ThePetSite - cat, dog and small animal information

All the latest news forDogs | Cats | Small Mammals | Fish | Equine
ThePetSite on Linked In


Dogs Reading Train Timetables? Some Common Guide Dog Myths

11 September 2015

UK - Guide Dogs has revealed some of the common misconceptions people have about what a guide dog can do – with emptying the dishwasher and checking timetables at train stations among some of the more hopeful responses.

Our dogs are specially trained to help people living with sight loss to get out and about independently - whether that’s by helping them to get to the local shop, go to work or meet their friends. However, in a survey of over 4,500 UK adults, we found that there are some misconceptions about what this special partnership entails.

The research found that 31 per cent of adults think our specially trained dogs can be relied upon to help empty the washing machine and 47 per cent believe they can help pick up a ringing phone for their owner.

One person believes guide dogs can 'diagnose some illnesses'. The survey also revealed that 83 per cent of people believe it is the guide dog who decides or can help to decide when to cross the road, not the owner – a common misconception.

Our survey also found that 20 per cent assumed that the NHS (7 per cent ) or social care services (13 per cent ) are mainly responsible for providing guide dogs – when really, this solely falls to us and we receive no government funding for the guide dog service, it is completely reliant on donations. One in five (20 per cent ) also thought that you have to be completely blind to be qualify for a guide dog.

After speaking to some of our guide dog owners we also found that members of the public often talk to the guide dog rather than the owner. One guide dog owner even had a pharmacist ask if the dog should be given his prescription to take away instead of the owner himself.

Now we’re calling for more people than ever to show their support during the our annual awareness and fundraising week (3-11 October).

This year the theme for Guide Dogs Week is 'Lets Glow' in tribute to the famous neon flash on the guide dog harness – a sign that over three quarters (77 per cent ) of people questioned recognised.

Almost two million people in the UK are currently living with sight loss. This is predicted to double by 2050 and we have found that almost one in five people in the UK (19 per cent ) now know someone living with sight loss.

Previous research by Guide Dogs found that 180,000 people with sight loss never leave home alone, and almost 50 per cent feel cut off from the people and things around them. Having a Guide Dog can help combat that and today there are more than 4,800 guide dog partnerships in the UK.

Guide Dogs spokesperson Sonya Roberts says: “Guide dogs are expertly trained to lead their owner around obstacles, identify kerbs and spot hazards. What people witness on the street is the incredible nature of the trusting relationship between guide dog and owner and it’s therefore not surprising that ‘intelligent’ and ‘life-changing’ were the top words that sprung to respondents’ minds when thinking about these special dogs.

"Guide Dogs Week is all about raising awareness of our services and how the generous donations of the public will help people living with sight loss to enjoy their independence."

Paralympian and guide dog owner Libby Clegg, says: “Hattie may not answer the phone or unload my washing – sadly – but what she does is enable me to be free, to go wherever I want and not to miss out on anything.

“But I know that the specialist training she had cost a lot of money so that’s why I’m asking everyone who has ever looked at a guide dog at work and thought how amazing they are, to Stand Out for Guide Dogs and donate a little bit of time or money this Guide Dogs Week, so that more people can experience this life-changing partnership.”

It takes on average 20 months to train each guide dog, and the cost for just one dog from birth to retirement is £50,000. Guide Dogs Week 2015 aims to raise £1million so that the charity can continue its vital work, making sure that people who have lost their sight don’t lose their freedom as well.

About Guide Dogs Week

There are loads of ways that you can get involved and Stand Out for Guide Dogs this Guide Dogs Week - working together with the charity to break down barriers for people with sight loss. These include:

  • Let’s Glow Collect – donate an hour of your time to take part in a neon bucket collection
  • Let’s Glow Party – hold on a neon social event with your friends
  • Let's Glow Friday – donate and dress in neon on Friday 9 October
  • Let’s Glow and Give – donate through the Guide Dogs Week website
  • Sponsor a guide dog puppy
  • Buy neon gifts from the Guide Dogs online shop

To get involved or to find out more about Guide Dogs Week 2015 visit

ThePetSite News Desk

Our Sponsors


Seasonal Picks

The Science Behind a Happy Dog Canine Training, Thinking and Behaviour - 5m Books