From meeting your guide dog to building and becoming a team, the student experience at Guiding Eyes is both exciting and challenging. That’s why our facility at Yorktown Heights is designed to be modern and comfortable − your home away from home as you train to become a guide dog user.
Arrival day is all about getting to know your classmates and some of our staff members. Instructors will assist you in getting acclimated to the school, your room, and our facilities, and you’ll be oriented in the technology available to you during training.
Day two is “Dog Day.” Dogs are issued in the morning, and the rest of the day includes bonding with your new dog and taking the time to get to know one another. Training begins at a low-key pace at the Training Center, along adjacent streets and in town.
In the days that follow, the class travels to our lounge in the city of White Plains, as well as smaller local towns, giving you the opportunity to become familiar with varying environments and routes as you learn to work with your new dog.
Your first goal will be to learn to communicate and bond with your dog. As you master your skills and become comfortable with your dog, instructors take you to progressively busier areas with increasing challenges, such as stores, elevators, and escalators. Most of your training time is spent in outdoor environments, working with your guide dog and your Instructor.
Workshops on such topics as grooming your dog, veterinary care, feeding and caring, and your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state statutes are an important component of Guiding Eyes training.
Graduation is the culmination of training for our guide dog teams. Graduation ceremonies, whether virtual or in-person, celebrate newly matched guide dog teams and are an opportunity for puppy raisers, volunteers, donors, and supporters to share in the celebration.
One of the distinctions of Guiding Eyes is that graduates are given the contact information of all raisers involved with their dog and are encouraged to get in touch. Quite often, graduates and raisers develop a friendship that can last a lifetime.
The bonding process with your Guiding Eyes dog continues as you return home. In order for your dog to become comfortable in its new surroundings, it’s important that you return to your home after training and do not plan any trips or vacations for an extended period of time.