Every seven minutes someone in America becomes legally blind or visually impaired.

Guide Dog Training

Thank you for your interest in Guide Dogs Of the Desert. In order to be eligible for a guide dog, you must be legally blind, (20/200). For more information regarding legal blindness, please go to AFB.org

You must also be able to take care of your health care needs; and it is also suggested that you have training in orientation and mobility. Other requirements are that you be fifteen years of age or older, be independent, and emotionally stable. You should be able to walk for one hour two times a day, although special needs are taken in to consideration.

After completing an application with Guide Dogs Of the Desert, the applicant is contacted to schedule a personal interview. If the applicant lives outside the southwester region of the United States a video of mobility skills and home environment will be required. When everything has been submitted, (including primary physician's report, eye report, video, and reference questionnaires) , you will receive confirmation by phone, and a student packet will be sent containing an acceptance letter, student contracts, and information regarding your stay at the school.

If you are a student receiving a dog for the first time you are required by law to stay at the school for 28 days

For those who have had a dog before, you may ask about our in/home training which GDD is proud to be able to offer.

While training at the school you will learn to walk with your dog in light residential areas, heavily traveled areas with traffic, cross streets, ride buses and light rail, walk sidewalkless, walk through buildings, use stairways, elevators, and escolators, eat at restaurants, and finally take a trip on a plane to Arizona. Classes may also go to the beach when time permits

We have a very low student/instructor ration 3;1 which allows students to have more one on one training. All students receive a specially trained dog matched to their personal needs, and the equipment needed free of charge. The only cost to the student is transportation to and from the area. Someone will be able to transport from the airport to the school.

While staying at the school, you will have a private room with a shared bathroom. Many times however, the classes are small and you might not have to share it.

There is a family room with TV, microwave, and refrigerator. There is also a computer room with Zoomtext and Jaws installed for accessibility. You may also bring your own computer as these rooms are also wireless.

Meals are prepared and served in a dining room with a family-like setting. Dietary needs should be discussed ahead of time to ensure that for those who need a special diet, the requirements are met.

Finally at the end of the 28-day stay, and lots of hard work guide dog teams and the puppy raisers meet in what is a very emotional day. Graduation is held in an auditorium which is filled with family members, puppy raisers, first time visitors, and people who support the school.

Guide Dogs of the Desert also provides follow-up services throughout the life of each guide dog team, along with support after retirement of the dog.

We hope that you will continue your process of applying with Guide Dogs of the Desert.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information regarding our school

You may contact:
Linda Samulski
Outreach and Student Services Coordinator
760-329-6257 x262 or at lsamulski@gddca.org
for more information on our training program.