Service Dogs-In-Training

July 22, 2020

TransLink opens its doors at the Vancouver Transit Centre Wednesday morning hosting dozens of guide and service dogs-in-training.

The new recruits from Delta-based BC & Alberta Guide Dogs will be familiarized with several buses repeatedly, in order to accelerate their training. This is important given their training schedule has fallen behind due to COVID-19. “COVID-19 has been a real challenge for everyone and I’m pleased to support the training of service and guide dogs in any way we can,” said Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel. “I hope this training can help get trained guide and service dogs to the people who need them as quickly as possible.”

As part of a guide or service dog-in-training’s graduation process, trainers must be able to determine they are well-behaved on buses, and that they are able to board and disem-bark. The puppies from BC & Alberta Guide Dogs are usually introduced to buses in the field and gradually trained, however this method has been suspended during the pandemic.

“Because of unforeseen difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic, guide and service dog training is far behind where we’d like it to be,” added BC & Alberta Guide Dogs CEO Bill Thornton. “We are excited to seek out unique partnerships and opportunities to try and speed up training wherever we can, and we thank TransLink for this opportunity to socialize guide and service dogs-in-training to their buses.”

While only one day of training is currently scheduled, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs and TransLink are in discussions about how this training could be replicated to assist with training in the future.

According to Translink, Certified Guide and Service Dogs enable some of its customers to safely and confidently travel on all modes of their accessible public transit system and are welcome at all times of service.

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