Guide Dog Foundation

Our Programs

Guide Dog Foundation Program Admission Information

*Before completing the Application Request Form, please review the following Program Admission Information to determine if you are eligible.*   

Who is eligible to apply to the Guide Dog Foundation?  

Anyone 16 years old and older who are classified as legally or totally blind, who have successfully completed O & M training and are considered safe travelers by a qualified O & M instructor.  (O & M = Orientation and Mobility) Some exceptions to residency are considered on a case by case basis. 

What are the responsibilities of someone who receives a guide dog from the Guide Dog Foundation?  

Clients must be able to attend a two week residential training program and be able to follow through with the in-home and public training process. They must be committed to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the duration of the team and to provide for the well-being of the dog (veterinary care, proper grooming, exercise, etc.; approximately $75.00 per month).  It is advisable to research yearly veterinary, grooming and feeding costs in your specific area prior to applying for a guide dog.  The Guide Dog Foundation provides full training support and after-care for all its graduate teams.   

What kind of Guide Dogs does the Guide Dog Foundation provide?  

Guide Dogs for those who are blind or visually impaired   

Wheelchair Guides for people who are blind or visually impaired and use electric wheelchairs. 

What types of dogs are used?  

For the most part, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retriever’s and crosses of the two breeds are utilized. Some Standard Poodles are available for individuals with documented allergies, however at this time we are not accepting applications for Poodles at this time due to the high demand.

All Guide Dog Foundation dogs pass specialized health and temperament screenings to be eligible for training. 

How old are the dogs when they are matched?  

Dogs are approximately 14 to 24 months old.  

What does a guide dog or wheelchair guide do to help his/her partner?  

Guide Dogs help their partners safely navigate busy streets and intersections by working in a straight line, point A to point B pattern.  The dogs will stop at changes in elevation and move around obstacles on that path as necessary.  Dogs do NOT read traffic or determine when it is safe to cross a street.  It is the blind handler’s responsibility to decide when it is safe to cross and give the dog the appropriate command.  The human handler also determines the route the team will be taking and gives the dog direction on where they will go.  

Can the Guide Dog Foundation train a client’s own dog to be their Guide Dog?  

No. The Guide Dog Foundation has an extensive breeding program that assures dogs accepted into the program have the health, temperament and ability to be guide dogs.  

What if I have other pets in my home? 

The instructors will make a decision on a case by case basis if it is feasible to place a guide dog in your household with your other pets.   

How long is the waiting list for a Guide Dog?   

3 months to one year (those who need wheelchair guides or specific breeds may be longer). 

How much does it cost?   

Although it costs over $50,000 to train and place a guide dog, All of our services, including   transportation to, and accommodations at, our NY center, are provided at no cost due to the extraordinary generosity of public contributions.  

What types of team training do you provide? 

The Foundation offers a two-week residential training program at our campus is Smithtown, NY, or home training. Home training is where an instructor works with a client for two weeks in their home area if it is determined that a student's needs will best be met by this type of intensive training; this decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

I completed the application request form, but haven’t been contacted.  Why?  

Due to the large number of requests for Guide Dogs, the Guide Dog Foundation will respond to your application request within 15 business days. Only qualified applicants with receive a detailed program application. 

If you have read and understand the admission program information, please click the following button to proceed:

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