obedience and socialisation skills.

  • The Guide Dog puppy attends puppy training classes weekly with their Puppy Raiser.

  • Throughout the process, the puppy is assessed for suitability for training as a Guide Dog.

  • At about 18 months each prospective Guide Dog puppy enters the intensive five-month training program in which they work with our Guide Dog Instructors every day.

  • Once the intensive training is complete the Guide Dog is matched with an owner.

  • The matching process of a Guide Dog and client is extremely detailed and takes into account a person’s skill level, travel needs and lifestyle as well as the dogs working style and temperament.

  • Once the Guide Dog is matched to its new owner they spend up to two months training daily with the Guide Dog Instructor.

  • The instructor continues to support the client and Guide Dog as a team as they go about their daily lives including the many changes and challenges along the way.


Three things worth knowing:

  1. Guide Dogs WA (owned and operated by VisAbility Inc) is the official provider of Guide Dogs in Western Australia and it was the Western Australian community who originally brought Guide Dogs to Australia.

  2. We rely totally on the generosity of the community to fund our Guide Dog program.

  3. To ensure fair access for all, our Guide Dogs service is provided free of charge to people


Dollars and Sense

  • It takes up to two years to train each and every Guide Dog.

  • Guide Dogs are provided, free of charge, to people who are blind or severely vision impaired. Sponsorship of a Guide Dog goes solely to the purchase of the puppy, training and equipment, grooming, bedding, feeding and veterinary expenses.

  • Sponsorship of a Guide Dog is $30,000.


Guide Dog Etiquette

  • It is important not to distract a Guide Dog while in harness. Always ask a Guide Dog User before saying hello to their companion

  • Guide Dogs are only working when in harness, out of harness they can play and behave like any other (well trained) pet dog

  • By law, Guide Dogs can go anywhere. The only exceptions are zoos and operating theatres. These conditions are set by government legislation and people who don't comply face tough fines.


Commonly Asked Questions

  • A Guide Dog generally works for 8 – 9 years.  We make annual assessments of the dogs and look at retiring them around 10 or 11 years of age.

  • When the Guide Dog retires they generally stay with the Guide Dog User as a pet dog or alternatively they live with a family member.


The three criteria for applying for a Guide Dog are:

  1. Meet the criteria for legal blindness

  2. Are at least 17 years of age

  3. Are a resident of WA

  • We currently have 43 pups in various stages of training, from eight weeks to two years.

  • We currently have 60 dogs in work.

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