Class Overview

An Overview of our Instructional Protocol

Our trainers are experts at pairing students with the most compatible Guide Dog partner. Factors involved with this process are determined by a student’s gait, balance, temperament, home environment, and lifestyle.                   

The instruction for new student/Guide Dog teams will take place over a four-week period. If a student is already an experienced Guide Dog handler and in need of a Successor Dog, the instruction may be reduced. This decision will be determined between the student and the trainer. There will be no more than six students to a class.

Five individuals with Guide Dogs are standing together. A woman with a poodle, a man (seated) with a poodle, a man (standing) with a yellow lab, a man (seated) with a black lab, and a woman (standing) with a yellow Labrador. All dogs are wearing a Guide Dogs of the Desert harness.

Class Structure

 Instruction takes place six days a week, Monday through Saturday.  Through structured training with their Guide Dog, students begin the process of developing the Guide Dog team. Activities students are exposed to include: instruction in suburban and urban areas; highly congested environments like shopping malls; crossing streets and intersections; maneuvering obstacles from point A to point B; stopping at up and down curbs; right and left turns; and use of elevators and escalators. Students will have the opportunity to experience public transportation and sidewalk-less areas, nighttime routes, and the demands of a regional scale airport.

Not only will students be out working with their new Guide Dog, but they will need to attend lectures that are provided by the GDD trainers.

As one can imagine, a lot of energy and stamina is needed in order to be able to get through the rigors of class. So, we make Sundays a day of rest.

Upon successfully completing instruction, GDD hosts a ceremony for its graduating class. The students’ family and friends, puppy raiser volunteers, GDD donors, and local community members are all welcome to attend. 

A woman is sitting with a silver standard poodle to her left. The poodle is looking forward, and wearing a Guide Dogs of the Desert guide dog harness. The woman's face is pressed against the guide dog's head lovingly.

Post Graduate Support

Alumni success is very important to us.  We will make follow-up calls soon after you leave to make sure everything is going smoothly. We address issues and concerns as well as provide mentoring support throughout the lifetime of the Guide Dog team. 


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