Training Goals

Guide Dogs of America’s goal is to enrich and inspire our clients’ lives and help them live without boundaries.

Training Philosophy

Our dogs are trained with a well-balanced blend of reinforcement that promotes the optimal relationship with their human partners.

Training Methodology

In the early stages of training, our dogs are patterned for a variety of responses.  We use positive reinforcement to shape desirable behaviors.  Our guide dog companions are trained to work with their human partners as a team to:

  • Safely and confidently travel from one destination to the next;
  • Stop at changes in elevation; and
  • Avoid obstacles in their path.

As training progresses, we allow our dogs to learn through self-exploration and self-discovery.  This builds motivation and confidence for good decision-making. As all guide dogs will need to make choices and decisions based on the environment around them, we emphasize and encourage good decisions and discourage poor or inappropriate ones.

About Our Instructors

Guide Dogs of America’s qualified instructors meet or exceed the standards set by the International Guide Dog Federation. Before qualifying to be a guide dog mobility instructor, our trainers complete a three-year apprenticeship and undergo a rigorous evaluation and testing process at GDA. We also require that they complete yearly continuing education courses in blindness, mobility, or care and training of dogs.