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Guide Dog Program Options

We understand that our clients' abilities, circumstances and the ways they learn are different. That’s why we offer a variety of free training options, so our life-changing programs can be tailored to meet each client’s needs at every stage of life.

When applying for a guide dog, please indicate the guide dog training option(s) that you are interested in. While preferences will be taken into consideration, they cannot be guaranteed. If you are approved for training, we will work with you to determine the method of training that is the best fit for you.

On-Campus Training

This three-week residential training takes place at Leader Dog’s campus. It takes advantage of time away from home distractions to help solidify client skills, understanding of working concepts and bonding with a new dog.

  • Most popular option with shortest wait time
  • Most comprehensive, covering city, suburban, small town, rural and indoor environments
  • Most amount of time training alongside guide dog mobility instructors
  • Clients receive support from and share experiences with fellow clients in class
  • In-house orientation and mobility support is available if needed
  • Past clients always say the food is great

In-Home Delivery

A guide dog mobility instructor travels to the client’s home environment to provide one-on-one tailored instruction. Training duration is up to 10 days.

  • Clients can continue to care for their families and fulfill some work commitments during evening hours
  • Focuses on client's standard routes to work, school, medical appointments, etc.
  • Works around personal and/or family health issues


Combines the benefits of on-campus training and in-home delivery for maximum flexibility.

  • Provides a solid foundation of training
  • Personal follow-up in home environment
  • Allows clients to train in family and work situations


This three-week training takes place at Leader Dog’s campus or in a client’s home area and is specifically for clients who are DeafBlind. Communication method is American Sign Language (ASL), either visual or tactile, depending on client needs. 

A guide dog working with a person who is DeafBlind is selected to match each client's environmental needs. Leader Dogs in the DeafBlind program receive all commands from their handler via hand signals.

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 remaining functional vision. 

If DeafBlind training may be right for you, you may schedule a video call with a guide dog mobility instructor using American Sign Language by emailing their appointment request to clientservices@leaderdog.org. Please put "ASL appointment request" in the subject line.

The DeafBlind program may include the following depending on the client’s needs: 

  • City, suburban, small town, rural and indoor environments 
  • Small class sizes with one-to-one or two-to-one client/instructor ratio 
  • A Leader Dog that is dual-trained to lead and respond to sounds (if a dual trained dog is something you desire, please include this in your inquiry/application.) 
  • Personal follow-up in home environment if needed 

Adaptive Services

At Leader Dogs for the Blind, the needs of each client drive their individualized training. Some clients’ needs include hearing loss, loss of use of a hand or arm, uneven gait when walking or cognitive changes due to traumatic brain injury. The Adaptive services team seeks to meet individual’s needs using specific instruction techniques with a lower client-to-instructor ratio. This training may occur in the typical class setting or in a client’s home area.

This adaptive services team includes instructors who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), have a background in counseling or have a solid background working with, and training dogs for, people with needs in addition to visual impairment.

Some examples of ways we are able to adapt training include:

  • Train a dog to work on the right side for someone who has experienced a stroke, has a prosthetic hand or has lost a limb
  • Identify and train a sturdy dog for someone with an uneven gait due to cerebral palsy that can offer a little counterbalance and be easier to control
  • Provide one-on-one instruction at a gradual pace for someone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury

If you feel you may benefit from this training model, please contact Client Services at clientservices@leaderdog.org and write “Adaptive Services” in the subject line.

Still Have Questions Before You Apply?

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