People with sight loss often say having a guide dog is a transformational experience. Being part of a guide dog team provides mobility, safety and confidence, leading to increased independence and a sense of connection with the world. We believe everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity. At CNIB Guide Dogs, we raise, train and match dogs with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. We also raise our voices to ensure people with sight loss have opportunities to live, work and play without barriers. We’re committed to ensuring social attitudes shift to universal acceptance and appreciation for guide dogs. To help transform our communities into beacons of accessibility and inclusion, our dogs have three career options:
Guide Dog - A guide dog is partnered with a youth or adult with sight loss. Whether it’s avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps or negotiating traffic, this dog fosters independence. The harness and U-shaped handle facilitates communication between the dog and the person who is blind. In this partnership, the person provides directional commands and the dog ensures the team’s safety – if necessary, the dog disobeys unsafe commands.
Buddy Dog - A buddy dog is partnered with a child who is living with sight loss. Whether it’s feeding, grooming or walking this well-trained family pet, this will give the child an opportunity to care for a dog and make it easier to transition into a guide dog partnership in the future. A buddy dog may be partnered with an adult with sight loss who would benefit from the companionship of a well-trained family pet.
Ambassador Dog - An ambassador dog is partnered with a staff member to promote CNIB Guide Dogs at community events and raise awareness about the role of guide dogs. Whether it’s introducing someone to the benefits of guide dogs, recruiting volunteer puppy raisers for puppies-in-training or connecting with individuals who may be interested in sponsoring the program, this dog is an important member of the marketing team.
- A person-centric approach – We provide all the support that’s needed. From the point someone with sight loss pursues training, to the placement of the dog and throughout the dog's working life, we offer a wide range of supplementary services, including peer support, advocacy and more. Once the partnership has been working successfully for a year, CNIB Guide Dogs will transfer ownership of the guide dog to the handler.
- An accessible and convenient option – We provide an accessible and convenient option for Canadians in every part of the country. Our team works with Canadians with sight loss to determine the best approach for training. Whether it’s at home, or a central location, we support the guide dog handler to maximize the potential for success.
- The highest standards – We provide dogs that meet the highest standards in health and quality. Our dogs come from expert sources with a proven record in providing dogs for people who are blind or partially sighted.
- Expert training – Our expert training focuses on positive reinforcement of desired behaviours to ensure our dogs maximize their potential.