GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION INTRODUCES TWO-WEEK CLASS FORMAT  

March 2014 – Smithtown, NY – The Guide Dog Foundation is excited to announce it will now offer its accredited guide dog training in a two-week program. Beginning in February 2014, this new curriculum will offer a 2:1 student/instructor ratio and will focus on incorporating a blend of customized training formats to meet the specific lifestyles and needs of students while maximizing the training time in class for students and their dogs as they prepare for real-world situations. 

“We are implementing this new approach in order to meet the needs of our blind and visually impaired applicants while also being respectful of our students’ time to commit to training with a guide dog,” says Wells B. Jones, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation. “This is an exciting change for the program. Our students will graduate with their dog in a shorter amount of time while gaining the real-world training targeted specifically to their lifestyles.”

The hallmark of the Guide Dog Foundation is its meticulous matching program to ensure that each applicant is teamed with the guide dog that best suits that person’s personality, lifestyle, and physical needs. This refined training program will now offer greater individualized training in concentrated sessions. While the student will spend fewer days on campus, the amount of practical training will increase. This represents a change from the Foundation’s previous four-week residential training. 

In addition, because of the lower student-to-trainer ratio, students and instructors will be able to cover their specific needs pertaining to their home environments by focusing on various training walks (urban, country and night walks); mass transit situations, including train platforms, subway, and bus travel; traffic area training and other types of conditions. 

Students in class will continue to participate in lectures on grooming and care for their dog, obedience practice, accessibility awareness and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and guide dog etiquette for non-guide dog users.

The Foundation will still offer home training if it is determined that a student’s needs will be best met by this type of intensive training; this decision is made on a case-by-case basis. 

For questions about the guide dog training program visit www.GuideDog.org or contact the Guide Dog Foundation Consumer Services Office at 866-282-8047. 

About the Guide Dog Foundation

For 70 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or who have other special needs.  The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but the Guide Dog Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  

The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

To learn more or to donate, visit www.GuideDog.org.