Determining someone is eligible for a Guide Dog essentially comes down to the ability to handle the multiple skills and demands involved in being an active member of a Guide Dog team.

Legal blindness and independent Orientation & mobility skills are key qualifications. Learn more about additional. criteria below.

Age & Location

Applicants must be 18 years of age, legally blind, and reside in the United States. 

Orientation & Mobility Skills

Students must have confident Orientation & Mobility skills (in practice for one year) that are implemented in environments outside the home on a routine basis. These routines should be able to be enhanced by working with a Guide Dog.  

At the onset of our process, we require applicants to provide at least three purposeful mobility routes they currently use and and will continue to use after training. These routes give us an idea of their level of independence and motivation. They also aid in the transition back home after initial training to provide sufficient work for  a new Guide Dog.

Physical Requirements

Students must have the physical stamina for walking at least one mile on a routine basis.​ An eligible student will also need to possess the necessary strength to manage an appropriately matched Guide Dog.

This can include having the necessary motor skills, range of motion, reflexes, flexibility and coordination to work with the dog. They must have the ability to maintain balance while negotiating curbs and steps, traveling over varied surfaces, managing the guide’s behavior and executing the body movements required when completing turns and following the Guide Dog.

Judging Traffic

Students need to have the ability to judge traffic audibly  in order to enhance a safe working relationship with a Guide Dog.​


Students should have a clean, settled living and working environment conducive to the safe and effective use and care of a Guide Dog.​

Care of a Guide Dog

Student should have the capability of independently providing for the care and financial support of a Guide Dog. This includes but is not limited to routine care, medical expenses, emergencies and illnesses. 

Understanding of Public Response

Students should be aware that a Guide Dog will draw interest and attention from the public, in a way that a white cane does not.​ 


Students must have truthfully and accurately represented themselves throughout the application process.​

Training Willingness

Students must have a willingness to learn and apply techniques for the responsible handling and care of a Guide Dog.​

Guide Dogs of the Desert is an equal opportunity employer and school. We consider applications for all positions and guide dog mobility training, without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status. 

Have more questions? Let us know!

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