Four CNIB Guide Dogs stand in front of their handlers legs.

Apply for a CNIB Guide Dog

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Should I apply for a CNIB Guide Dog?

Before you apply for a CNIB Guide Dog, we encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I 16 or older?
  2. Do I have sight loss that limits my orientation and mobility?
  3. Do I have a lifestyle where I would benefit from the use of a guide dog and be able to maintain the necessary skills for working with a guide dog?
  4. Am I willing to trust my guide dog, even if he/she chooses a slightly different path?
  5. Do I have a safe and welcoming home environment for a guide dog?
  6. Am I ready for the responsibility of caring for a guide dog?
  7. Am I physically capable of caring for a guide dog?
  8. Am I prepared for the attention that a guide dog will bring while working in public?

What breeds does CNIB Guide Dogs train?

CNIB Guide Dogs trains Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds.

Where do we provide training?

Future Guide Dogs are raised in communities across Canada (e.g. Calgary, Halifax, Regina, Toronto and Winnipeg) from eight weeks until 12-15 months. This is when the puppies learn how to socialize (e.g. being exposed to animals, crowds and public spaces). They also learn basic skills, obedience and routines. Then, they begin formal guide dog training at the CNIB Guide Dogs Training Centre, also known as the Canine Campus, in Carleton Place and in communities across Canada. After 4-6 months, the dogs are partnered with people with sight loss.

Once they're partnered, CNIB Guide Dogs provides training where it's accessible and convenient for the handler, whether that's at home or a central location.

What are the class sizes for training?

One-on-one training is provided at home and group training (up to four people/instructor) is provided at a central location.

Can I bring someone to accompany me to the training class?

The training class is an important opportunity for you to bond with your guide dog. To be successful, this new partnership must have your undivided attention. Therefore, we ask that you don't bring someone to accompany you.

How much does it cost to get a CNIB Guide Dog?

CNIB Guide Dogs believes everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity, regardless of their financial circumstances. Therefore, there is no cost to the handler. Through donations, CNIB Guide Dogs covers the raising, training and matching costs as well as the veterinary bills. As a corporate sponsor, Royal Canin provides the food for the dog.

Will follow-up visits be provided?

After you complete your class, you will receive two weeks of follow-up care. Follow-up visits will be scheduled every six months for the first year. Then, annual visits will be scheduled for the duration of the partnership.

What is involved in the application process?

  1. Complete an application form. To request a form, please contact: Miriam Mas, Administrative Assistant, CNIB Guide Dogs at Miriam.Mas@cnib.ca or 343-997-2498.
  2. Once the application form has been received, CNIB Guide Dogs will call you.
  3. If you're not registered with the CNIB Foundation, you'll be asked to do so. You'll also be asked to complete a self-declaration form regarding your medical history, and provide consent for a police record check to protect the safety of our staff and dogs.
  4. An orientation and mobility specialist will arrange a phone call with you to discuss how and when you use your cane.
  5. A guide dog mobility instructor will call you to determine if a guide dog will enhance your mobility, and arrange a home visit, if appropriate.
  6. A guide dog mobility instructor will visit you in your home environment to assess your mobility needs in order to make the best match.
  7. Once a match is confirmed, a guide dog mobility instructor will call you to determine the training schedule/location.