Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) Apprenticeships

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) Apprenticeships

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Overview

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind only train staff for our own requirements. We do not actually run courses every year. As this is an in-service training program, we take on new apprentices only when we require more staff.

These notes are intended to give a general idea of the involvement of an apprentice within Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. However, these notes should not be regarded as a job specification.

Apprentices spend three years learning the many skills relative to the training of the guide dog and person who is visually-impaired. During this time, they will participate fully in the care of dogs and operation of kennels and learn aspects of canine health care, plus learn practical and theoretical knowledge of canine psychology and welfare, selection, and training of the dogs. Apprentices also participate in interviewing of clients, and learn psychology of visually impaired clients, and the practical training of our visually impaired clients in the efficient use of a guide dog.  During the three-year apprenticeship, the apprentice writes examinations by senior training staff and by an external senior instructor. The apprentice must obtain a mark of 75% or higher to pass. The apprentice then qualifies as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor.

What is Involved

Expressed simply, the job is concerned with the selection and training of suitable dogs and the selection and training of each individual client with sight loss in the use of a guide dog. The dogs selected are given preliminary training and conditioning, then taken on to advanced training. This process takes some five to eight months with each guide dog. Prior to the start of the residential class, the successful applicant is matched with a dog. Classes are held as often as possible with a maximum of eight clients per class (four per instructor). The class runs on a three-week residential basis. During this time, the progress of the new teams is carefully controlled so that the dogs and the new users develop confidence in each other as more and more complicated situations are experienced and negotiated. After graduation, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor visits the clients in their homes within a few days of their return. This aftercare service ensures that the new team starts off on a good, sound footing.

An image of a guide dog trainer bent down petting a yellow lab guide dog laying down
An image of a black lab guide dog being brought through an obstacle during training.
An image of a guide dog trainer bent down petting a yellow lab guide dog laying down

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Overview

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind only train staff for our own requirements. We do not actually run courses every year. As this is an in-service training program, we take on new apprentices only when we require more staff.

These notes are intended to give a general idea of the involvement of an apprentice within Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. However, these notes should not be regarded as a job specification.

Apprentices spend three years learning the many skills relative to the training of the guide dog and person who is visually-impaired. During this time, they will participate fully in the care of dogs and operation of kennels and learn aspects of canine health care, plus learn practical and theoretical knowledge of canine psychology and welfare, selection, and training of the dogs. Apprentices also participate in interviewing of clients, and learn psychology of visually impaired clients, and the practical training of our visually impaired clients in the efficient use of a guide dog.  During the three-year apprenticeship, the apprentice writes examinations by senior training staff and by an external senior instructor. The apprentice must obtain a mark of 75% or higher to pass. The apprentice then qualifies as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor.

What is Involved

Expressed simply, the job is concerned with the selection and training of suitable dogs and the selection and training of each individual client with sight loss in the use of a guide dog. The dogs selected are given preliminary training and conditioning, then taken on to advanced training. This process takes some five to eight months with each guide dog. Prior to the start of the residential class, the successful applicant is matched with a dog. Classes are held as often as possible with a maximum of eight clients per class (four per instructor). The class runs on a three-week residential basis. During this time, the progress of the new teams is carefully controlled so that the dogs and the new users develop confidence in each other as more and more complicated situations are experienced and negotiated. After graduation, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor visits the clients in their homes within a few days of their return. This aftercare service ensures that the new team starts off on a good, sound footing.

An image of a black lab wearing a white harness and yellow handle walking with a person

What Type of Person Suits the Job

Applicants should have an appropriate level of related education; a degree or higher diploma. As we are a national organization, French/English bilingualism would be an asset. Experience with dogs is useful, but a natural ability to relate to them in a balanced way can be more important. Life experience is valuable and helps provide a solid background for the teaching situation in which Instructors often find themselves. All applicants must possess a clean and current driver’s license.

Applicants should be physically able. The position is demanding physically and, at times, can also be mentally stressful. The training staff are walking nearly all day and in all types of weather. There are considerable demands prior to and during a class, the latter often proving to be a stressful time. Many other qualities are necessary, ranging from good physical/mental coordination, physical strength and staying power. Temperamental stability, self-control, tact, perseverance, a sense of humour, some natural authority and a willingness to take on responsibility are important – all in addition to a fondness of people and dogs. Occasionally, apprentices are required to live in residence at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. It must also be understood that apprentices who become Guide Dog Mobility Instructors will be expected to travel and, occasionally, spend overnights away from home. More details will be given if selected for an interview.

How Do I Apply?

Unfortunately, due to the large number of inquiries we receive, we are unable to offer any type of preliminary interview or job shadowing. This opportunity rarely opens. If you are interested, please forward your resume. Your resume will be kept on file for six months. No telephone calls please.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
National Office and Training Centre
P.O. Box 280
4120 Rideau Valley Drive N.
Manotick, Ontario
K4M 1A3
info@guidedogs.ca

An image of a black lab wearing a white harness and yellow handle walking with a person

What Type of Person Suits the Job

Applicants should have an appropriate level of related education; a degree or higher diploma. As we are a national organization, French/English bilingualism would be an asset. Experience with dogs is useful, but a natural ability to relate to them in a balanced way can be more important. Life experience is valuable and helps provide a solid background for the teaching situation in which Instructors often find themselves. All applicants must possess a clean and current driver’s license.

Applicants should be physically able. The position is demanding physically and, at times, can also be mentally stressful. The training staff are walking nearly all day and in all types of weather. There are considerable demands prior to and during a class, the latter often proving to be a stressful time. Many other qualities are necessary, ranging from good physical/mental coordination, physical strength and staying power. Temperamental stability, self-control, tact, perseverance, a sense of humour, some natural authority and a willingness to take on responsibility are important – all in addition to a fondness of people and dogs. Occasionally, apprentices are required to live in residence at the National Training Centre of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. It must also be understood that apprentices who become Guide Dog Mobility Instructors will be expected to travel and, occasionally, spend overnights away from home. More details will be given if selected for an interview.

How Do I Apply?

Unfortunately, due to the large number of inquiries we receive, we are unable to offer any type of preliminary interview or job shadowing. This opportunity rarely opens. If you are interested, please forward your resume. Your resume will be kept on file for six months. No telephone calls please.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
National Office and Training Centre
P.O. Box 280
4120 Rideau Valley Drive N.
Manotick, Ontario
K4M 1A3
info@guidedogs.ca