What is a Route?

A guide dog has to practice his work consistently to continue to work in a safe manner. So, routes need to provide physical and mental stimulation for the dog and need to allow the dog to practice working and decision-making.

A route can consist of various destinations such as walking from your house to a bus stop on the way to work, church or a restaurant. Walking from your house or office to the grocery store or to frequented places of business can be routes, too. Routes can be simply for pleasure and exercise.

Routes should take at least 30 minutes to walk and you should be able to do them completely on your own. You should be willing and ready to walk routes every day. You should have at least three routes that you can do independently and that you are comfortable walking with an instructor.

You need to know your routes before applying for a guide dog so that when you are training with your guide dog you will be able to focus on the dog. Physically walking the routes ensures that you are going to want to walk every day and that you can tolerate the exercise.

The following are some examples of what does not constitute a route. You can use a guide dog to assist you with these things, but by themselves similar situations to these do not constitute routes:
Walking down your driveway to your mailbox,
Getting picked up at your front door, and dropped off at the door of your destination,
Walking around a track or a single walking trail with no work for the dog.

If your current lifestyle is such that mainly you get rides to all of your destinations and you are not interested in walking at least 30 minutes twice a day, then a guide dog may not be the best form of mobility for you.