Deaf-Blind Guide Dog Training

An older woman stands outside on a sidewalk with her yellow lab Leader Dog on her left. She holds the harness with her right hand while holding her left hand around the hand of the man next to her, a Leader Dog instructor signing in American Sign Lanuage

In 1992, Leader Dog became the first organization to provide guide dogs specifically trained for clients who are both deaf and blind. Instruction is provided via American Sign Language, either tactile or visual, based on a client’s range of vision.

A guide dog working with a person who is Deaf-Blind must be extremely mature. Their training stresses partner awareness because they receive all commands from their handler via hand signals. Much attention is placed on traffic awareness and proper street crossings since these can be extreme safety issues for people who are Deaf-Blind.

Clients applying for this program must meet all requirements for guide dog clients, plus demonstrate a proper method of crossing a street including the use of message cards, taped message device, human assistance or functional remaining vision.

Clients may speak with a guide dog mobility instructor via videophone by emailing their appointment request to clientservices@leaderdog.org. Please put “Videophone Appointment Request” in the subject line.

Application Overview