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Dog’s day out – public transport training

July 12, 2023

Our Guide Dogs Services team recently conducted a training walk with Guide Dogs-in-training, Valentine and Whitney, taking them through the botanic gardens, over the Goodwill Bridge into Southbank, followed by a ferry ride back to Eagle Street. Reports are both Valentine and Whitney handled the experience with flying colours!

It’s not every day you see a dog learn to catch public transport, however for Guide Dogs-in-training it’s an essential part of their learning and development.

Where our Clients go, so does their Guide Dog, and for most Clients that also includes public transport. So it is important that each Guide Dog-in-training learns to adapt to new environments, sounds, smells, and certain tactile surfaces to be confident in navigating public transport with their Handler.

Guide Dogs-in-training will make multiple trips into Brisbane City with their trainer to consolidate their learning, including ferry travel on the Brisbane River.

For most dogs, the sound of an oncoming train or stepping onto a floating object such as a ferry can be a stressful experience. However with positive reinforcement, praise, encouragement and of course treats, Guide Dogs-in-training quickly learn to adapt to their surroundings.

When Guide Dogs client Jason first applied for a Guide Dog, it was essential for him to find a dog who enabled his independence and could quickly adapt to changing environments, including all forms of public transport. Jason’s life has always been on-the-go, attending meetings and travelling for work, so it was crucial to find a Guide Dog who could match his pace!

Image of Jason and Guide Dog Tyson walking down a street on the footpath.

Image of Jason and Guide Dog Tyson walking down a street on the footpath.

Now with Guide Dog Tyson by his side, catching public transport is a regular part of their daily routine. Tyson often navigates busy city streets, finds the bus stop, or accompanies Jason on business flights to Sydney. “It just means that I can be so much more independent when I do things like traveling to Sydney. I don’t need that level of support where I need to rely on somebody else,” said Jason.


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