Guide dog mobility from the client's perspective

Lloyd, Janice K.F. (2002) Guide dog mobility from the client's perspective. In: Papers from the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind Series. pp. 1-4. From: International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind Seminar 2002, May 2002, Samsung Guide Dog School, South Korea.

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The successful guide dog enhances the lifestyle of the guide dog user by enabling independent mobility, providing companionship and facilitating social-interaction. However, if a person is matched with a dog that does not meet his or her needs, this may result in reduced mobility, emotional distress and wasted time and money. In New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind Guide Dog Services (RNZFB GDS) is responsible for guide dog production and the matching, training, and outcome of the guide dog and user 'team'. Although the RNZFB GDS considers behavioural, physical and psychological characteristics of person and dog when matching a team, incompatible matches occur. The aim of this doctoral study was to determine empirically the effects of a guide dog on the user's self-perceived travel skills, and identify the factors that influence the success or failure of the match. Interviews with around 50 guide dog users yielded retrospective and current information on the participants' orientation and mobility skills before and during the use of a guide dog respectively. Data was also collected on the participants' requirements and expectations of guide dog use, how well these were met and, where applicable, why some matches were deemed incompatible. Results show that guide dog users have a more positive perception of their travel skills when using a guide dog, and that the dog enhances the users' overall quality of life. However, although a dog may be an efficacious mobility aid, it might be rejected for characteristics relating to non-work issues such as inappropriate social behaviour, unsuitability as a companion, or because of changes in the user's circumstances. Conversely, some dogs that are considered to be poor or mediocre mobility aids are retained as working dogs due to the level of attachment that has formed between the person and dog. Results of this study will be used to help predict appropriate matches with the aim of improving the matching process.

Item ID: 10046
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2010 22:51
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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