Guide Dogs continues dog training thanks to Transport for Greater Manchester
Thanks to a helping hand from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Guide Dogs continues training its dogs safely using a bus.
Like many other charities, Guide Dogs has had to close its doors and move most of its services to online and telephone conversations due to government restrictions.
As lockdown is now easing, the North West Regional Centre in Atherton has slowly began retraining some of its dogs onsite, where it can ensure staff can maintain social distancing.
Usually Guide Dogs carries out most of its dog training in the community so the dogs can get used to being in busy environments, such as shops, town centres and on public transport.
Although training has restarted in Guide Dogs’ own grounds, some of the learning cannot yet take place.
Nick Mullineux, Head of Canine Services in the North West for Guide Dogs, said: “It’s been great restarting training with our dogs on our own premises, but there are a few key training activities that we usually do out in the community that we simply cannot do onsite.
“We sent out a plea for help to TfGM and they were more than willing to help”.
TfGM has donated a bus to the charity which can be kept in Guide Dogs’ car park, so dogs can learn how to safely get on, sit safely, and get off public transport without putting staff members at risk.
Nick continues: “Travelling on buses is one of the main forms of transport our guide dog owners use to get out and about, that’s why it’s so important we train our younger dogs how to use them confidently and safely.
“We’re so grateful to TfGM for helping us out. It will certainly help us get back on track to qualifying some of our future life-changers!”
Councillor Mark Aldred, the Chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, said: “As a large-scale public transport provider, the work we do alongside our Disability Design Reference Group is vital in ensuring services are as accessible as possible.
“Through our work in this area, we know about the fantastic and inspirational efforts undertaken by the Guide Dogs for the Blind team and the lifeline that it can offer to so many people.
“That’s why we were delighted to be able to help them to continue their efforts and make public transport even more accessible by delivering the bus to their training centre”.
Guide Dogs has its own Standardised Training for Excellent Partnerships (STEP) programme, which uses the principles of positive reinforcement to teach its dogs everything they need to learn to be successful and happy in their lives. It takes around 20 weeks for a dog to complete STEP before it is partnered with its future owner.
For support or further information, please visit www.guidedogs.org.uk.
Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office
0161 244 1055
Notes to editors
About Guide Dogs
Guide Dogs is here to help the two million people living with sight loss live the life they choose. Children and adults. Friends and family. Our expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs are here to help people affected by sight loss live actively, independently and well. Founded in 1934, we are a charity that is almost entirely dependent on donations. Find out more at guidedogs.org.uk.