Pilot Dog Training
Our three-phase training program creates strong, confident teams.
Phase 1: Puppy Raising
The puppy-raising phase is an essential part of the Pilot Dogs training program. Volunteer Co-Pilots help raise, shape, and develop a Pilot Puppy. Co-Pilots provide housing, care, training, and love for puppies from the time they are 8-10 weeks old until the age of about 18 months. Learn more about the Co-Pilot program
Phase 2: Formal Training
After the Co-Pilot phase is complete, the Pilot Dog works with our professional trainers for about five months. Throughout the training process, the dog learns how to navigate conditions that their handler may encounter, including traffic, buses, revolving doors, escalators, and elevators.The goal of the formal training phase is to shape a confident Pilot Dog who can safely guide their handler through daily life.
Phase 3: Team Training
In the final phase, students complete a residential training program. Students who are getting their first Pilot Dog will spend three weeks on-site, and students who have already had a Pilot Dog will stay for two weeks.
When a student arrives to start their training program, they immediately begin to take care of their dog, performing tasks including bathing and short, simple walks with our trainers. Walks and obstacles become increasingly challenging over the following weeks until the team can find their way around stores, onto and off of buses, and across busy streets by themselves. Learn more about the student residential experience