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Read the November 2023 edition of IGDF's Visionary magazine
Organization: Guide Dog Foundation
Location: Smithtown, NY
Job Type: Full time
Deadline: August 31, 2023

Job Description

Contact at organisation: Krista Mathews, Guide Dog Foundation

Phone: 631-930-9005


Overall Summary:
Under the direct guidance of the Program Education Manager or assigned Qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, apprentices are responsible for training “class-ready” guide dogs and for the instructing clients in the use of those dogs, resulting in safe and effective guide dog teams. Apprentices must progress through three years of educational and practical course work and will have their skills assessed via quizzes, quality assurance blindfold testing on their dogs, and final written, practical, and oral exams. This program exceeds the educational requirements of International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.


  • Implements Guide Dog Foundation techniques for dog care and kennel maintenance.
  • Provides accurate written training progress reports on each dog within their training string. Effectively orally reports to superiors on all aspects of training, classwork and fieldwork.
  • Trains strings of “class-ready” dogs up to organizational standards with decreasing supervision throughout the progression of the apprenticeship. Training a string of guide dogs requiring walking a minimum of 8 miles per day.
  • Instructs clients how to effectively and independently work with class-ready dogs.
  • Alone or in tandem, conducts graduate follow-up visits and assists applicant interviews and visits rehabilitation agencies as needed. Provides Consumer Services with accurate reports on each applicant interview and graduate visit.
  • Represents Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs outside of the organization through speaking engagements, graduations, tours, media, and conventions in a positive and effective way.
  • Adheres to our organization’s safety policies and procedures and encourages others to do the same. Promptly reports incidents and accidents according to Foundation’s procedures.
  • Undertakes other duties as assigned.


  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Displays and applies emotional intelligence.
  • Prefer two or more years of college level courses in animal husbandry, animal science, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility, or other allied fields.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license in good standing and be able to travel throughout the US to perform home placements or aftercare visits.
  • Must have authorization to work in the United States.
  • Must have or obtain passport for international travel when required.
  • Must be willing to attend training seminars and receive additional certifications in the assistance dog field.
  • Self-starter with ability to lead others and work independently.
  • Work weekends, evenings and holidays including overnights in student residence or on the road as needed.
  • Be able to drive a car, large van, or bus and climb into a van to load and unload dogs.

Physical Demands:
Must safely handle a variety of large breed dogs, weighing up to 85 pounds with varying strength and manageability. Able to pick up a dog, weighing up to 85 lbs, in an emergency. Exert up to 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally and regularly exert up to 10 pounds of force. Able to withstand repetitive bending, stooping, kneeling, and squatting without stress. Able to stand, push, pull, reach overhead and bend to the floor. Able to walk a minimum of 8 miles per day without stress in a variety of weather conditions including heat and cold temperatures. Able to work dogs with different guiding speeds ranging from 2.5 mph to 4.5 mph.

Visual Acuity:
Near acuity and accommodation are required for ability to see and read dog’s reaction to environment and distractions. Ability to watch students give physical cues to the dog and coach accordingly. Ability to read forms, documentation, and computer screen.

Hearing Ability:
Ability to interact with dog, trainers, students and volunteers either in an informal way or giving formal instruction through seminar and training exercises. Ability to hear above traffic and other outside noises.

Working Conditions:
The employee is subject to daily outside elements including working in rain and snow, traffic, subway, train station, elevator, escalator, airport/ flying, and noise levels inside a kennel. Employee is exposed to cleaning and antibacterial solutions in kennel. Employee is also exposed to animal dander and hair in confined areas such as vans and kennels.

How to Apply

To apply email your resume to

We offer competitive wages, a comprehensive benefits program which includes an outstanding 403(b) plan, tuition reimbursement and generous paid time off.