Get a Guide Dog

Guide dogs are assistance dogs trained to guide and aid people who are blind or have low vision. The Guide Dog Foundation welcomes individuals who are blind, have low vision or other disabilities, 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. 

To qualify, applicants must reside in the USA or Canada and have a stable living arrangement.

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. 

We have currently suspended accepting new applications for Standard Poodles, which we breed for individuals with a medical need for a hypoallergenic dog.  After careful analysis of our current extended Poodle Guide Dog waiting list and our ability to produce Poodle Guide Dogs, we have made the decision to suspend accepting new applications. This suspension does not apply to applicants who have already been accepted into our Poodle Guide Dog program or returning Poodle Guide Dog clients.  At this time, we do not know the exact date that we will reopen applications for Poodles. 

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.  We carefully match and train a dog that’s right for each accepted applicant.  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. The Guide Dog Foundation is here to support individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

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.