Sunday, April 15, 2012

Today #SAGApupVolt Is 24 Weeks Old

And I have no idea what he weighs or what he's doing because... 
...he's been at SAGA kennels since Friday morning!

This is his first week at kennels with other pups-in-training of various ages, and he'll spend another week at kennels in May when my hubby and I go away for a bit of a holiday. I'll send him again in July and August, or maybe September... We'll see. Here are some photos of Volt in kennels when I dropped him off. The doors leading outside are closed because it was being cleaned when I dropped him off. None of the dogs wear collars in kennels because they play and rough house and no collar means accidents can be avoided.
Volt (closer to me) and Jaia
Volt (right) and Jaia
PDS Lerato talking to the 3 dogs adjoining Volt's kennel
Volt (left) doing his clown impression
SAGA kennels are immaculate- this is the bathing area
looking towards the passage of kennel gates- Volt is in the centre of the picture
During their time with their puppy raising families (and only after they are 4 months old) the puppies do week-long stays at SAGA's kennels for a few different reasons.
For one thing it helps them get used to staying at kennels as they will do when they do their six months of formal training. If the dogs are not used to staying at kennels at all, they could suffer stress and depression and won't be able to start their formal training until they are okay again.
It also allows SAGA to observe and assess the pup's training, behaviour and temperament in a setting other than their home. 
Very occasionally, they pick up an issue with a pup that their puppy-raiser family is unaware of, or a behavioural quirk shows up in kennels that can then be addressed before it becomes a problem.
Its also an important part of the pup's socialisation in that he (or she) has to eat with other dogs in the same space (which some pups are not used to) and some of his training will be put into practice.
Volt will be a year old at the end of October, so it won't be long after that that he will go back to SAGA for his 6 months formal training. He may be able to come "home" to us for Christmas- depending on what we plan to do by then. I actually had a shock when I realised Volt would be a year old in October already! All this time I have been working on him only going back in December because he will then have been with us for a year- but its his age that determines his return, not the length of his stay with us!

Anyhoodle, I'm not going to dwell on that now! 


After I dropped Volt off I walked back to the car, stopping to take a picture of the service dog training area on the way. If a service dog had been in training I would not have been allowed in, but there was no-one working there at the time. You can see airplane seats, wheelchairs, a door with a rope on the door handle, office furniture - all kinds of things that guide-dogs and service dogs need to be taught to deal with. This is where the old phones, eye glasses, remote controls and such that are donated are used for training.

And then I took a detour via puppy block! Visitors are not allowed in this building, but you can see the outside with the fenced enclosures where the bitches who are about to throw their pups are housed, usually from about two weeks before their due dates. The inside of each enclosure is air conditioned and fully tiled for easy cleaning with a built-in "bed" that is filled with blankets for the mommy-to-be. I did see some pups in an enclosure on the other side of the building- you can read about them here.

And as I was about to leave I got to meet Timba, who came bounding up to me when he was out for a stroll with his "mom", Sue. Timba is Volt's father, and this was the first time I actually saw him in the flesh. I was surprised by his size and how big his head is, and I was very surprised to see how much Volt is like him! The way he walks and runs, his face, his mannerisms... It isn't something one expects to see in animals! And several people who have seen Volt at SAGA have said how much like his father he is, and I got to see it today too. Timba is a BIG dog too at over 40kg, and in chatting to Sue about the dogs, it seems Volt may have outgrown his brother, Viking!
Volt's father, Timba
I will be fetching Volt on Thursday again. I am hoping SAGA will be happy with his progress so far, and whilst I want SAGA to be happy with his training, a part of me also hopes they will decide to make him a stud dog like his father because then he will live with us forever!


Its going to be very strange not having him in the house. He is such a snuggle bug! If he can he lies next to you or near you, and on Thursday last week in particular he was very "clingy". He whined to come inside if he was outside, he lay in the middle of the kitchen floor when I was baking and working, and lay at my feet when I was at my laptop. Then that night I was lying watching TV and he came and lay on the bit of my duvet that was on the floor!

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!
Follow @SAGuide_Dogs on Twitter!


Gill said...

Can't wait to hear how his time at the kennels went. His Dad's gorgeous.