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 you will have the opportunity work with a potential dog match or two. Class travels to our lounge in White Plains, NY, where guide work basics are introduced or refreshed. Students will have the opportunity to experience guide work with a trained guide dog.
Day three is “dog day.” Dogs are issued in the morning, and you spend the rest of the day 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 and along the adjacent quiet country roads.
Following “dog day,” the class travels to White Plains every day, giving you the opportunity to become familiar with a single environment and route as you learn to work with your new dog.
Your first goal will be to learn to communicate and bond with your dog and begin to entrust it with your safety. 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.
During your final week of training you will experience the thrill of navigating New York City streets, and travel by bus, subway, and train.
Finally, you’ll have your photograph taken with your Guiding Eyes dog and graduate with your classmates in a Guiding Eyes’ signature graduation ceremony. This is our opportunity to honor you and the volunteer puppy raisers that gave your dog its earliest training.
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 extended trips or vacations for at least four weeks.