Is A Guide Dog Right For You?


Our Guide Dog Program

Personalized Training

Guide Dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired become trusted companions that bring new opportunities for life experiences and social interaction, as well as greater confidence and independence.

These highly trained canines help our clients travel safely from one destination to the next, avoiding obstacles, stopping at elevation changes, and looking out for all oncoming traffic, and remembering 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.

Requirements

Our Guide Dog program might right for you if you meet the qualifications below:

  • Legally blind
  • At least 18 years of age, but no limits on upper age
  • Confident in your orientation and mobility skills
  • Able to navigate three or more routes independently
  • Ability to provide the appropriate exercise for a young and active dog
  • Financially able to appropriately care for a guide dog

Orientation and Mobility

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.

Where to Start

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.

Travel and Transportation

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.

3-Step Application Process

1. APPLICATION SUBMISSION

You will be asked 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. SELECTION 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.

Apply for a Guide Dog »

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.

Contact Us

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.