Thursday, July 5, 2012

Puppy Class With #RiddickPup

Today's puppy class was started a little differently to before as we gave the pups 10 minutes of gentle, monitored play. We watched the pups closely and allowed them to say hello, but we discouraged any real rough-and-tumble and growling because if they are too hyped up after playing the rest of the class is difficult to manage.
I didn't get to see Aristotle and Askii today, Anushka and Apollo are both bigger than their siblings and they're just beautiful. Abby is still dainty and pretty. 
Riddick and Apollo (blue collar)
Riddick and Abby
Abby & Apollo greet Paddington
Apollo and Anushka
The "A" litter pups in training- Anushka, Apollo, Abby, Askii and Aristotle (and Riddick)- have been joined by two donated pups that are a few weeks older than them. The male has been named Paddington but we have yet to meet his sister. He's a real sweetheart and it seems he may be trained as a service dog instead of a guide-dog. 
Occasionally, SAGA will accept donated pups if they have not had enough pups born to keep up with their goal of training 50 dogs a year. Unlike SAGA's own breeding programme, the donated pups do not have as detailed a lineage- not only bloodline (which can be traced with registered breeders)- but in temperament as well. SAGA's breeding programme takes several factors into account when selecting a breeding pair including the dog's health, size and temperament, and their brood bitches and stud dogs have very well documented lives as they are monitored by SAGA from birth.
After they had a game and some water, we sat in our circle with the pups between our knees. Placing one hand on their chests and one on their backs we make them "sit" and then keep them calm, bringing them back to a sit if they try to move around. Then we do a bit of "handling"*, getting the pups accustomed to being touched. We check eyes, ears, gums, teeth, toe wedding, nails, paw pads, tummy, chest and tail, running our hands all over the pups looking for any lumps and bumps or injuries that may have gone unnoticed under their thick coats.
Then we discuss the pups behaviour and training progress with our PDS and I am very pleased to say that apart from walking on lead (and in the street, which we aren't doing yet), Riddick is well on par with his siblings. After our discussion the pups go and do some walking exercises but as Riddick still gets very loud when he's unsure of himself we don't do the whole class with his siblings as its rather disruptive and I don't want to interfere with the future guide-dogs' training.
sleeping puppies all in a circle
*If "handling" is done correctly and often enough they actually get to like it and Volt and I currently have a couple of "spa" sessions in the week just him and me. 

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