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Acquiring a Guide Dog

Realities of Guide Dog Mobility

Do you or someone you know need a guide dog? Follow the link to read or listen to Realities of Guide Dog Mobility, which details many important factors to consider before applying for a guide dog.


You are eligible to apply to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind if you are registered as legally blind (many guide dog users have some useful vision); a permanent resident of Canada; and at least sixteen years old.

You need a strong desire to improve upon your independence and mobility. Most people are surprised by the mental and emotional strain induced by the training process. A solid partnership can take up to a year to form, so a determined, positive attitude is necessary in order to succeed. You must be ready to put in the work to succeed.

You need to be in reasonable physical health to work and train with a guide dog on a daily basis. Physical disabilities or illnesses do not necessarily disqualify a person from eligibility. If you can walk with a dog then you may be eligible.

You need a stable and supportive home environment. Consider the viewpoint of the young dog that is trying to adapt to a new home and neighbourhood. With a stable home, the dog is able to build confidence through familiar daily routines.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind operates solely through donations and fundraising activities. There is no cost to our clients. Accepted clients are expected to pay a nominal $1 fee upon graduation, which is a legal lease on the dog during its working life. Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind pays for all expenses including transportation to and from our National Training Centre, room and board, the training course, and the dog. The client will be responsible for all expenses for the dog after graduation, including food and veterinary expenses. You can claim expenses related to guide dog as medical expenses through Canada Revenue Agency. As well, there are veterinary cost assistance programs, which can be applied to, including a fund through Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. Our services are provided at no charge. However, you need enough financial resources to properly care for a dog. Inquiring about veterinarian discounts, government subsidies, and providing the dog with the necessary comforts such as a dog bed and toys are the financial responsibility of the guide dog user, and it is a good idea to investigate some aspects in advance of applying or training

You need to already be independently mobile and capable of walking a minimum of two routes, totally alone. These routes do not necessarily have to be long or complicated, but they must be familiar and well navigated, as you will need to teach your dog these routes. Orientation and mobility training is a definite advantage and requirement, including problem solving skills.

Instructions for Applicants

Complete our initial basic application form. Once the initial form is returned to us, it will be reviewed and we will send you a full detailed application package.

Should you need to contact Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind for additional information during the application process, you may do so by phoning us at (613) 692-7777. Please consider all of the information we have provided. We hope it helps you in making a decision whether a guide dog is right for you. If it is, we look forward to receiving your application and, hopefully, welcoming you to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.