Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs is a national organisation that established its first school for training dog guides in Victoria, on the 10th April 1960.
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs merged with Vision Australia on the 1st July 2008. We are a full member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), fulfilling the requirements of their international accreditation process. Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs was one of the first training schools in the world to meet the far more rigorous accreditation standards of the IGDF. We are also full members and meet all the accreditation standards of Assistance Dogs International (ADI).
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs is the only national provider of world-class bred and trained dogs which help to provide independence for people who are blind or have low vision.
Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs was founded in 1960 by Mrs P. M. Gration who was herself blind. Mrs Gration believed strongly in providing independent travel and understood how a dog guide could provide independence to substantially improve the quality of life for people who are blind or have low vision.
While some of our Seeing Eye Dogs are funded through government schemes, our work really does depend heavily on the goodwill and support of our volunteers and donors to provide our incredible Seeing Eye Dogs.
It costs more than $50,000 and takes up to two years of intensive training for one Seeing Eye Dog to graduate. However, because these dogs need to have the highest capabilities in order to meet strict requirements, not all of them pass.
Our clients need to have confidence in the dogs training and abilities to completely trust that the dog will guide them safely. Sometimes it’s not known until the very end of training whether a dog will be suitable – even the most highly skilled dog may not meet all of the criteria.
From its inception, Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs has remained a user-driven organisation; our philosophy of putting clients first has been the cornerstone of Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs’s work since 1960.
We feel that the attention, care and involvement we give to each of our clients are what make us different. We don’t design or provide training programs in isolation; we always work in close co-operation with each individual client.
Our training is entirely one on one; it is not based on a prescriptive group or set training approach. This clearly underpins our belief in putting the client first.