New Apprentice Scheme Launched for Guide Dog Trainers

Tue, 06 Jan 2009

A new apprentice scheme has been launched in eastern Scotland aimed at attracting potential guide dog trainers. Upon gaining the necessary skills, the trainers would spend 10-12 weeks preparing as many as three dogs to the required standard before matching the animal with a needy client. The trainer would spend a further month helping bond the pet and its new owner on a daily basis. The instructor must also provide aftercare, visiting the dog owners once or twice a year for the rest of the guide dog’s working life.

Dave Matthews, a member of Guide Dogs’ east of Scotland team, said, ‘An instructor’s work is hard, walking long distances almost every day in all conditions. However, this is clearly counterbalanced by the satisfaction of knowing you are making life-changing differences to blind and partially-sighted people . Our apprentices should have a desire to work with and train dogs and have experience of teaching, instructing or coaching either adults or young people. They need to be able to undertake academic study to diploma level and have a good standard of health and fitness as well as strong interpersonal skills. Also required is a willingness to travel extensively for training purposes and when visiting guide dog owners.’

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