A man walks with a yellow Labrador guide dog in harness on a sidewalk in a sunny day. Another man with a Leader Dog shirt follows behind them

Guide Dog Application Process

The application process typically takes 30 to 60 days and consists of a written application, including character references and medical information. We also require a short video demonstrating your independent travel skills within your home area. Once approved for a program, assignment to a class usually takes an additional 30 to 90 days.

Assisting you with your mobility needs is important to us. In order to begin your application review, all required items listed below must be completed and submitted to your client services coordinator. 

Application for Training

The application for training provides us with an overview of who you are, including where you live, your health, travel skills, education, employment, previous guide dog experience and references. Please provide as much information as possible for each section.

Please note, the application must be signed and dated by you and witnessed by one person.

Medical History and Vision Evaluation Forms

The medical history and vision evaluation forms should be completed by your physician and eye care professional. If you have health concerns that could complicate training, please make sure these concerns are stated clearly by your physician. Training, especially for the guide dog program, is demanding and requires several hours of walking and working with a dog each day.

Consent to Release Information

The waiver release of liability, indemnity and consent form allows us to contact the people listed on your application. All information is confidential and is not distributed outside of our organization.

This form also allows us to share information with other professionals selectively. For example, it allows us to supply a doctor’s office or hospital with your medical information if you are accepted for training at Leader Dog and need to see a doctor while you are here.

Video Demonstrating Independent Travel Skills

A video demonstrating your independent travel skills is required by our admissions committee and will assist us in assessing your skills and suitability for training. It will also help our instructors select the perfect dog match for you.

If you are unable to create your own video, please contact your local Lions club. If you need assistance contacting a Lions club, call us at 248.651.9011 or toll free at 888.777.5332.

Video Checklist

  • State your name, city, state and that you are applying to get a Leader Dog.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Cross intersections where there is traffic flow and traffic lights.
  • Travel in your workplace (if applicable).
  • Travel your daily route(s).
  • State the reason you are applying for a Leader Dog.
  • Keep the video under 15 minutes. We need to see what is listed above; no more, no less.

Videographer Guidelines

  • Show applicant walking toward and away from video camera.
  • Keep natural sounds on video (do not add music or sound effects).
  • Do not direct the applicant in any way unless his or her safety is in danger.

Acceptable Video Formats

  • DVD — If transferring a video to DVD, please use DVD creation software; do not send as a file. Ensure DVDs play in a machine other than the original video camera. Label video with the applicant's name and date of taping. DVDs may be mailed to: Leader Dogs for the Blind, Client Services Department, 1039 S. Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48307.
  • Dropbox — Upload .mp4 or .wmv file to your Dropbox account and provide a shared link to access the file via email to clientservices@leaderdog.org.
  • YouTube — Upload the video to your YouTube account, then email a shared link to clientservices@leaderdog.org (if you want your video to be available to us but not to the general public, change the privacy setting to "Unlisted").