Guide Dog Training

Once our certified guide dog mobility instructors have a clear understanding of a client’s mobility goals (several months prior to class), they carefully match and work with a dog to meet that person’s specific needs in locations relevant to their home and/or work environments.  When the dogs are ready, and the applicant has been accepted into the program, they will be invited to attend our comprehensive two-week training program held at our campus in Smithtown, New York.  Home training is available if it is determined that a client's needs are best met by this type of training.  Such a decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

  • Each student will receive individualized training relevant to their home environment and lifestyle.  This can include anything from building work, leash guiding, navigating city streets, country roads, hiking trails, suburban neighborhoods and anywhere else that best "approximates" their home environment.  

  • Training incorporates the use of positive reinforcement training techniques such as food reward and clicker training.  Food reward provides a way for students and their dogs to quickly bond once they are matched together during class.  Both techniques also assist in custom training scenarios such as targeting and locating objects such as elevators, stairs, doors, etc. 

  • Students will also participate in various educational workshops on grooming and care for their dog, obedience, accessibility awareness and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as assistance dog etiquette.

  • After completing the training program, the student will be a part of a graduation where they can meet their dog's raisers and/or sponsor.

  • Additional follow-up training is available if necessary once a client returns home with their new dog.

Course Lectures and Dog Equipment

The Guide Dog Foundation will provide all required training lectures.  Each lecture is available in a Microsoft Word, text, or Mp3 formats.  All dog equipment including collar, harness, leash, grooming supplies, and one year's worth of heartworm and flea and tick preventative will be provided at no cost.  A small bag of food will also be provided.

Program Support

Our graduates and their dogs are provided a lifetime of aftercare support. 

Apply for a guide dog

Click Apply Now  to begin the application process.