Alison Booth: Guide Dog Mobility Instructor

My name is , I am a at the York, Selby and Humber team based in . My job is to take the dog through the final stages of training and then match it to a compatible visually impaired client.

I am one of 4 Instructors in the area that teach the young dogs the skills needed to guide a blind or partially-sighted person.

3 weeks ago I picked up 4 new dogs; Usher, Courtney, Yaris and Osborn. I’ve never had all black dogs before so I often struggle to tell which dog is which (I may start painting their claws!) Each dog has their own individual character for instance Usher is a mummy’s boy and follows me everywhere, where as Courtney is a little more independent and loves to play with the other dogs.

I am currently teaching them:

•    To walk in a straight line in the centre of the pavement unless there is an obstacle;
•    Not to turn corners unless told to do so;
•    To stop at kerbs and wait for the command to cross the road, or to turn left or right;
•    To judge height and width so that its owner does not bump their head or shoulder;
•    How to deal with traffic.

My dogs are in training so wear brown training harnesses – they don’t get a smart white one until they complete their schooling.

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Please feel free to come and chat to me whilst I am out and about with the dogs but make sure you ask me before you stroke or distract the dog as this can affect their work.

If you are interested in volunteering for Guide Dogs please call 0845 371 7771 or email: volunteer@guidedogs.org.uk

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