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Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs.

A guide or assistance dog needs to be a social, co-operative and hard-working dog. Guide Dogs Stockholm mostly trains Labradors to become guide dogs, but also uses Golden Retrievers, White Shepherds and, occasionally, mixed-breed dogs.

At eight weeks, puppies move to the puppy raisers that will raise them, introduce them to different environments and care for them. We invite all our puppy raisers and puppies to get together each month. That way, puppy raisers can receive some extra support, helpful training tips for their dogs and a chance to meet other puppy raisers in a social setting.

Guide dog testing and health controls

When the dog is about 12 months old, it is invited to a health control where its joints are x-rayed and a general health check-up is performed. A couple of months later, we test its suitability to become a guide dog or other assistance dog. During the test, we look at how the dog behaves in various settings, how it socialises with other dogs, whether it’s got a strong hunting instinct and how co-operative and willing to work it is.

After this, the dog trainer should have a fair idea of whether the particular dog will get through the training to become a guide dog or other assistance dog. But to be certain, the dog’s temperament and suitability will also be tested by the Swedish Kennel Club, which will register the dog as “in training” if it passes both tests.

Which kind of guide dog it will become is determined by the client’s needs and wants. We tailor your dog’s training to your needs and you can choose between buying a dog that has completed its training or one that has passed all its tests and is ready to be trained by you, with or without the assistance of a guide dog instructor.

The importance of concentration

Guide and assistance dogs must not be disturbed when they are working. They must always be able to concentrate so that they can perform their job no matter the situation or setting. One of the most difficult obstacles for a guide or assistance dogs is other people and dogs. A guide or assistance dog must not be disturbed when working, but must be given the opportunity to work in a calm situation.

Team work

To ensure the safety of both the dog and its client, it is important that the client has a good knowledge of his or her own disability and needs and that the dog and  owner work well together.

Other dogs and guide dogs

When you are out and about with your dog and meet a guide or assistance dog and its owner, it is really appreciated if you respect the working dog and let it continue working. Let your dog “say hello” to a “regular” dog instead.