Training of guide dogs hits new hurdle in China

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Training of a guide dog costs between 120,000 to 150,000 Yuan per year. [Photo / Xinhua]

Although the Beijing subway and trains across China have allowed guide dogs to accompany their visually impaired owners since May 1, the high cost of training the dogs has prevented their widespread use.

Training of a guide dog costs between 120,000 to 150,000 Yuan per year. Furthermore, only about 20 dogs manage to pass the strict tests every year, according to an employee at the China Guide Dog Training Center in Dalian city in northeast China's Liaoning province.

The training fund for guide dogs mainly relies on public donations and government support, but the high cost has put a strain on future expansion plans.

Meanwhile, more than 40% of the guide dogs don't even make to the end of the training program. They are disqualified if their responses to sound and danger are seen as too slow or inadequate or based on their personality evaluation.

Only around one hundred guide dogs now serve blind people in China, and Beijing only has 10 guide dogs working full-time. But statistics from the Beijing Disabled Persons Federation show that Beijing has more than 70,000 people living with visual impairments and the number of people who need a guide dog stands at 19,000.

Nearly 300 blind people in China have submitted their guide dog applications, but the applicants have to wait for two to three years due to limited availability of qualified dogs.

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