It would be easy for the general public, and even for those working closely with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, to take for granted what they do. Many people have no idea of the scale of their work. They have come a long way after more than sixty years of training guide dogs and their owners in the UK.

They are committed to providing the highest quality and most professional service to blind and partially sighted people and to ensuring the very best in care and training for their dogs.

Since their work is funded entirely by contributions from the public, they rely on your support to enable them to continue. With your help, they will look forward to the future, and to providing independence and freedom for thousands more blind and partially sighted people.

Guide Dog Ownership
Wide eligibility: any blind and partially sighted person aged 16 or over and resident in the UK may apply for training; no upper age limit; people with some hearing loss and other physical disabilities can be trained

Careful person to person training: usually during 3-4 week residential course at training centre
Training at home: when appropriate due to circumstances
Aftercare programme: supports guide dog owner with regular home visits to check all is well; emergency service on call

Seven regional training centres and 8 small centres
Virtually no cost to guide dog owner: 50p for the dog, plus 1 per week board and lodging during training. GDBA offers a feeding allowance for the dog,
meets vet’s bills and can help with any other costs associated with owning a
guide dog

Dog Breeding
Largest breeder of working dogs in the world: producing nearly 1,000 puppies per year, with negligible mortality rate
Over 30 years of experience: minimal health problems, temperament now ideally suited to guide dog work, bloodlines in demand from overseas guide dog organisations
Over 75% successfully trained as guide dogs: through selective breeding of temperament and health characteristics
At the forefront of veterinary technology: with progress in artificial insemination, ultrasound scanning and cytology
Strong links with other dog organisations: including HM Forces, Customs and Excise, civilian police, prison service

Puppy Rearing
Pioneers of early socialisation: rearing in a family home from the age of six weeks provides a firm foundation for training
Immunisation from six weeks: allows puppies to leave the nest and begin their experience of the outside world much earlier than the average pet dog
Close monitoring and individual care: with professional supervision of the pups and support and advice for the voluntary puppy walkers
Adapting to the changing environment: puppies are brought up to cope with increasingly busy and noisy conditions Dog Care & Welfare
Responsible for over 7,000 dogs: breeding stock, puppies, dogs in training, at work and retired
Close links with veterinary profession: including free check-ups twice a year for guide dogs
Collaboration with Royal Veterinary College and Animal Health Trust: on guide dog’s health issues which may also be of benefit to all dogs
Qualified kennel staff: to City and Guilds and/or Veterinary Nurse standards
Scrupulous health, hygiene and training routines: so guide dogs are given access to most places from which pet dogs are excluded
Supervised rehoming of “rejects”: with carefully selected volunteer families or other working dog organisations Dog

Training
Largest dog training organisation in the world: over 4,500 working guide dogs with over 2,800 more at any one time as breeding stock, puppies at walk, dogs in training or retired
Consistent professional handling: produces a constant supply of dogs ready to be matched with owners
Individually trained dogs: meeting each blind and partially sighted person’s needs and character
Constant review of dog training methods: in collaboration with other working dog organisations, in this country and abroad

International Federation of Guide Dog Schools: founder member; exchange visits and staff secondments between countries; international breeding programme to increase gene pool

Improving the Quality of Life
Ophthalmic studies: supporting work on the prevention, treatment and causes of blindness
Holidays Group: encourages around 2,000 members (guide dog owners, blind and partially sighted people and sighted helpers) to take part in activities outside their everyday experience

Hotels for Guide Dogs Owners: created especially for guide dogs owners, their families and friends, GDBA’s first hotel in Devon was so successful that another followed in the Lake District
Development of Orientation Assisting Device: a technical aid to help guide dog owners and other blind and partially sighted people negotiate routes

Bereavement study: to research the effects of the ending of a partnership between guide dog and owner, and the best ways of coping 

The International Federation of Guide Dog Schools

Guide Dogs
As a mobility aid for blind and partially sighted people, the guide dog cannot be matched. It brings new freedom and independence, and a strong bond of friendship grows between the dog and its user. They work as a partnership and the confidence this gives a blind or partially sighted person brings about a whole new way of life.

International Co-operation
The International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind promotes throughout the world the breeding, training and education of guide dogs and the instruction of the users in their safe and proper use.
It encourages understanding and co-operation between schools and provides opportunities for the international exchange of knowledge and valuable experience, of particular help to emerging schools.

Setting Standards
Standards have been set for the breeding, care and training of the dogs as well as the care, selection and training of future guide dog users. The Federation arranges to inspect and certify schools which adopt or aspire to these standards.Dog training methods are constantly under review and international guidelines of best practice develop as traditional and new skills are combined.

By standardising practice and pursuing excellence the Federation aims to ensure that blind and partially sighted people throughout the world receive the very best service from its member organisations.

Membership
61 member schools represent countries all over the world, including:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA.

Working Groups
Working Groups have been established in the following areas:
Access Animal Breeding, Care and Veterinary Services ,Dog Training ,Funding Staff Selection and Training , Student Selection and Training.

The prime purpose of these Groups is to examine current practices and developments in order to achieve continual improvements in standards.
Guide dog schools throughout the world aim to help improve the quality of life for their blind and partially sighted clients, and many offer a range of services in addition to guide dog training.

The International Federation of Guide Dogs Schools for the Blind

Member Schools

Spain
Fundacion ONCE del Perro-Guia
Camino del Obispo 7
28935 Mostoles
Madrid
Spain
Mr Pedro P Martin Lopesino
Tel: 34 1 613 2220
Fax: 34 1 614 5213

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Head Office and Registered Office
Hillfields, Burghfield Common, Reading RG7 3YG
Tel: (0118) 983 5555 Fax: (0118) 983 5433
http://msn.co.uk/default.asp

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