Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 14:21 UK

Guide dog school officially opens

Guide dog on outdoor obstacle course
The guide dogs will get used to different pavements and hazards

A world-class guide dog training school has been officially opened in Forfar.

Dogs will come to the new centre at about one year old for initial training before going out to teams around the UK for finishing touches.

There is an outdoor area where dogs can get used to different paving types, traffic lights and obstacles such as bollards, road signs and even a puddle. An indoor section will allow obstacle and agility equipment to be set up for the animals when the weather is bad.

Operators of the centre have said that the design of the kennels is also innovative.

They are set in an "L" shape so that the dogs can see and interact with each other and staff.

The official opening has been carried out by HRH Princess Alexandra.

Guide Dogs chief executive Bridget Warr said: "This is a fantastic day for Guide Dogs as we celebrate the opening of our world-class guide dog training school that supports our position as a world-leader in the breeding and training of guide dogs.

Guide dog indoor training hall
The dogs are also given obstacle and agility training indoors

"We also cement our commitment to Angus, and thank Forfar and its residents for all the support they have given us in our 43 years of training guide dogs here.

"Guide Dogs' top priority for the future is to improve and expand the guide dog service so that it is accessible to everyone who could benefit from a guide dog, in Scotland and across the UK.

"The Guide Dog Training School in Forfar will play a huge and important role in this for many years to come."

Guide dogs are in constant demand as their working life is only about six years and an owner could have about seven dogs during their lifetime.

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