Campaigns and activities
There are approximately five guide dog users in Iceland.
Regulation No. 941/2002 on Public Health provides exceptions for guide dogs to access places that otherwise do not allow for dogs. These exceptions are: Hotels, restaurants, saloons, hairdressers, hospitals, sport centers, swimming pools, prisons and meeting locales.
There is also a pending Bill for the Icelandic parliament concerning a change in the Multi-Owner Buildings Act, No. 26/1994 so that guide dog users will not need the consent of other residents for keeping the guide dog.
The Act on import and export of animals No. 54/1990 and Regulations on the import and export of pets and dog semen No. 935/2004 forbid all import of dogs into the country unless vaccinated and quarantined for 30 days.
The regulation restricts spontaneous voayges.
Blindrafelagid, Icelandic organization of the visually impaired (BIOVI) cooperates with the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP) about training guide dogs.
NABP has run a guide dog training centre since 1970. The guide dog training centre trains several guide dogs every year and also educates guide dog trainers and provides an extensive follow-up for guide dog users.
This is how a guide dog is trained:
1. The puppies stay with a host family for the first year of their life.
2. 50% of the one year old dogs pass a test of physical and mental suitability.
3. A guide dog trainer takes the young dog through an intensive training period of six months. training period of six months.
4. Guide dogs and users are matched.
5. The dog and its new owner train together for four weeks under the guidance of the guide dog trainer.
6. The last part of the training is given in the user's home area – a week of co-training - dog and owner.
There are no mandatory certifications.
Regulation No 233/2010 based on the Law on Service and Information Center for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind No. 160/2008 states that guide dogs are part of assistive technology and devices for the blind and visually impaired.
The Service and Information Center strives to ensure that individuals who qualify for getting a guide dog are provided one with the right training so it is no more expensive than the regular upkeep of having an animal.