Thursday, June 28, 2012

Puppy Class and a School Visit with #RiddickPup

Wednesday's puppy class was earlier than usual because the pups had to have their injections and then we were going to visit a nursery school!
Because school visits and getting accustomed to children is part of the guide-dog pup's training, I took Volt with me as well. Its a little tricky trying to control Riddick and Volt, especially when there are other puppies around!
Riddick and Apollo getting their shots
Abby and Aristotle waiting their turn
Once the pups had had their shots and a deworming tablet we set off in convoy for a nearby nursery school.
School visits are very exciting for the children and the puppies! The pups are mobbed and the children are given little treats to feed to the pups. The pups have to learn to take treats nicely without snatching at fingers, they have to learn that they are not allowed to jump up on or nibble on children and they must remain as calm as possible.
Our SAGA PDS took charge of Volt for me as a part of these school visits is for them to observe the pup's behaviour with the children.
The puppy walkers sit on the floor with the pups kept as calm as possible in front of them, and the children come and talk to us and ask us questions about the pups and tell us about their own pets.
The children were particularly intrigued by the fact that Riddick is blind. Many of them asked why he's blind and what happened and if he's sick. And of course when Riddick is insecure in a new setting he whines and howls like mad which had a few kids a tad uncertain about approaching him. Once they started giving him cookies though he settled down. And I kept repeating to the children that they must give Riddick a flat open hand because he can't see the cookies and their fingers smell like cookies and he will snatch if something smells nice (we're working on it). The last thing I wanted was a child to cry over nipped digits.
sitting and listening to children and other puppies
I showed the kidlets how to gently rub and cuddle all the loose skin on Riddick's body and I gave them each a turn to brush him softly with his brush, and I was quite speechless when he fell fast asleep! Our SAGA PDS was quite astounded when she announced it was time to go and Riddick was lights out on the ground!!
Riddick actually fell fast asleep!
I was very proud of Volt! He was so very good and our PDS said she was very happy with how he's doing! He listened when she spoke and he was good with the children- even though he got far less attention from them than the little puppies did. When our PDS took him for a walk around the playground- which is done to teach them that swings, jungle gyms, slides and such are harmless- she said he kept trying to make a bee-line for any of the yellow pups he saw just in case one of them was his "little brother" Riddick!

When we got home both my boys were quite exhausted from their working morning and fell fast asleep!

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