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FAQs

What is a Guide Dog?
A Guide Dog for the blind is a specially reared and trained animal assistant for a Blind or Visually Impaired Person. The dog undertakes several months of intensive training before it is matched with its new owner.

Who Needs a Guide Dog?
Any blind person in these categories:
  • University and trade school students;
  • Persons in or seeking work;
  • Persons who suffer sight loss due to accidents; and
  • Persons with reduced vision caused by degenerative diseases.

Why have a guide dog?
A guide dog is a needed tool not only for mobility, but also to gain both independence and self-confidence.

How is a guide dog trained?
At the age of 8 weeks it is placed in the care of a volunteer 'Puppy Walker', who helps with general obedience, roadcraft, spending commands, etc. The dog or bitch is neutered during this phase. At 12-14 months a period of intense schooling starts, under the guidance of a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. At around 18-22 months the Guide Dog meets its new owner and they are taught to meet all possible hazards together before final graduation. The Instructor monitors their performance every month for the first year, then at frequent intervals thereafter to ensure a high standard is maintained.

How many guide dog owners are in Malta and Gozo?
As of July 2015, 13 fully trained animals are working with their owners. A brood bitch has been imported so that dogs can be reared and trained locally.

What can I do to help?
The Malta Guide Dogs Foundation is always looking for volunteers to assist with Administration, Puppy Walking, obtaining sponsors and organising fund-raising events. Complete the contact form on the site, if you wish to help.

Can a Guide Dog Owner go anywhere in Malta?
Just about the only public places that the partnership is not allowed to go are: Restaurant Kitchens, Hospital special wards, Toilets and premises where other animals are kept. In essence, a Guide Dog can only be useful to its owner if allowed access to all locations that are accessible to a normally sighted person. This includes: Hotels, Restaurants, Public Transport, Offices, Aircraft, Ferries, Banks, etc. The Equal Opportunities Act 2000 states that it is illegal to discriminate against a disabled person who needs an assistant, in this case a Guide Dog.

Do you train dogs locally?
We are able to carry out initial obedience training with volunteers and will be able to offer a full course once our own Mobility Instructor graduates from a 2-3 year course.

I have an unwanted puppy, will you train it?
No – the chances of a puppy that has not been reared from Guide Dog stock will succeed as a qualified Guide Dog are very slim. Indeed, it's all in the genes.

Can a Guide Dog fly in an aircraft cabin with its owner?
An EU regulation enforced across Europe in 2008 should ensure that an assistance dog may accompany its owner in the cabin so long as the dog is mentioned when booking, meets the conditions of the EU Pets Travel Scheme and that a special harness which attaches to the seat belt is used. There should be no extra charge for this service. Journeys within the Schengen Area may require a temporary import permit. The UK and Eire will continue to have special conditions. Ask the airline for help.

Is the Foundation recognised abroad?
The Foundation was established in 2006 and, as soon as a training facility has been in full operation for two years, it may apply for membership of the International Guide Dog Federation. The foundation is recognised by the European Guide Dog Federation.

Public Awareness
  • Schools
  • Places of Work
Leaflets
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Sighted Guiding
  • Others
Downloadable Forms
  • Application to be a Puppy Raiser
  • Application for a Service
  • Application to be a volunteer