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The Guide Dog as a Mobility Aid Part 2: Perceived Changes to Travel Habits

Authors
  • Lloyd, Janice K.F. Ph.D.1
  • La Grow, Steven Ed.D.2
  • Stafford, Kevin J. MVB, MSc., Ph.D., FRC...3
  • Budge, R. Claire Ph.D.4
  • 1 School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland , (Australia)
  • 2 Massey University, Palmerston North , (New Zealand)
  • 3 Professor Veterinary Ethology, School of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand , (New Zealand)
  • 4 MidCentral Health Ltd, Palmerston North , (New Zealand)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of Orientation & Mobility
Publisher
Exeley Inc.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2008
Volume
1
Issue
1
Pages
34–45
Identifiers
DOI: 10.21307/ijom-2008-004
Source
Exeley
License
Green

Abstract

This article describes the second of a two-part study that examined the effects of a guide dog as an aid to mobility. The first part, which is also published in this issue, showed that dogs were perceived to significantly improve travel performance, irrespective of the participants’ orientation and mobility skills before receiving the dog. The second part of the study describes the changes a dog makes to travel habits. In this second part, the travel habits of 50 people who were blind or vision impaired were examined retrospectively before and after they received a dog. The results indicate that dogs were used more frequently than other mobility aids except when it was more convenient to use a human guide or a long cane, as for example on a very short journey. People travelled independently more often and went further, with greater ease and enjoyment when travelling with a dog. The use of a dog appeared to reduce problems with access and the need to avoid certain journeys. However, dogs also caused difficulties, especially in social situations where they were not welcomed, and in crowded, cramped or dog-populated environments. More advantages than disadvantages were identified when comparing a dog to other mobility aids.

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