Link has opened its properties for guide dog puppies training since 2013 and has been supporting HKGDA for eight years to increase public awareness of guide dog services. In 2021/22, HKGDA will continue the local breeding and training of guide dogs in Hong Kong, aiming to benefit visually impaired persons and promote an inclusive community.
What is a guide dog?
Guide dogs act as "eyes" for the visually impaired and they are professionally trained working dogs. They are able to improve mobility and safety of the visually impaired and are their companions. Guide dogs guide the visually impaired to avoid obstacles on the road and overhead, so that both can reach the destination safely.
How to train a guide dog?
When puppies are about 14 - 18 months old, they are physically mature to start formal training. The Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association (HKGDA) uses positive rewards, such as food and praise, to train puppies. Guide dogs learn how to lead a person safely around obstacles. They are even taught to disobey intelligently. For example, a guide dog will not step forward when there are oncoming vehicles and is capable of resisting distractions.
How are guide dogs matched with the visually impaired?
After a guide dog completes the training, it will be matched with a visually impaired who has been accepted into the guide dog training program. The matching process ensures that the needs of individual applicants are met with the most suitable guide dogs. Meanwhile, applicants are also required to complete comprehensive training, which lasts about three to four weeks, before being assigned a guide dog.