Join the Southeastern Guide Dogs Family
We have designed our 11-day training course to provide you and your new dog with the highest opportunity to succeed together. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Southeastern Guide Dogs family, and we think you’ll feel at home with us.
Your dog has been carefully trained, and now it’s your turn to learn. During your stay, you will learn the concepts and techniques needed to confidently work together, and we’ll be with you every step. We operate the most advanced training facilities of any service dog organization in the world, and we customize the training of each elite service dog. We invite up to nine students and maintain a low student-to-trainer ratio for each class. Veterans find that the skills and affection of our dogs, the excellence and structure of our training program, and the companionship of other vets creates tremendous value in the training experience.
Comfortable living arrangements
We make sure you feel welcome and comfortable. Each private room is outfitted with a private patio, double bed, fresh linens, and daily fresh towels in your private bathroom with walk-in shower. Stylish room furnishings include a desk and chair, organizing systems in the walk-in closet,
a flat-screen television with cable, ceiling fan, and a dog crate for your new companion. Each room also includes a small, personal refrigerator. Our hospitality staff takes great care to keep your room clean and well stocked with towels and linens, and staff are on premise 24 hours a day. Washing machines, dryers, and detergent are also provided.
Our professional chefs prepare daily delicious meals. Snacks, coffee, juices, and fruit are available in the dining hall at any time. Our students rave about our food, and we’re happy to meet special dietary needs. Dietary restrictions can be discussed with our chefs upon arrival.
A wireless connection is available, and we encourage you to bring your mobile devices. At your request, we can outfit your room with a landline telephone.
Training for Success
Our trainers are highly experienced in working with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other disabilities, and those who have gone before you have rated the training experience as excellent. Before you arrive, we will train your dog with you and your unique needs in mind.
When you first arrive at our 33-acre campus, we’ll introduce you to classmates and trainers. You’ll soon meet your new dog, and you’ll spend the next 10 days becoming familiar with the commands your dog has already mastered. You’ll learn basic obedience commands, as well as specific commands that assist you in managing PTSD and other disabilities such as seizures, balance and mobility issues, and hearing loss, depending on your needs.
Lectures will cover topics such as service dog access laws, etiquette, voice inflection, and other relevant topics. You’ll learn how to take care of your dog—feeding, grooming, health maintenance, and more—and how your dog can assist you in your journey to wellness. Your class will work with your dogs in a variety of situations and locations that mirror your home and community environment. You’ll encounter your training together—with your dogs, trainers, and classmates—and while you may step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll feel proud of the progress you’ll make.
And most of all, as you and your dog form an unbreakable bond, you’ll never be alone.
Special days: Pictures, Puppy Raisers, and Commencement
Our staff photographer will take special photos, and we will provide digital photos of you and your new service dog, as well as a class photo to remember your time with us. We will also provide you with a special ID with you and your dog’s photo.
Puppy Raiser Day
On the second Monday evening of class,* a quiet, low-key dinner is held with puppy raisers. Your new service dog spent about a year with a volunteer family who helped mold your dog into a successful service dog. It takes a special person to be a puppy raiser, and our caring raisers do it all for you.
The class and guests enjoy watching a slideshow of the dogs as puppies, and the dogs enjoy seeing their former families one last time.
*During this season of physical distancing, Puppy Raiser Day has been switched to a Zoom call with your dog’s puppy raiser.
To celebrate you and your dog’s achievements, we plan for a small, virtual commencement program. We will provide you with a link to invite your friends and family to watch online.