An image of a yellow lab wearing a white harness and yellow handle, leading a person
An image of a yellow lab guide dog pressing the crosswalk button with his nose

A working guide dog provides mobility and independence to the visually-impaired user.

A guide dog is not a pet dog when it is working. Therefore, other people must not distract the guide dog. Guide dogs from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind wear white harnesses when working and, upon seeing this, others should first ask the user for permission before touching or distracting the guide dog. To distract a working guide dog in any way means the animal cannot concentrate fully on avoiding potentially dangerous situations.

Some of the qualities to make a good guide dog include having a quiet and calm disposition, a high level of initiative, a high level of concentration while working, as well as a high level of willingness to work and a strong desire to please the user.

At Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, puppies of approximately 8 weeks of age are placed with foster families called “puppy walkers” who raise the pups. The puppy walkers socialize the puppies, which are mainly golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, to as many different, everyday environments as possible. The outdoor socialization begins in quiet residential areas and slowly works up to restaurants, shopping malls, public transit, elevators and so on.

At approximately 18 months of age, the dogs are brought to the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind to begin five to eight months of professional training. The dog and its new handler are then matched and are trained together, in residence, as a team.

The guide dog does not have any unusual gifts or powers. The dog does not watch for traffic lights to change to green. The handler must wait for a change in traffic direction and decide when it is safe to cross. The dog has been taught to respond to commands from the owner, such as “forward”, “left”, “right” and “straight on”, and will only disregard a command when it could lead to a dangerous situation for the guide dog team.

Guide dogs in general can be recognized by a harness and a handle which is held in the owner’s left hand. Guide dogs from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind wear a white harness.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind provides the dog free of charge to our clients.  In addition, clients receive transportation to and from the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, room and board, an 18-day training course, and an in-depth aftercare program.  The client is responsible for expenses associated with the dog after graduation, but may apply to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s veterinary assistance fund for routine veterinary procedures.  Each client pays a symbolic fee of just $1.00 upon graduation.

In Canada, all provinces have adopted specific statutes to grant guide dog users the right of access. In most provinces, the statutes specifically state that no special conditions, terms or fees can be imposed on a guide dog user because of the presence of a guide dog.

An image of a yellow lab wearing a white harness and yellow handle, leading a person

A working guide dog provides mobility and independence to the visually-impaired user.

A guide dog is not a pet dog when it is working. Therefore, other people must not distract the guide dog. Guide dogs from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind wear white harnesses when working and, upon seeing this, others should first ask the user for permission before touching or distracting the guide dog. To distract a working guide dog in any way means the animal cannot concentrate fully on avoiding potentially dangerous situations.

Some of the qualities to make a good guide dog include having a quiet and calm disposition, a high level of initiative, a high level of concentration while working, as well as a high level of willingness to work and a strong desire to please the user.

At Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, puppies of approximately 8 weeks of age are placed with foster families called “puppy walkers” who raise the pups. The puppy walkers socialize the puppies, which are mainly golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, to as many different, everyday environments as possible. The outdoor socialization begins in quiet residential areas and slowly works up to restaurants, shopping malls, public transit, elevators and so on.

At approximately 18 months of age, the dogs are brought to the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind to begin five to eight months of professional training. The dog and its new handler are then matched and are trained together, in residence, as a team.

The guide dog does not have any unusual gifts or powers. The dog does not watch for traffic lights to change to green. The handler must wait for a change in traffic direction and decide when it is safe to cross. The dog has been taught to respond to commands from the owner, such as “forward”, “left”, “right” and “straight on”, and will only disregard a command when it could lead to a dangerous situation for the guide dog team.

An image of a yellow lab guide dog pressing the crosswalk button with his nose

Guide dogs in general can be recognized by a harness and a handle which is held in the owner’s left hand. Guide dogs from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind wear a white harness.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind provides the dog free of charge to our clients.  In addition, clients receive transportation to and from the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, room and board, an 18-day training course, and an in-depth aftercare program.  The client is responsible for expenses associated with the dog after graduation, but may apply to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s veterinary assistance fund for routine veterinary procedures.  Each client pays a symbolic fee of just $1.00 upon graduation.

In Canada, all provinces have adopted specific statutes to grant guide dog users the right of access. In most provinces, the statutes specifically state that no special conditions, terms or fees can be imposed on a guide dog user because of the presence of a guide dog.