Is A Guide Dog Right For You?


Our Highly Trained Canines

Our guide dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired become trusted companions, bringing new opportunities for life experiences and social interaction. These highly trained canines help our clients travel safely from one destination to the next, avoid obstacles, stop at changes in elevation and for all oncoming traffic, and they can remember common routes.

Finding the right partner, forming a strong bond, and maintaining a solid support system are the keys to a successful guide dog partnership. You might fit the requirements of our guide dog program if you are:

  • Legally blind.
  • At least 18 years of age.
  • Confident in your orientation and mobility skills.*
  • Able to navigate three or more routes independently.
  • Healthy enough to provide the appropriate exercise for a young, intelligent, active dog.
  • Financially able to appropriately care for a guide dog.

*What is Orientation and Mobility

person, cane, guide dog

Orientation and mobility is training that visually impaired individuals receive that helps them confidently navigate the world. O&M focuses on things like sensory awareness, spatial concepts, relationships which exist between objects in the environment, searching skills, independent movement, sighted guide, protective techniques and cane skills. Every potential GDA student must submit an O&M evaluation before being accepted into our program.

Watch along as Guide Dogs of America student Jill Anderson talks about her blindness and her first day on campus at Guide Dogs of America.

Student Application Process

The application process has three phases:

1. APPLICATION SUBMISSION

A completed application must be submitted, along with reports from a physician, eye doctor, and, in most cases, an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. In some cases, Guide Dogs of America consults with an applicant’s medical and personal references for advice in evaluating a prospective student.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, but there is no upper age limit. The application includes questions related to the following: personal and family information, housing information including ability to provide an appropriate home environment for a guide dog, past guide dog experience, financial ability to provide necessary food and medical care for a guide dog, and the general conditions under which the guide dog will be working.

2. INTERVIEW

After we receive the completed application forms, an instructor will contact the applicant for an interview. If the interview is conducted over the telephone, we will request that the applicant record a short video of their independent travel in their home area.

3. GDA’S SELECTION COMMITTEE EVALUATION

All applications are evaluated and discussed by GDA’s Selection Committee, which is made up of staff from the administration, training, and admissions departments. Accepted applicants will be placed in the next available class, provided there is a dog match. Accepted applicants with special requirements or requests may have to wait a longer period of time.

Travel Arrangements: Guide Dogs of America will provide round-trip transportation to clients accepted to the school. The two airports in the Los Angeles area are Burbank, which is closest to the school, and LAX, a large, international airport.

The contact person for Admissions and Graduate Services is Greg Steinmetz. To request an application packet for admission, please call (818) 833-6428, or email us at admissions@guidedogsofamerica.org.


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