An investigation of the complexities of successful and unsuccessful guide dog matching and partnerships.

Lloyd, Janice, Budge, Claire, La Grow, Steven, and Stafford, Kevin (2016) An investigation of the complexities of successful and unsuccessful guide dog matching and partnerships. Frontiers Veterinary Science, 3. 114. pp. 1-15.

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Abstract

Matching a person who is blind or visually impaired with a guide dog is a process of finding the most suitable guide dog available for that individual. Not all guide dog partnerships are successful, and the consequences of an unsuccessful partnership may result in reduced mobility and quality of life for the handler (owner), and are costly in time and resources for guide dog training establishments. This study examined 50 peoples' partnerships with one or more dogs (118 pairings) to ascertain the outcome of the relationship. Forty-three of the 118 dogs were returned to the guide dog training establishment before reaching retirement age, with the majority (n = 40) being categorized as having dog-related issues. Most (n = 26) of these dogs' issues were classified as being behavioral in character, including work-related and non-work-related behavior, and 14 were due to physical causes (mainly poor health). Three dogs were returned due to matters relating to the handlers' behavior. More second dogs were returned than the handlers' first or third dogs, and dogs that had been previously used as a guide could be rematched successfully. Defining matching success is not clear-cut. Not all dogs that were returned were considered by their handlers to have been mismatched, and not all dogs retained until retirement were thought to have been good matches, suggesting that some handlers were retaining what they considered to be a poorly matched dog. Almost all the handlers who regarded a dog as being mismatched conceded that some aspects of the match were good. For example, a dog deemed mismatched for poor working behavior may have shown good home and/or other social behaviors. The same principle was true for successful matches, where few handlers claimed to have had a perfect dog. It is hoped that these results may help the guide dog industry identify important aspects of the matching process, and/or be used to identify areas where a matching problem exists.

Item ID: 46227
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2297-1769
Keywords: guide dogs, matching success, human–animal relationships, vision impairment, blind mobility
Additional Information:

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 05:24
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8399 Other Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 839999 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 50%
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