Students travel to our Yorktown Heights, New York campus to participate in a 3-week, immersive program. Our training school facility is designed to be modern and comfortable – a home away from home as students train to become a guide dog handler.
Our modern dormitory has 18 single-occupancy rooms with doors that open onto an easily accessible corridor. The second door in each room leads outside. Each dorm room has a radio, TV, small fridge, telephone, and internet connectivity. They are also fully air-conditioned. Rooms are numbered with Braille and raised letter and number signage.
Students are assigned their dog on day 3 of training, a day affectionately known as “dog day.” Following dog day, the class travels to White Plains every day to give the new teams an opportunity to become familiar with a single environment and route as they learn to work with their new dog. Our field-training center in White Plains offers students access to real-life settings to enhance their training, such as a restaurant complete with booths – which doubles as our actual dining area.
As the training continues, students participate in workshops and lectures in the evenings to learn topics related to the care of their dog and legal rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state statutes.
In the final week of training, the class embarks on a trip to New York City to put their new skills to the test. The teams experience traveling by bus, subway, and train in a bustling city.
The program concludes with a graduation ceremony on the final Saturday of class. Family, friends, puppy raisers, and members of the community gather in our large Alumni Hall to celebrate the hard work of the class. Graduating teams have the opportunity to meet and connect with the volunteer puppy raisers who gave the guide dog its earliest training.
“This is an amazing organization with such a supportive and understanding staff. The building is very blind friendly – it feels so safe here. It really brought my comfort level up.”
-Kathleen and guide dog Henrietta
Yorktown Heights, New York
“I was blown away at how hands-on Guiding Eyes is, even supporting you after you graduate. I was a little nervous about traveling by plane to the school, but it’s such a welcoming environment when you get here, all that nervousness left me. Everyone – staff and classmates, have been very supportive.”
-Noble and guide dog Buckley
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
“Training has been phenomenal. It was just an exuberant feeling. We were patient with each other and really worked well together; it was just flawless. As an overall experience, Guiding Eyes is fabulous across the board. The food service, housekeeping, refreshments, you’re not wanting for anything. I’d never go anywhere else.”
-Harry and guide dog Hans
Pompano Beach, Florida