Home Training

Our Home Training program is for students who are unable to travel to our Yorktown Heights campus due to work or personal obligations at home. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) travels to the student’s home with their guide dog. Training will be conducted in the home environment for an average of 12 days depending on the student’s experience working with a guide dog. While the instructor stays at a local hotel during the training period, the dog resides immediately at the student’s home.

 

Home Training students who work may opt to take a few days off at the beginning stage of training. Many students arrange to work shorter days for the first few days back at work to further help the dog acclimate and give themselves more time to devote to training. This can be discussed with their instructor in advance.

guide and handler at top of outdoor stairs

"It started when my family watched from the window and excitedly described her arrival..."

-Payman and guide dog Yetta
oceanfront walk for black Lab and handler

The first day the GDMI and dog arrive is considered Day 1 of training. Most students do not work the dog on the day of arrival. Instead, they take the time to get the dog acclimated and relaxed. 

 

The first routes with the dog will be easy walks to nearby destinations or a stretch of sidewalk or bike path, depending on the environment. Later, the training will progress to more demanding environments or routes. The student will also revisit previously learned routes and destinations, ensuring the dog retains them.

Home training is extremely flexible based on the handler’s needs, with a concentration on the areas and types of environments that the team will work in most often. If time permits, the team may cover other ideas. Training does take place in inclement weather, but we do not ask the team to work in extreme conditions that we wouldn’t want a dog to be out in.

 

By the time training is finished, the team will have seen their most important routes and destinations several times, and they are well on the way to building a close relationship.

Handler with gray beard in brimmed hat at crossing walk button pole

"Here was this dog I’d barely met the day before, and he guided me off the sidewalk to avoid the overhead branches I have been walking into almost every day. Then he steered me right back and we continued on. I was brought to tears."

-Mark and guide dog Elvis