This week, I took Chance to London to get an idea of how he feels about the sights and sounds of a big city and also check if he is confident travelling on the London Underground. We went on the overground train into London and responded well to this. When we got there we went onto the tube. Chance was not bothered by the number of the people, the wind blowing down the tunnels or the noise of the trains, he was more concerned about when he was going to get his next treat – sitting nicely and giving me the puppy dog eyes as if to say 'aren’t I a good boy?’.
We went through Hyde Park and Chance enjoyed running around. He chased the pigeons a little more than I would have liked but he did recall nicely when I called him. He is now coming right back to me reliably and has not avoided me when I go to put the lead on which, you may remember, he was doing a lot of in the first few weeks.
We walked out of the park and on towards Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen wanted a cup of tea but unfortunately she was busy! Really, I wanted to see what Chance was like around crowds. There were even more tourists around than I was expecting. It seemed like we got to the Palace just at the point they were practicing for the jubilee procession, so there were thousands of people, guards and a marching band! Chance didn’t seem fazed by this at all which was great, so we headed back to the underground station. Through the day I continued to teach Chance to walk well on the lead and in his uniform, to leave food left on the floor and to sit or lie down at the right times and in the right areas.
Back at the Grange, I have been progressing Chance’s soundwork, and I've started to make the ‘alert’ positions harder. The aim is to make Chance confident of alerting me to a sound while I'm doing normal everyday things, such as making the bed, washing up, hoovering and sweeping the yard.
I do this by making the position gradually harder. To begin with, I sat facing him. Then I stood facing him, then I turn my back to him - with my face turned towards him - and use my voice for encouragement if I need to. After that we can progress to having my back to him and not looking at him. Then I can start slow movements (slow hoovering, sweeping movements, bed ruffling etc.). Once he is confident to alert me in these circumstances I can increase the movement until everything is in a normal, life-like manner.
I've also been thinking more about possible applicants I can match Chance with. This week, and over the next two weeks, I will be checking Chance out with various scenarios to see if he is suitable for the applicants I have in mind. For confidentiality reasons I cannot tell you exactly what scenarios I'm looking at, but I can tell you about a range of lifestyle environment training that I have done in the past with previous dogs to check their suitability with applicants.
With one of my previous training dogs, their applicant worked in an office so my dog needed to learn to settle in an office during the day and not bark when he was left or get overexcited by visitors. Another one of the dogs I have worked with spent time in an educational setting on a daily basis so I had to take the dog to meet lots of children and make sure he was happy being fussed and not bothered by unexpected noises. Sometimes we have other scenarios such as people going to judo classes, the cinema, the church, bingo, so again, we would first need to go and check they are not worried in that environment and then do follow up trips to train them to behave well in that environment. Some people have other pets, so we would need to train the dog around those types of pets they have.
On the whole, Chance was good with the environments we visited this week and behaved very well.
That’s all folks. See you next week!
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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.
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Indie loves going out for walks and meeting other dogs, and he is a fast learner, enjoying learning the basic commands.