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Training Programs

If you decide to apply to Guiding Eyes for a guide dog, you will be considered for one of four personalized programs:

  • Residential Training Program at the Yorktown Heights, NY, Training Center.
  • Special Needs Program for people with disabilities in addition to blindness, such as hearing loss or orthopedic problems, at the Yorktown Heights, NY, Training Center.
  • ACTION Program for experienced guide dog users over an abbreviated time period, at the Training Center followed by a brief home portion.
  • Home Training Program for individuals with extenuating circumstances preventing them from coming to the Training Center.

Here you can learn more about each program.

Residential Training Program

  • 21-day program held 12 times a year.
  • Training experiences in rural, suburban, and urban settings.
  • Small class sizes with highly individualized instruction (a typical class has up to 12 students with a Supervisor and two Instructors).

Action Program (Accelerated Client Training Option)

  • Unique training program for experienced guide dog users.
  • ACTION students begin training with Residential Program students, staying with the group as students receive their dogs.
  • 10 days of one-on-one training with a senior Instructor.
  • Home portion of 2 to 5 days of instruction with Guiding Eyes training staff. Time varies based on your individual needs.

Special Needs Program

Guiding Eyes for the Blind was the first guide dog school to establish a dedicated Special Needs Program. Since the program’s inception in 1990, we have successfully graduated blind individuals who also have cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, balance problems, or hearing impairments, including individuals who are deaf-blind and communicate by American Sign Language.

  • Special Needs Programs run at the same time as the Residential Training Programs.
  • There are never more than two Special Needs students in a class.
  • Dedicated Special Needs Instructors provide extensive, individualized instruction.
  • Guiding Eyes dogs for Special Needs students receive additional training to support the specific needs of each student.
  • Special Needs students live in the dormitories with the Residential Training students and join them for meals and other social events.

Home Training Program

This program is for people who are unable to travel to the Training Center and have had previous guide dog experience.

  • 10- to 15-day program based on your daily home routine.
  • Exception based on need and ability can be made.

Note: Although being trained in your home sounds like it would be ideal for everyone, Guiding Eyes’ experience shows that new, first time guide dog users do best with the 21-day Residential Program.

Applying For a Guiding Eyes Dog

You are eligible for a Guiding Eyes dog if you are:

  • Legally blind
  • At least 16 years old
  • Able to travel independently with a white cane
  • Ready and willing to be responsible for a Guiding Eyes dog.

If you think you meet these criteria and are interested, we invite you to apply.

For more information, contact the Admissions Department:

800-942-0149 ext. 2222