Dual purpose dogs

What is a dual purpose assistance dog?

Our dual purpose dogs are specifically trained to meet the needs of people with sight loss and an additional need such as:

  • significant hearing loss
  • epilepsy
  • physical disability
  • use of an electric wheelchair

A dual purpose assistance dog is therefore trained to perform more than one role, whether as a hearing dog, providing disability support, or otherwise.

To do this, Guide Dogs works collaboratively with other Assistance Dog UK charities.

Once dual purpose dogs complete their training, they must learn how to work with their new owner over the course of several weeks.

Those who have trained with a dual purpose dog say that the training process requires a lot of commitment and patience, but if you succeed, it can make a real difference to your life.

Living independently thanks to assistance dogs

The first dual purpose partnership in the UK was established in 2003 between Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs. Angela, who has dual sensory sight and hearing loss, was trained with her first dual purpose dog Roddy. In 2011 Roddy retired and Angela is now working with her second dual trained dog, Mel.

As well as assisting with her mobility and helping her to get out and about, Mel alerts Angela to sounds in her home such as the smoke alarm, doorbell, oven timer and alarm clock. Despite the challenges she faced, Angela is now able to live independently, and it's all thanks to Roddy and Mel.

Apply for a dual purpose assistance dog

If you are interested in our dual purpose dogs service, we can arrange a no-obligation visit to explain the service in more detail, answer any questions and see if a dual purpose dog would be right for you and your lifestyle.

We want to communicate with you in the best way possible and can do this alongside your preferred interpreter, communication support worker or other language service professional. Alternatively, we can arrange for a suitably qualified interpreter to support during any visits.

To start the process, your next step is to talk through your options with us.