[nagdu] Researching and applying to guide dog school

Raven Tolliver ravend729 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 27 03:28:40 UTC 2015

As others said, find what matters most to you.
When I chose Guiding Eyes, what mattered most to me was age of the
dogs issued and financial assistance with veterinary care. Oh, and at
the time, I thought a dog trained in New York could handle any
environment or situation. This one definitely can, but really, you
should be able to find that kind of dog at any school.
Age mattered to me because I never owned or cared for a dog in my
life, and also, I wanted a golden retriever. A friend of mine
suggested finding a school that issues dogs between 2 and 3 years old
because that is when goldens reach maturity, and are settled and
stable physically and temperamentally.
Financial assistance was a must for me at the time since I was a
broke, unemployed college chick.

I applied to Leader Dog as my safety school, knowing that they'd
accept me since I practically grew up with them in my backyard, going
to various camps and seminars at the school. And the staff there were
very familiar with me.

Both schools accepted me, but I chose GEB since LDB didn't offer what
I wanted in a guide dog program.

When I have to do this all again, I will be more concerned with breed
and ownership. Age won't matter as much because I am more experienced
with young dogs, and I've seen that some young dogs are not totally
spastic and behaviorally inconsistent. I've also gained a load of
experience in dog training to be able to handle, redirect, and
eliminate adolescent behavior. Help with costs won't matter because I
have no need for financial assistance.
Ownership will matter more because I am not your conventional
dog owner by any stretch, and I live against the prescriptions of
authorities who are depressingly mistaken about what is best.
Founder of 1AM Editing & Research

You are valuable because of your potential, not because of what you
have or what you do.

Naturally-reared guide dogs

On 10/26/15, David via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Amanda, all three schools required O&M training.  I took the Accelerated
> Mobility Program at Leader Dogs for the Blind (LDB) in Rochester,
> Michigan in 2013, which I thought was excellent.  I knew that my visual
> fields were dropping and my CME was acting up more frequently.
> Traveling was becoming more difficult and I knew that a guide dog was in
> my future.  I had traveled with a cane for 16 years at that point and I
> had read as many of the O&M training manuals as I could get my hands on,
> so getting topped up by professionals was a good thing.
> I decided to stick with East Coast and Midwest schools, picking LDB,
> which I knew, Guide Dog Foundation (GDF) in Smithtown, NY, which I had
> visited, and The Seeing Eye (TSE) in Morristown, NJ, which I had also
> visited many years ago.  I was accepted at LDB and GDF.  Some months
> later, GDF called me on a Thursday and LDB called me on a Friday.  I
> pulled my application from TSE as soon as GDF called.  I had a very
> sleepless weekend trying to choose.  I had led AYH bicycle trips up to
> the cider mill in Rochester, Michigan in my 20s and felt very attached
> to Detroit and LDB, especially after the AMP training.  I had never
> heard anything negative about any of the three schools.  I ended up
> choosing GDF, mostly because of the shorter training period.  I felt
> that I would have gone stir crazy sitting around for 4 other handlers to
> return with my instructor from their walks.  The GDF program had two
> handlers per instructor. On the other hand, I have to say that the
> shorter training period was exhausting for this first time 75 year old,
> despite my being a pretty active guy.  I don't think we lost anything by
> the shorter training period, but it was intense.  Claire Rose and I
> bonded quickly and, I must say, permanently in the two week program.
> We've been together 24/7 for 4 months now.  She works better and harder
> every day.  I'm still not sure whether I am continuing to train her, or
> she is training me.  At two years old she is still a pup and staying on
> top of her antics is a constant challenge.  She is an incredible traveler!
> Sherry Gomes comments are excellent.  I have learned a lot about Claire
> Rose and her quirks from her puppy raiser.  Breed was also important to
> me as I have a negative response to the smell of German Shepherds.
> Don't get me wrong.  I know several very clean German Shepherds, but
> even with them there is something about the odor of the oil in their
> coats that I find offensive.  I wish it were otherwise as I admire them,
> their capacity for affection, their loyalty, and their skills greatly.
> These comments, Amanda, are not recommendations.  They are just the
> story of my own journey.  I know folks who are very happy with their
> pups from several other schools and I don't believe that this is a
> competition, but finding a fit.  'Kind of like picking a college, or a
> longtime partner . (Which it is.)
> Safe travels,
> David and Claire Rose in Clearwater, FL
> On 10/26/2015 6:16 PM, Amanda Cape via nagdu wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> Did the two schools that you were accepted to have different o and m
>> requirements? How did you decide between them once you were accepted at
>> both?
>> Thanks,
>> Amanda
>>> On Oct 26, 2015, at 5:10 PM, David via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>>> Questions that were important to me were:
>>> How many trainees are assigned to your primary instructor?
>>> What is the length of the training?
>>> What is the reputation of the school?  (You'll have to do some homework
>>> on this one.)
>>> Can I talk to other handlers who have been trained at the school?
>>> How are the puppy raisers chosen?
>>> What training do puppy raisers receive?
>>> Is there an age cut-off?  (Some schools have both upper and lower limits,
>>> but even some of those are flexible at the high end depending upon
>>> physical condition.)
>>> Are visitors allowed during training?  If so, when?
>>> What are the policies about leaving the school area during training?
>>> Is transportation to and from the school provided?
>>> Is home based follow-up available to help with any new situations?
>>> I applied to three schools at the same time, but cancelled one
>>> application after being accepted at both of the others so that they did
>>> not have to spend money to send someone to evaluate me at home.
>>> Wishing you all the best on your new journey, Amanda,
>>> David and Claire Rose in Clearwater, FL
>>>> On 10/26/2015 1:15 PM, Amanda Cape via nagdu wrote:
>>>> Hello guide dog users,
>>>> I am beginning to look at different guide dog schools and will be
>>>> applying shortly. Is there a list of questions i should be asking them?
>>>> I have some of my own but am curious as to how you decide which ones to
>>>> apply to and choose. Have you applied to more than one school at a time?
>>>> Thanks.
>>>> Amanda
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