Get a Guide Dog

The Guide Dog Foundation welcomes people who are blind or visually impaired into our community.  From our compassionate and skilled instructors, to our exceptional dogs, to our meticulously constructed curriculum, we support our students and graduates with an uncompromising commitment to excellence.  In order to apply for a guide dog, applicants must be legally blind and can demonstrate the need for a guide dog to help them remain safe and effective in their everyday travel.  We also look for clients that can independently travel practical and purposeful routes with their current mobility device. 

Our Dogs

Guide Dog Foundation dogs learn how to lead a person in a straight line, find and follow a clear path, maneuver around obstacles (both on the ground and overhead), and stop at changes in elevation, such as curbs and stairs.  They are also trained to be extremely well behaved when in public places.  We use Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador/Golden crosses.  Standard Poodles are available for individuals or their immediate family member's with documented allergies.  However, there is an extended wait time for this breed.   

Matching Process

The decision to work with a guide dog is a transformational event that extends into every area of a handler's life.  It’s crucial that each student is teamed with a dog that best suits that person’s mobility, personality, lifestyle, and physical needs.  As each applicant is accepted to our training program, we carefully match and train a dog that’s right for them.  Once matched, students will attend our innovative two-week training program with a 2:1 student/instructor ratio, which allows for a blend of customized training formats to meet a student's goals and objectives.


On a case-by-case basis, we offer cross-trained guide dogs to perform service dog tasks through the help of our related service dog organization America's VetDogs.  These service dog tasks can be added to a training program for qualified students.  Tasks can include providing balance, retrieval and hearing assistance.  

While you're here

To make your stay as comfortable as possible during the two-week in-residence training program, the on-campus Student Residence Hall offers single rooms with private baths and individual climate control.  Free Wi-Fi is available as well as laundry facilities.

  • Our formally trained chef provides meals while meeting special dietary requirements.  

  • When you are accepted to the guide dog training program, the Foundation will cover all expenses including travel to and from your home to our campus in Smithtown, NY. 

  • Take an online tour of our campus HERE.

What to Bring

Depending on the time of year when you attend class, we recommend that you bring season appropriate clothes, at least one pair of good walking shoes, and rain gear.

Characteristics for Success

Learn about the characteristics that will help you become a successful guide dog handler.    

Apply for a guide dog

Click Apply Now  to begin the application process.