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Guide Dog Training: Focus on the Phases

Tuesday November 21, 2023

Three guide dog mobility instructors crossing a street with guide dogs in training.

People often ask about the process of training a guide dog at Guide Dogs for the Blind. How do you train a guide dog to work with someone who is blind or visually impaired? What type of training do they undergo? Do they have to pass a test? 

In our five-part blog series, Focus on the Phases, we give you an inside look at the specific skills guide dogs learn and explore the various stages of the guide dog training process at GDB. Follow the links below to learn more about the journey to becoming a guide dog. 

Focus on the Phases: Guide Dog Training Part One- This is the beginning of our guide dogs’ training when dogs return from their volunteer puppy raising homes to one of our campuses. Dogs settle into their new routines and learning environments. 

Focus on the Phases: Guide Dog Training Part Two- In phases 2 and 3, trainers introduce skills that build upon what the dogs learned in the first phases of training and expose dogs to interesting new challenges. 

Focus on the Phases: Guide Dog Training Part Three- Guide dogs in training are exposed to new environments and travel elements such as escalators, public transit, and traffic.

Focus on the Phases: Guide Dog Training Part Four- Training environments become increasingly more complex as the dogs learn to navigate advanced city routes such as the light rail, heavy pedestrian areas, revolving doors, and safely walking on train platforms.

Focus on the Phases: Guide Dog Training Part Five- The dogs are tested on the culmination of skills they have learned up to this point from curb targeting to moving around obstacles, to turns and street crossings. 

At Guide Dogs for the Blind, all of our programs and services, including guide dog training and client instruction and follow up support services are provided for FREE. Make a gift today to support our life-changing mission and help us ensure that we can continue to provide highly-trained guide dogs for clients who are blind or visually impaired for years to come.