I’m obsessed with the ways dogs can change human lives and over the last few months I’ve been talking with the brilliant charity, Dogs for Good, who train assistance dogs to help improve the lives of people and even communities. Then the best thing happened!! I was invited to attend one of their puppy training classes at their Headquarters! Could this be the best day ever?!! Take a peek as I went behind the scenes and let me introduce you to four puppies who are hopefully going to change the lives of people in the future!
WHO ARE DOGS FOR GOOD?
For those of you who don’t know, Dogs for Good is an incredible charity helping to educate, train and provide dogs who will help humans in a variety of ways by becoming…
AN ASSISTANCE DOG
Their dogs are trained to support adults and children with physical disabilities and children with autism, allowing them to lead more independent lives at home and in the community.
A FAMILY DOG
The PAWS Family Dog service provides support to people who want a pet dog to help them overcome specific problems within families.
A COMMUNITY DOG
The Community Dog Service helps adults and children to overcome specific challenges and develop life skills e.g. helping to conquer a fear of dogs.
As their motto goes “Incredible things happen when you bring people and dogs together.” We couldn’t agree more.
ASSISTANCE DOGS OF THE FUTURE!
Achieving the skills needed for any of the roles above doesn’t just happen overnight. That’s why Dogs for Good have a special puppy programme, helping puppies acquire the skills they’ll need via the help of specialist puppy trainers and puppy socialising volunteers. So now you know a little more about Dogs for Good, we think you’ve been patient enough…It’s time for you to meet the four little six month old cuties we were lucky enough to spend time with! Come and meet some of the Dogs for Good stars of the future * WARNING: These puppies are seriously cute.
WHAT HAPPENED IN TRAINING?
The session we attended was all about introducing the puppies to a number of skills they’ll need to develop if they’re to become an assistance or community dog. Everything is based on fun activities so the puppies enjoy what they’re doing (they don’t really see it as learning, just an exciting game with their friends nearby!) Their tails didn’t stop wagging!
1) The Art of Resistance
One such task was learning the art of resistance (wish I could resist the urge to eat chocolate and I wish Ted & Millie could resist the urge to eat bird poop!) During this lesson, the pups had to resist eating a treat and learn to gain eye contact with their handler before they were allowed to eat it. Eye contact is extremely important in the life of an assistance dog, as their future handlers will require this connection when undertaking day to day tasks.
A fun game of hide the treat helped them learn this!! The pups obviously tried to use their noses and paws to get the treat from underneath their handlers hand, but they soon learnt if they waited patiently and gained eye contact with their handler, they would eventually receive the treat. It was amazing to see how quickly the puppies progressed with this. Some even excelled further as the treat was placed near to them, without being covered by the handlers hand. Amazing!
2) Walking on the lead
Learning to walk gently on the lead is another key skill these pups will need. Some handlers may not have a lot of strength in their hands, therefore it’s so important the puppies learn to be gentle and also use eye contact with their handler to undertake tasks (e.g. not to rely on being pulled in a particular direction). This was achieved via a fun obstacle course. The puppies were divided into teams of two. Cones were laid out for them to navigate through, while the handler held the dog lead in one hand and a full cup of water in the other. At the end of the course, any remaining water was poured into a jug. The team who filled the jug first, won! Needless to say there were a few spills but they all did so well.
3) Problem Solving
Meeting new obstacles and problem solving are other skills many of these puppies will need to help them succeed as an assistance dog. This was achieved using fun toys such as a kong ball, where the puppies needed to work out how to reach the treat as well as introducing them to unusual objects.
Check out our fun video from behind the scenes to see more of these gorgeous puppies in action…
A huge thank you to Dogs for Good for inviting me to spend time at their Headquarters. It was such a privilege to witness just some of the hard work which goes into helping prepare these puppies for the life- changing role which they may play in someone’s life.
If you’d like to learn more about the amazing work of Dogs for Good, you can do so HERE.
GOOD LUCK MAJOR, NELSON, LILLY & NIAMH.
You are truly special dogs xxx
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