Toyota GB proudly presents Banjo, one of four puppies who’ll be supported by the company throughout their guide dog training. Toyota GB has a two-year partnership with the Guide Dogs charity, as part of its aim to improve mobility for all. The new puppy, a seven week old Golden Retriever x Labrador dog called Banjo, is introduced in a new film showing him starting his training at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre in Bishop’s Tachbrook, Leamington.

It costs £41,000 to train a guide dog and just over £55,000 to support a guide dog throughout its working life.

Funds raised by Toyota GB will provide life-long support for Banjo and will also support the training of three other guide dog puppies named Genchi, Poppy and Elsie, who were all named by Toyota staff. Banjo’s name was chosen through a Toyota social media campaign: the ToyotaWorldPup.

Guide dog puppies like Banjo spend a week of socialisation and habituation at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre. This is a really important part of their journey to become fully-fledged guide dogs, as well socialised pups are typically happier, friendlier, and more predictable and are better able to handle stress. The puppies are introduced to a range of different visual, auditory and tactile stimuli and also interact with a variety of different people and explore their surroundings, indoors and outdoors. They are also handled and stroked with different textured materials and play with soft, hard and noisy toys. They also hear different sounds such as washing machines, phones, radio, TV, alarm clocks, keys jangling and bags rustling, so they become desensitised to everyday sounds.

The puppies also enjoy lots of play with their siblings and after a week at the breeding centre they join a puppy walker to become acclimatised to everyday life until they are ready to start their guide dog training at 12 – 14 months of age. At two years of age most guide dogs are ready to be matched with someone living with sight loss. Guide Dogs have a very high success rate in training and placing guide dogs, however, inevitably a few dogs prove to be unsuitable for being a guide dog and these may go on to become other types of assistance dogs.

Toyota GB plans further films to illustrate Banjo’s journey.


Note to editors:

About Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs is a national charity that provides mobility, freedom and independence to people who are blind and partially sighted. The organisation has been expertly breeding and training guide dogs for more than 85 years, supplying many thousands of dogs to people of all ages and from all walks of life. The charity also delivers confidence-building rehabilitation services to adults, young people and children, including long cane mobility training and life skills development.

About Toyota GB’s partnership with Guide Dogs

Toyota and its staff members have been raising funds for and awareness of Guide Dogs’ work in a range of events including a cross-Channel bike ride, a marathon walk, a hike by company directors along Hadrian’s Wall and even a ‘Song for Guide Dogs’ choir. So far the company has raised more than £120,000 – enough to cover the cost of 65 guide dog “mobility years”. Toyota GB has also provided Guide Dogs with a new Auris Touring Sports to use in its work helping people with sight loss across the UK. The partnership will continue into 2019.



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  • Banjo is a Golden Retriever x Labrador

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  • A trained guide dog at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre

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  • To support Banjo throughout his working life will cost in excess of £55,000

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  • Toyota GB will follow Banjo's training development

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