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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Dog Guides and Dog Guide Schools

A guide dog helps a blind or visually impaired person navigate through his or her environment. Guide dogs learn their specialized skills at guide dog schools.

There are many schools around the world that train dogs for service as guides. Schools breed puppies for training though some receive dogs via donations. The puppies are raised by volunteer host families, known as puppy raisers, and spend their first year learning basic obedience skills and socializing with humans. At the end of the year the dogs are transferred to the school to receive the focused training they'll need to be of use to their human charges. The training includes learning navigational commands -- such as left and right -- how to move around obstacles and deal with steps, curbs, elevators and escalators.

Most schools provide dog guides to the blind at no cost. Eligible guide dog recipients are matched with a service dog: they then undergo an orientation perdiod during which individual and dog learn to trust one another and work together as a team.

A guide dog's career typically lasts 8 to 10 years. Upon retirement, dogs can be returned to the training school where they are adopted out to host families. Many people give their dogs to trusted friends or family members. Often the bond between the team is so strong that the dog remains with its team-mate as an adored pet while a new guide dog begins its term of service.

The following is a list of Dog Guide Schools in the United States. At the end of this record there are links to international organizations that can provide assistance with locating dog guide training centers outside the U.S.

This list is for informational purposes only: APH can neither endorse nor recommend specific training schools. If your school is not listed or is in need of update, please follow the Fred Feedback link at the bottom of this page to provide current information.

Dog Guide Schools -- United States

Eye Dog Foundation
211 S. Montclair Street
Bakersfield, CA 93309-3165
Toll-free: 800-393-3641
Phone: 661-831-1333
Fax: 661-831-0681

Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services, Inc.
747 Amana Street, #407
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: 808-941-1088
Fax: 808-941-1088

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 142
Bloomfield, CT 06002
Phone: 860-243-5200
Fax: 860-243-7215

Freedom Guide Dogs
1210 Hardscrabble Road
Cassville, NY 13318
Phone: 315-822-5132

Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. - California
P.O. Box 151200
San Rafael, CA 94915-1200
Phone: 415-499-4000
Toll-free: 800-295-4050

Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. - Oregon
32901 S.E. Kelso Road
Boring, OR 97009
Phone: 503-668-2100

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787-2976
Phone: 631-265-2121
Toll-free: 800-548-4337
Fax: 631-361-5192

Guide Dogs of America
13445 Glenoaks Blvd.
Sylmar, CA 91342
Phone: 818-362-5834
Fax 818-362-6870

Guide Dogs of the Desert, Inc.
P.O. Box 1692
Palm Springs, CA 92263
Phone: 760-329-6257
Fax: 760-329-2127

Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Inc.
611 Granite Springs Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Phone: 914-245-4024
Toll-free: 800-942-0149
Fax: 914-245-1609

Leader Dogs for the Blind
P.O. Box 5000
Rochester, MI 48308
Phone: 248-651-9011
Toll-free: 888-777-5332
Fax: 248-651-5812

Pilot Dogs, Inc.
625 West Town Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-221-6367
Fax: 614-221-1577

The Seeing Eye, Inc.
P.O. Box 375
Morristown, N.J. 07963-0375
Phone: 973-539-4425
Fax: 973-539-0922

Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.
4210 77th Street East
Palmetto, FL 34221
Toll-free: 800-944-3647
Phone: 941-729-5665
Fax: 941-729-6646

Upstate Guide Dog Association, Inc.
7926 Routes 5 and 20
Bloomfield, NY 14469
Phone: 585-624-1074
Voice-mail: 585-234-3895

International Organizations

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
P.O. Box 280
4120 Rideau Valley Drive North
Manotick, Ontario, Canada K4M 1A3
Phone: 613-682-7777
Fax: 613-692-0650
The Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind website has links to Canadian and international guide dog schools.

Guide Dog Association of New South Wales and A.C.T.
5 Northcliff Street
Milsons Point, New South Wales 2061
Phone: 02-9922-4211
Fax: 02-9923-1094
Internet: au
The Guide Dog Association of New South Wales and A.C.T. provides information about training centers in New South Wales. The association's website offers links to a variety of international resources on guide dog-related topics.

Royal National Institute for the Blind
224 Great Portland Street
London, UK W1N 6AA
Phone: 020-7388-1266
Fax: 020-7388-2034
The Royal National Institute for the Blind has a comprehensive database of international agencies, organizations and service providers for people with visual impairments.

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