The Top Ten Misconceptions of Guide Dogs #GuideDogsWeek

Greetings Readers!

Welcome back to!

Today i am going to be sharing with you a new blog inspired by the launch of Guide Dogs Week yesterday which is a week that runs through October from the 3rd-11th in the UK. The week is in aid of the charity Guide Dogs to raise funds and awareness to train this incredible dog to help people with sight loss live independent lives.

As some of you may already know

Recently I was contacted by the charity Guide Dogs to work on some content for Guide Dogs Week including some YouTube videos.

I have already made a video and blogged about a neon makeup and hair look for Guide Dogs week. in it I use some amazing products like the Urban Decay Electric palette and some neon hair chalks. But, I also made a video to mark the start of Guide Dogs Week in which I talk about some of the biggest misconceptions that surrounds Guide Dogs.

So, today I will be talking you all through ten of the most common misconceptions that surrounds Guide Dogs!

So, here we go!

Watch The Video Below

Emily with her guide dog Unity

Number One: That All Guide Dog Owners Are Blind 

This is a huge misconceptions that surrounds the people behind the guide dog. What I would like to say is that not all guide dog owners are blind. guide dog owners in the UK have many different levels of vision from full sight loss, to loss of central vision, Nystagmus, lack of peripheral vision and so on.

You don’t have to be fully blind to qualify for a guide dog and to be honest a lot of the guide dog owners i have met are in fact not fully blind. Myself included.

Number Two: That Guide Dogs Are Blind Dogs

Nope, I’m sorry but I cannot even entertain a sensitive answer. I mean after all, that is just a serious misplacement of terminology. A blind dog is a dog that is blind as the name implies. However, a guide dog is a dog that is there to help someone with limited vision be mobile.

So, I beseech you, don’t mix up the two entities.

Number Three: That You Have To Give A Guide Dog Directions

I spoke about this in a recent video I filmed with charity Scope for their #EndTheAwkward campaign in which I talk about how people have spoken to my guide dog and not me.

Believe it or not, I often hear people uttering directions to my guide dog as opposed to me. The thing with a guide dog is yes they are indeed trained to help a guide dog orientate from place to place. However, that does not mean to say that they are like a canine sat nav and that they can be treated like one. You still have to give the owner directions in which they will then translate in simple commands to the guide dog.

So, please, when a guide dog owner asks for directions, speak to them and not the dog. Because the guide dog and owner will still be none the wiser.

Number Four: That Guide Dogs Are Always Well Behaved 

I think that often the public believe that guide dogs are extremely well behave,d methodic and almost robotic in their approach to things. Whilst I would like to point out that guide dogs are extremely well have, docile, sweet tempered and obedient. There are those situations where the dog will misbehave or have their little naughty moment. But, be assured that this is completely normal for a guide dog as they are that after all, a dog, not a robot. They are a sentient being, they hurt, they need time to release their energy and they need time to simply be a dog.

Number Five: That You Can Always Pet A Guide Dog

People often approach me and proceed to pet my dog and whilst I completely understand that guide dogs are extremely cute and tempting this is not usually allowed. If you want to say hello to a guide dog it is imperative that you ask the owner beforehand to ensure that you are not infringing on the dogs work or distracting them from their task. Every guide dog operates differently and has different mannerisms and some can become easily distracted by being petted. Guide dogs are most certainly not public property, but as a guide dog owner who hugely appreciates the publics support to the charity that has changed m life I do make accepting.

So please, ask before you pet!

Number Six: That A Guide Dog Can Read The Bus Numbers

No, no, no and again no! Guide dogs nor any dog for that mater can read. A guide dog can lead an owner to a bus upon instruction with commands such as ‘find the bus’ or ‘find the doors.’ But, I would never instruct my guide dog to ‘look out for a 180 Unity’ or ‘what time is the next 261 coming along?’ A guide dog is there to follow instructions from their owner and the owner may have a number of methods to find a bus like using an app, visual aid or asking a member of the public for assistance. Yet, at no point would they call on their guide dog to look for a particular bus number.

Number Seven: That Guide Dogs Are Not Allowed In Public Places 

This is actually one of the most upsetting and aggravating miscocneptions I have to battle regularly. For the most part shops, restaurants, cafes and other public places are nothing but hospitable and accommodating to both me and my guide dog. But, on occasion when I have gone into a shop, a taxi or a restaurant I have been refused access due to working with a guide dog. They answer that no dogs are allowed in their establishment and my dog is no acceptation to that rule. Yet, when I attempt to explain that my companion is a guide dog and therefore exempt from this rule they do not all seem to comprehend what a guide dog is. What I would like to stipulate here and now is that a guide dog is categorically allowed into any public place with their guide dog. A guide dog will always be waring a yellow harness and their owner will or should have a badge of identification with them to verify that their guide dog is a registered guide dog.

If you do not comply with this rule and allow the guide dog owner into the premises you face the said owner taking up legal action against you. After all it is discrimination and discrimination is illegal.

Guide Dogs Campaigns have recently launched a fantastic new campaign called the Access All Areas to raise awareness of guide dog being refused access into public places. You can find out more about this campaign by clicking here. 

Number Eight: That You Can Feed A Guide Dog

Absolutely and categorically not! A guide dog must never be fed at all times, the guide dog owner is the only person other than certified persons such as family, guide dogs staff and so on who can feed the dog. Guide dogs are on a very strict diet to ensure their health for one. But, they must also remain in concentration when out on a walk and therefore someone offering them a tasty morsel will hugely distract these little canines. Plus, if you were say for instance to feed them a chip and they got the liking for chips (who doesn’t?) then the next time they were out on a walk and perhaps stopped some chips lying n the road they may drag the owner to the curb to get their teeth on those chips…big mistake!

So, please on behalf of all guide dog owners I implore you all to never feed a guide dog.

Number Nine: That The Guide Dog Owner Has The Dog From A Puppy

A lot of people seem to believe that guide dog owners have their dog from a puppy which is of course not the case. An owner will usually meet the dog a year and a half into his or her life when they are finishing their training and moving onto becoming a qualified guide dog. A guide dog owner never has any contact with their would be dog until this point, after all most of the time the owner and the dog are not matched until the dog has reached a year and a half years old. As the dog and owner have to be paired depending on the specifications of the owner and if the dog meets the owners needs and criteria such as height, build, mannerisms and walking speed.

So, I’m afraid we don’t receive our wold be guide dog when they are bouncing ball of fluff. But, we do usually receive some cute puppy photos from our kind hearted puppy walkers (the people who care for the puppies until they are a year old.) I have plenty, here is one of them below of my guide dog Unity as a puppy.


Number Ten: That A Guide Dog Judges When It Is Safe To Cross The Road

This last myth is one that can be very problematic for me when trying to explain to people the dangers of quiet vehicles and bikes when crossing a road with my guide dog. The thing about a guide dog is that they are trained to act if they see a car in close proximity to the owner and thus act upon it to prevent the owner from crossing any further. However, the guide dog is not in control of judging when it is safe to cross. They do not have a conception of speed assessment or knowing if they have time to cross the road in conjunction to how far away a car is. They are a dog, they act upon instinct and training. It is up to the owner to assess when it is safe to cross and if they make a wrong decision then the guide dog should step in as a last resort. Although this is certainly not advisable.

So, if you are a driver of a vehicle please don’t park your car on a pavement making an owner cross between the parked cars. If you do make an effort to stop for a guide dog owner (which is very much appreciated) remember to find down your window and give the owner a bit of verbal notice..don’t flash your indicators at them because they are using a guide dog for a reason.

Thank You!

So, that concludes my top ten misconceptions about guide dogs! I really hope you enjoyed it, be sure to visit for more info about the charity and guide dogs week. Let me know in the comments if you have any misconceptions of your own to add and thank you all so much for reading!

Until next time!

unity and me

Posted by

Emily is a Masters Degree Student, Writer, Journalist, YouTuber and blogger who runs the blog and YouTube channel

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