Guide Dog Application Overview

Applying to GDD for a Guide Dog

Applying for a Guide Dog is a life-changing step. Guide Dogs of the Desert is excited that you are interested in obtaining your dog from our school. We want to learn more about your goals, desires and lifestyle. The application process will help us do just that. In turn, we will help you understand the realities and responsibilities for preparing for class and managing and caring for a Guide Dog.

Here are the steps involved in the application process:

  1. Submit Your Application

Complete and submit the application form below. Successor Dog applicants follow the same process as our first-time applicants. If you experience any problems or issues please call our Admissions Team at 760-329-2381 or email them at  and they will assist you.

  1. Phone Consultation

Upon receiving and reviewing your application we will set up an informal phone consultation with you which could take up to one hour. During this consultation we will inquire about information provided in the application in addition to requesting information on your travel routes (be prepared to discuss them), your lifestyle, health status, and motivation for getting a Guide Dog. This will also be a chance to ask any questions you may have about the program. At the conclusion of the consultation, information on the next steps of the application process will be shared with you including:

  • Filing out a “Release of Information” (ROI) form which allows us to request information from your listed contacts.
  • Providing medical reports from your eye doctor and physician.
  • Providing assessments from Blind Rehabilitation and O&M professionals.
  • Providing three personal references.
  • Providing a personal introduction video and travel skills video.

If you have experience with other Guide Dog schools, we will likely contact them for additional information. These necessary additions will aid in our assessing your readiness for our training program.

Please note: The Admissions Department may deny acceptance to our school at any time during the application process.

  1. Formal Interview

Once the “ROI”, professional and personal references, and your videos are received and processed, we will schedule a formal phone interview with you. During this hour-long conversation, we will dive deeper into the information provided by these supplemental forms and videos. Together we will compile an overview profile of you to be presented to the selection committee.

  1. Selection Committee Assessment

The selection committee is made up of our staff Guide Dog Mobility Instructors (GDMIs), and O&M and Blind Rehabilitation Specialists. They will review your application materials, assess your demonstrated skill to travel independently and any additional factors that can contribute toward selecting the best dog for you.

  1. Approval Notification

When there is a decision on your application, we will notify you by phone of the committee’s findings.

Upon acceptance, class confirmation is first dependent upon identifying the most compatible dog companion for your needs among the dogs next available in their final phase of training. Gender, canine size, pace and personality will vary as well.

For applicants that do not meet eligibility requirements, we can review the committee’s suggestions and work with you to pursue skill development and services for possible future reassessment or recommend more appropriate avenues to achieve your desire for independent mobility with a Guide Dog.

  1. Class Scheduling

Once a compatible partnership is identified, class slots are filled for the next scheduled class term and students are informed at least one month before the start of class. The necessary travel, training and class information will be sent to you at that time.

We are here for you through every step of the application process to help you realize your goal of obtaining mobility, companionship, and independence with a certified Guide Dog.

Thank You to Our Partners & Sponsors

Berger Foundation
The Auen Foundation

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Guide Dogs of the Desert | California