As promised last week we’ve recorded a video of Chance responding to the telephone. You can watch it below. The telephone sounds after 3 seconds and he responds really well, even though I’m in the process of grooming him. Every week I’m continuing to add more everyday distractions and placing myself further away from the sound to make things harder for Chance. I’m pleased to tell you that he is responding just the same whether I’m upstairs, in the garden, doing some washing up or just chilling out in front of the TV (for training purposes only of course!).
When Chance is placed with his deaf recipient he may spend some of the working day in an office. It’s important that he is calm and relaxed in this environment, doesn’t bark at people or outside noises and behaves appropriately when people enter. To prepare for this he has been spending some time in Samantha Robinson’s – our Operations Manager – office. Chance barked at outside noises one or two times in the first couple of days, but this quickly stopped and he is now settling nicely.
On Friday Chance had his first meeting with his potential new recipient. This typically takes place soon after a dog has passed its Foundation Assessment (around week 10), which gives us time to get to know the dog and make sure their characteristics match their potential recipient’s lifestyle.
We usually invite the potential recipient to meet the dog at one our training centres, but sometimes it makes more sense to visit them at home so we can see how the dog reacts in that environment. Wherever the meet takes place, it is beneficial if the dog can stay overnight with the potential recipient.
I decided that Chance should meet his potential recipient in her home because she has a retired hearing dog and I wanted to see how they got on with each other in the retired dog’s home environment. It was also useful to see first-hand where Chance may be living, working and walking. I’m pleased to say that overall things went very well and Chance will be continuing his training for this applicant.
He got on well with the older dog and for the most part they were quite relaxed around each other. There were a couple of occasions when Chance got excited and a little too playful with the old fella, but he soon made sure Chance knew the house rules!
During the rest of the meet we spent some time relaxing with Chance in the house, going for walks both on and off-lead, and we visited a youth club where the potential recipient volunteers. I also demonstrated the commands I use with Chance and we spoke about his personality to make sure the potential recipient was comfortable with how he would fit into her lifestyle. I also checked to see if there were any new sounds she needed Chance to learn (which in this case there weren’t) and we went through a few bits of paperwork.
At the end of the day I left Chance to spend his first night in his potential recipient’s home while I headed off to a B&B for a chilled Friday night. We all caught up again after breakfast on Saturday (I had a full English for those who are wondering) and I was pleased to learn that Chance settled well and had a good sleep. Around lunchtime we headed home, which just about brings us to the end of our week 13 update.
But before I head off, I wanted to answer one of your questions about how we match our dogs to their recipients.
How exactly do you match someone to a dog? What do you look for from the recipient? How can you tell they will be a good match?
Matching can be tricky and take some time. I will look at the paperwork related to the possible applicants; this includes their initial home evaluation (and their work evaluation if relevant) as well as their on-site assessment.
These evaluations give us an idea of the potential recipient’s lifestyle – for example what hobbies they have, what towns they visit, what pets they have, what sort of public transport they use and what type of dog suits them best in terms of breed, size and personality.
So for example, if a dog is worried travelling on the underground we would not give it to someone who takes the tube to work. If the applicant is physically only able to walk the dog for short distances off the lead we would not give them an energetic dog that requires lots of exercise. If a dog is really good around children then we may place it with a family. If they are well behaved around cats then we may try and place it with someone who owns cats. And so on.
It is always tricky to tell if it will be a good match when you look at the paperwork and evaluations. This is why we have the overnight meet, such as the one explained above. It gives everybody involved a much better idea if it is a suitable match.
Thanks for your question.
See all Training Blog updates >
Sponsor a puppy
If you'd like to sponsor a dog like Chance through their training program to become a life-changing hearing dog puppy we have two gorgeous pups available for you to sponsor right now. You'll receive a welcome pack with pictures of your chosen puppy plus lots of goodies, then you’ll receive regular updates as they progress through training.
This gorgeous little yellow Labrador puppy is Isaac, who is hoping that you will sponsor him as he trains to become a hearing dog.
Isaac is an adorable, chunky puppy who loves cuddles and enjoys playing with his toys. He is a fast learner and already showing signs of great potential for the future.
This adorable yellow Labrador puppy is Indie, who is hoping that you will sponsor him as he trains to become a hearing dog.
Indie loves going out for walks and meeting other dogs, and he is a fast learner, enjoying learning the basic commands.