Sunday, March 18, 2012

Twenty Week Old #SAGApupVolt

Today Volt is 20 weeks old, but there are still about two weeks to go before he is fully five months old on 30 March 2012.
This morning he weighed in at a whopping 21.1kg, so he's gained 2.2kg since last Sunday!! And it is definitely the last time I will be able to pick him up and get on the scale with him! He's just getting too heavy!


Unfortunately there are not a lot of photos this week... I have been very busy working so we did our walks and training without extras... And now our puppy classes are finished too, so there are no photies of Volt and his siblings either.

Our manual from SAGA tells us that at 5 months old, Volt's protective tendencies will start to manifest and he will start barking at people he sees as intruders. Guide-dogs are not guard-dogs, so all barking and growling is discouraged at all times, even during play. And now we have the extra challenge of Volt wanting to defend his space (I have scheduled a blog post for tomorrow explaining why guide-dogs are not guard-dogs). I couldn't help but giggle when, on Thursday evening, Volt was in the back yard for some solo-time and my son walked into the back yard from the side of the house, catching Volt by surprise! Volt's hackles were up all the way to his tail and he was growling and nervous about the surprise intruder! I did laugh, but I immediately soothed him and told him to be quiet.
And then one morning I put a hubbard squash on the kitchen counter and Volt went bananas! You'd swear it was barking at him! It took several minutes to get him to approach the pumpkin and sniff it and assure him it wasn't an intruder!


So what else has been up?

We've had a gloriously cool, rainy week and it makes being outside a pleasure, but it does make it messy when you have a Labrador-Golden Retriever cross puppy who loves being wet!
Our walks are going pretty well. We have quite a lot of work to do for when Volt walks past a gate where a dog is barking- he has to be taught to completely ignore distractions like that- and a lot of our street consists of high-walled complexes where there are no gates with dogs behind them, so we're working on it by walking in different places and looking for gates. And next week we have a group walk with our PDS at a shopping centre again. As I've mentioned before, Volt gets very distracted when there's another dog walking ahead of him, so the group walks are very important to train him to ignore them. He no longer gets nervous about dustbins on the side walk, and oncoming cars very seldom spook him unless they have really loud engines or something.
At home, our obedience training for "come", "sit", "down", "stand", "forward", "stay", "wait", "up sit", "no", "leave it" and "off" continues to go well. We've made a lot of progress with "down" in the last week by sometimes using "down" instead of "sit".
We continue to work on how to correctly greet guests and people who come to the house, and working from home means having people come and collect goods from me on a regular basis. Volt still gets very excited, but he is doing far better at how he behaves when people walk in the front door!

This weekend we replaced Volt's stuffed dog toy with a new toy...

Last week Volt got his first big, juicy bone (I wrote about it here)...

Last Sunday my dad took a photo of Volt and I, and I used it to compare to to the first photo taken of us when he was tiny, and you won't believe how much he's grown! It got me all nostalgic and I spent a good couple of hours browsing through his puppy photos.
Wasn't he just the cutest little thing...

Ooh and we got the fabulous news from SAGA this last week that the fundraising done at Hobby-X a couple of weeks ago was the best its ever been! Thank you to all of you who came along and bought a raffle ticket or made a donation!

And here are the last week's "Did You Know" tweets:
>> guide-dogs learn about 35 commands in formal training, thats in addition to basic obedience like sit, stay, down, come & wait!
>> some guide-dogs learn the commands and can follow detailed instructions, but are afraid of being responsible for an actual person!

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!
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