Many schools do primarily on-campus guide dog training, and GDF has historically been one of those schools. But recently, they are expanding their services to fit different people’s needs. Someone who takes care of three kids is not going to be able to hop off to Long Island for a month. So now GDF offers three options, depending on the needs of the student. Many students still come to campus for the full 25 days (or slightly fewer for a re-train). A few receive their training entirely at home, over a period of a couple of weeks. And some do what we call combo training, where they spend part of the time on campus and part of the time doing home training. Even someone who has done on-campus training receives follow-up of some sort at home. These options mean that GDF can serve the needs of more students than ever before. I myself am a fan of on-campus training, because I like having the ability to focus entirely on training, but that’s not going to work for everyone, and I realize that. Heck, I have a hard time getting a month off of work myself.
This past fiscal year, 99 guide dog teams graduated from GDF, which may not be much for some of the larger schools, but is a big number for us. So I guess people like having options.