Service Dogs • Guide Dogs • Disability Services • Blind Services • Visual Impairment Services
The hallmark of the Guide Dog Foundation is its meticulous matching program to ensure that each applicant is teamed with the guide dog that best suits that person’s personality, lifestyle, and physical needs. The accredited two-week guide dog training program occurs on campus in Smithtown, NY and offers a 2:1 student/instructor ratio and focuses on incorporating a blend of customized training formats.
Students in class will also participate in lectures on grooming and care for their dog, obedience practice, accessibility awareness and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and guide dog etiquette for non-guide dog users.
Upon completion of training, the newly created human and guide dog team returns home to start their new life together. All students and their dogs are guaranteed a lifetime of aftercare.
- Must be 16 years old and older.
- For those who are classified as legally or totally blind.
- Must have successfully completed O & M (Orientation and Mobility) training and are considered safe travelers by a qualified O & M instructor.
- This service is free
- Adults accepted
- Seniors accepted
How to Apply
Complete the online Application Request Form.
If the prospective applicant has met the criteria, and decides that a guide dog may be the right choice for them, an application packet is sent out within 15 days. If they are unsure about getting a dog, additional information on the program is sent (if they are interested). For those who still need Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training, Guide Dog Foundation will provide a list of agencies in their area that offers this training.
Once the Consumer Services Department has received the completed Request an Application Form, staff will contact you. In addition, the Guide Dog Foundation requires:
- three personal references
- a reference from your Orientation & Mobility instructor
- an eye report from your ophthalmologist
- a medical report filled out by your physician
A decision on your application will be made once the Consumer Services Department receives all of these completed forms as well as the references, and after an interview is conducted.
For approved candidates, the wait list to receive a dog is 3 to 12 months.
For additional questions, please call 1-800-548-4337.