Five Essential Tips for Supporting Guide Dog Handlers

In this special edition of our blog, dedicated to International Guide Dog Day, we focus on celebrating and honouring the partnership between guide dogs and their handlers. As we explore five indispensable tips to support guide dog handlers, our aim is to amplify awareness and understanding within our community. Whether you’re a seasoned advocate or just beginning your journey of understanding, these insights will help foster a more inclusive and informed society.


Engage with the Handler: When in doubt, always initiate a conversation with a person utilizing a Guide Dog. Politely inquire if they require assistance and announce your presence verbally. Utilising your voice is preferable to using your hands, ensuring a respectful and helpful interaction.


Grant Unrestricted Access: Guide Dogs in harness possess the legal right to accompany their Handlers anywhere they go. Recognising and respecting this right is crucial for fostering inclusivity and independence. Always be mindful of allowing Guide Dogs access to all public spaces.


Avoid Distractions: Guide Dogs undergo extensive training, but they are still dogs with natural instincts. Refrain from feeding or distracting them, enabling them to concentrate on their essential tasks. Your cooperation contributes to the success of their skilled work.


Respect Personal Space: Recognise the importance of physical space for both the Handler and the Guide Dog. Refrain from touching either the Handler or the dog and prevent your own dog from approaching them. This ensures a safe working environment for the Guide Dog and its Handler.


Expand Your Knowledge: Take the initiative to educate yourself about blindness or low vision by accessing relevant resources. Engage with individuals who have personal experiences with vision impairment and consider pursuing formal training programs. Share the knowledge you acquire to promote awareness and understanding within your community.


On this International Guide Dog Day, let’s commit to creating a world where guide dog users can navigate with confidence and independence. By implementing these five essential tips—engaging with handlers, granting unrestricted access, avoiding distractions, respecting personal space, and expanding our knowledge—we contribute to a more inclusive and supportive environment. Let’s celebrate the extraordinary bond between guide dogs and their handlers and work towards a community where everyone can move through life with dignity and ease.