In the month or so between the matching visit and class, instructors pre-train each guide dog for his or her client. We have found that specifically preparing your guide dog for you allows for a smoother transition during class and helps promote success during the first years of working with your guide dog.
When we are pre-training your dog for you, we make sure to work in environments that are unique to you and your lifestyle. For example, if you live in the country, we will ensure your dog can work near livestock or on non-sidewalk routes. If you are in school or college, attend religious services, or frequently use bus terminals to get to and from stores or businesses, we will practice in these environments prior to class. We will also adapt positions or verbal commands to your specific needs or desires, and adjust the clearance of overhead obstacles to your height. Pre-training can also help to prepare your dog for your family life- such as working around infants, toddlers, or school campuses.
While we are preparing your dog for you, you are encouraged to walk as much as possible in order to build up stamina and to be ready for training with your guide dog.