How do I apply for a Guide Dog or Autism Support Dog?
We regret that we are currently unable to accept any new applications for guide dogs or autism support dogs. We will re-open the application process once we have fulfilled our wait list of existing applications. We have taken this step in order to better serve the clients who are awaiting training at this time. We thank you for your patience as and regret any disappointment. Please check back again in the future.
How do Guide Dogs help blind and visually impaired people?
Guide Dogs enable the recipient to move around safely and independently by helping blind or visually impaired people navigate their surroundings. Based on the handler’s direction, dogs safely guide their partner around obstacles, through intersections, to stairs, doors and other landmarks.
How do Autism Support Dogs help children with autism?
Autism Support Dogs, a division of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, provides professionally trained dogs to children with autism aged 3-10 and their families, at no cost to the recipient. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of children with autism and their family by providing a trained Autism Support Dog. It takes up to 2 years and costs our charity up to $35,000 to produce each autism support dog. Our organization relies on the generosity of donors to serve citizens of British Columbia and Alberta so that we can provide these dogs free of charge to families.
What breeds of dogs do we use for training?
We use Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses between Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
Where do you get your puppies?
We have an in-house breeding program and we participate at an international level with other guide dog organizations in the sharing of puppies and breeding materials.
Do the dogs ever get any playtime, or are they always working?
Once the dogs are home for the day and their jackets are off, they are pet dogs and are able to play and relax just like any other dog.
How much does it cost to produce a fully trained Guide Dog or Autism Support Dog?
It takes two years and costs up to $35,000 to the organization to train each dog.
Do you train dogs for other purposes, like hearing assistance or therapy dogs?
Some of our dogs who do not qualify to become guide dogs or autism support dogs become Very Special Placements (VSPs) and may be place with other individuals in need of a well trained dog.
Is BC & Alberta Guide Dogs an accredited training school?
Yes. British Columbia Guide Dog Services has been fully accredited members of the International Guide Dog Federation since 2001 and Assistance Dogs International since 2008.
What happens to retired dogs?
Our dogs retire as pets at about age 10. At this time, they homed where someone is home all day and they receive life long veterinary healthcare from BC & Alberta Guide Dogs.
Can you train my dog?
The current British Columbia Guide Animal Act Legislation does not allow for an individual to certify their privately trained dog as a service dog. The dog must be raised and trained by a government recognized school like BC & Alberta Guide Dogs.
Can I train/apprentice to be a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor?
We are currently hiring for two Qualified GDMI positions. Please check back as we hope to be hiring apprentices in the future.
What happens to dogs that don’t make it through advanced training?
When it is decided that a dog is released from advanced training (we call them non-qualifiers), we find each and every dog loving forever homes. They could be adopted by their puppy trainers, boarders or the dogs are sold to recipients on our non-qualifier list. Some of our dogs who do not qualify to become guide dogs or autism support dogs become Very Special Placements (VSPs) and may be place with other individuals in need of a well trained dog.
How can I donate to your organization?
Please look at our ways to donate page or you can DONATE NOW!
How do I sponsor a puppy?
Please check out our Puppy Sponsorship page for more information.
How can I volunteer to be a Puppy Training?
If you live in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Victoria or Nanaimo area, or Calgary, please check out for information on our Puppy Training page.
How can I volunteer to board an adult dog?
Do you have volunteer opportunities other than puppy raising and boarding?
We are currently looking for administration help. Please check out our volunteer section.
Can someone from your organization come speak at our school/workplace/event?
Can I host a fundraiser?
Yes please! Check out our Organize a Fundraiser page for more information and ideas.
How can I get my Company involved?
Check out our Corporate Giving section for more information.
Can I sign up for email updates?
Sign up for email update here.