Guide Dog Trainer

How to become a Guide Dog Trainer

The guide dogs for the blind are the largest dog training association in the world. There are over 4,300 working guide dogs in the U.K and over 2,500 more at any one time being used as breeding stock or in training.

Training starts early, and the first stage of training a potential guide dog is the puppy walking stage. This is done by a volunteer every day to provide a basic foundation for the advanced guide dog training. The dog is taken for long walks to help build his confidence and give him worldly experience.

Once the dog has finished puppy-hood the more challenging training will begin. This part of the training is more intense than the first stage as there can be no dogs that struggle in the last stages of training. This part of the training includes familiarising the dog with the type of surroundings he will be required to negotiate with his new owner. He will also need to develop a strong sense of self-confidence and must be able to concentrate and not be distracted before he can be handed over to the guide dog mobility instructor.

To become a qualified guide dog trainer, applicants will need to be eighteen years old or over and possess three G.C.S.E passes at grade c or above, or the equivalent. They must also have a full and current driving licence. An aptitude for learning is one quality that is looked favourably upon, as is a natural affinity with and understanding of dogs. Potential guide dog trainers must be physically fit and willing to work outside in all types of weather.

Dog trainers begin their employment as a trainee, and are constantly assessed and evaluated on their performance. Completion of each module results in a pay rise for the trainee. Upon completion of all of the modules the candidate is considered a qualified guide dog trainer.