Guiding Eyes knows that every person who is blind is different from the next. So are we. We create a special partnership between each student and their guide dog – and support that partnership throughout their lives together.
Guiding Eyes is not one-size-fits-all; we celebrate each student’s individuality. We offer several flexible training options, including On-Campus Training on our Yorktown campus; Home Training for those unable to travel; Specialized Training for students who have additional challenges such as gait and balance issues, cognitive challenges, and hearing loss; and Running Guides for enhanced physical fitness. During each program, our instructors refine their training further to meet each student’s needs – doing whatever it takes to ensure success.
Guiding Eyes is a global leader in breeding and genetics. Our Breeding Program is built upon best-in-class analyses of genetic and behavioral data from every step of a dog’s life. From our reproduction/cryogenics lab where pups are conceived to the final years of a working, retired, or career-change dog’s life, Guiding Eyes chronicles millions of data points along the way, helping us improve the next generation of guide dogs with every new litter. Our Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd guide dogs are recognized as among the best in the field, known for their exceptional temperaments and success at helping people gain independence.
Dogs sent to the New York-based training school learn the concepts of guiding in small steps with each lesson building on previous lessons, and these skills are later proofed in a wide variety of environments and situations. Guide Dog Mobility Instructors develop a relationship with their dogs in training through a healthy balance of both work and play. The instructors typically train a dog for three to four months to get them ready for placement with a blind or visually impaired person.
A guide dog is ready for placement with a blind partner when the dog responds safely and reliably in all the work situations it will encounter while guiding, such as indicating changes in elevation, navigating around obstacles and being comfortable on all types of public transportation. We carefully match each guide dog with a blind partner based on walking speed, daily working environment (large city, small town, rural), and other critical factors including pull in the harness, control around distraction, and personality.
Guiding Eyes provides all services completely free of charge to people who are blind or with vision loss. At Guiding Eyes, we rely upon the contributions of our generous donors to fulfill our mission. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a Candid Platinum Seal of Transparency honoree, a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity, a GreatNonprofits Top-Rated and a four-star Charity Navigator Nonprofit. (Learn more about our Nonprofit Rating.)