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Has anyone been a "PUPPY WALKER" for GUIDE DOG PUPPIES?

(80 Posts)
RTKangaMummy Mon 07-Sep-09 12:21:05

Hello everyone

We are thinking of becoming "puppy walkers" for Guide dog puppies

They come to live with us from a tiny puppy about 6 weeks old and we then teach it and socialize it until it leaves us at 12 to 14 months old to go to the next stage of its training

Has anyone done it?

DH has had labradors all his life and I used to have a Perinean Mountain dog as a child. So we are both used to dogs etc.

smile

Alambil Mon 07-Sep-09 15:19:05

I'd love to do that but I don't think I'd be able to say goodbye!

RTKangaMummy Mon 07-Sep-09 16:36:55

That is what DH said but I have been telling him that we will be sending it off to help someone who needs its help

I know it will be hard but as I have been a nanny/childminder for years I am used to saying goodbye to the children so I think it will be simular

Esp when I lived with a family in their house for 3 years looking after the children ~ I am still in contact with the parents {he is our optician}

Also they come with their name already decided as all the puppies from the same litter have the same name so they are easier to keep track of IYSWIM

So I think if you go into it knowing you are doing a job and that you are helping it to become a good guide dog. So the more love and attention you give it in years to come it will give that love to a blind person

smile

Also you get to visit it once it has done its next set of training and the blind person sends you confirmation that it has settled in ok ~~~ although you don't get to see it again or to know where it is living IYSWIM

smile

RTKangaMummy Mon 07-Sep-09 16:51:49

mind you I may be living it "cloud cookooland"

hmm

RTKangaMummy Mon 07-Sep-09 16:52:50

mind you I may be living in "cloud cookooland"

grin

Ladygooga Mon 07-Sep-09 17:07:18

Oh def gof or it!
My mom has had 2 guide dogs over the years and I loved them so much.

You would be doing a wonderful thing for the dogs and for their future owners.

I still have 2 young children but will hopefully be a puppy walker myself when they are older.

My mom still keeps in touch with the lady who puppy walked her last dog who unfortunatly died very suddenly. She sent my mom some photo's of when he was a puppy and was such a comfort to my mom.

Definately go for it if it what you want

thesunshinesbrightly Wed 09-Sep-09 12:09:05

ohhh i wouldn't be able to give them back.

Yorky Wed 09-Sep-09 12:26:57

My grandad was blind and when he died they retired his guide dog and she lived with us till I was 11. I have always wanted to do this but when I contacted them before going on maternity leave with DS they said I couldn't do it as you have to teach the dog/puppy to walk nicely and catch buses etc and you have to give your full attention to the dog so you can't do it with a buggy
Gutted!
Good luck to you, its a great thing to offer

RTKangaMummy Mon 16-Nov-09 16:02:43

Hello

I had the assessment interview this morning and that went well.

I hear at the end of this week or the beginning of next week

wannaBe Mon 16-Nov-09 16:16:38

I am a guide dog owner and will soon be training with my third dog (second dog unfortunately having to retire early but that's another story).

I think a good puppywalker ultimately makes a good guide dog esp in the sociability steaks i.e. if a puppy has been well socialized in the home/out and about with other dogs/people/in all other areas it has to work in then it will most likely have few issues as a working guide dog.

The thing I would find hard would be to put the dog through the hard bits ie the house training/going through the chewing etc, then just getting it to a manageable age then having to give it back. grin but obviously thousands of puppywalkers do it so there must be people out there able to detach.

And ultimately if you find that giving the puppy up is too hard then you don't have to do it again, or alternatively you may choose to do it again and once you give the dog back then you will have a new puppy to look forward to.

Good luck.

RTKangaMummy Mon 16-Nov-09 20:47:45

Thanks for your info and tips about the end product

I am very excited about it ~ just hope our 2 cats are ok with the puppy

smile

BellaBonJovi Tue 17-Nov-09 19:26:49

Lab pups are easy prey for kitty cats grin

No, seriously, I saw a book at the weekend called Training Pups the Guide Dog Way (or something like that) - you might want to swot up? grin

Best of luck wink

RTKangaMummy Tue 17-Nov-09 19:42:59

I was told it is good if the cats swipe the puppy but ours are more likely to run away or keep out of its way

Will look that book out ~ thanks

smile

gagamama Wed 18-Nov-09 14:50:46

My mum used to be a puppy walker (alongside childminding,too!) when I lived at home. Really lovely thing to do. Is is hard to give them back at the end, but you know from the beginning that that's the case, so it's no big suprise, and you know it's for the greater good. It's SO much fun though, the puppies are gorgeous and naughty and hilarious, plus you have a supervisor (like a doggy health visitor!) who will visit every few weeks to give help and guidance. Of course there's the toilet training and the chewing stage, but the rewards are so enormous. It's fun to take them in shops and on trains and see them experience all sorts of things for the fist time, and it's lovely when people approach you in the street full of admiration for what you're doing.

As my dad and brother quickly found out, there's no need to get a flashy sports car to become a babe magnet - just carry around a tiny fluffy bundle of labrador!

My mum's last guide dog puppy was placed with an owner but he (the dog) was very nervous and wasn't suitable as a working guide dog. He was offered back to our family and is now an adored family pet.

Good luck with it!

gagamama Wed 18-Nov-09 15:04:33

I'd love to do it myself one day, but my DCs are too young - I think they have to be over about 10 really or else they don't truly understand or appreciate what's involved. I think I was 11 when we got our first. I cried for a whole day when he went away, but we did get to go and see him again at the open day for the training centre, which was nice. It's best to line up a new pup for when the old one goes - my parents never did this though because they always wanted to go on holiday before moving onto the next one!

There are lots of nifty tips that the GDBA use to train the dogs, things that I have carried on using with my own dog. Things like going to the toilet on demand ('busy' for number 1s and 'big busy' for number 2s!), blowing a whistle before they can eat from their bowl (to help associate the whistle with food, which aids recall), allowing a hand into their food bowl to prevent agression and posessiveness, not feeding tidbits, etc.

purpleturtle Wed 18-Nov-09 15:11:06

I've wanted to do this for a while - but small children have put me off thus far. Maybe feasible now ds2 is 3 though? However, several friends have recently embarked on puppy ownership, and their experiences have put me off a bit.

Is a year enough time to feel some of the hard work paying off?

RTKangaMummy Wed 18-Nov-09 18:29:26

Thanks for the stories and info

smile

I hope we are approved next week

My main worry is the cats as I don't want to upset them

I am glad the puppy comes with a crate as that will make it easier on the cats and it isn't allowed upstairs ~ we have a stairgate ~ but the cats come upstairs especially in the mornings when they want feeding smile

RTKangaMummy Wed 18-Nov-09 18:32:36

Kangaboy is 14 so he is old enough to understand what and why we are doing it

He will like the "babe magnet" part of it although he isn't allowed to take the puppy out alone ~ until he is 16

grin

RTKangaMummy Thu 19-Nov-09 13:28:36

Those of you who have had experience of guide puppies please could you tell me what the routine that the puppies had during the day

Thanks

smile

gagamama Thu 19-Nov-09 15:49:00

It depends on how old they are, Kanga, obviously a 6 week old will have a different routine to an 8 month old (just like babies!) But basically, they start off with 3 feeds a day which eventually drops to 2. They need to be let out for a 'busy' after each feed and regularly during the day (although, again, this depends on their age and ability to control their bladder).

Once they've had their jabs and can walk outside, they usually need at least a walk a day. I can't remember exactly what they recommend, but it's nothing ridiculous. Your supervisor will advise you when the puppy is ready to be let off the lead and will probably accompany you for the first time you let him off. It's also good to fit in as many 'experiences' for the pup as you can - trains, supermarkets, school gates, brass bands, police sirens, etc. and just general socialisation - but there's not some kind of strict list of things to do and when.

The rest of the time, they're just like a normal pet dog. They'll need to play lots and sleep lots and will probably chew your home to shreds and eat items you never considered remotely edible (twenty pound notes, venus fly traps and sunglasses, that kind of thing).

A 'routine' as such isn't really encouraged, because the dogs really need to be as flexible and resillient as possible for when they're working Guide Dogs who will have to adapt to whatever life brings with their owner. Obviously you can't leave them for long (I think 4 hours was the max they recommended) but they're not really any more demanding than any other puppy. In some ways less so, because you have someone following your progress who will always be able to share tips and offer their wisdom.

I'm excited for you! Let us know how you get on.

RTKangaMummy Thu 19-Nov-09 16:02:36

Thank you for all the info

I was concerned that I was just looking at it thru rose coloured glasses and hadn't thought of the committment required

But I think I had realised everything on your list

A deffo brill point about routine should be flexible cos of the final owner will be different

Thanks

smile

RTKangaMummy Fri 20-Nov-09 13:51:59

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

WE HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am so excited

Hopefully in January we will have a lab puppy to train to be a guide dog

We have to go on a waiting list ~ but hopefully it will be in the New Year

smilesmilesmilesmile

We have to make a fenced pen in the garden for it to use as a toilet beforehand

smile

BellaBonJovi Fri 20-Nov-09 13:53:11

Knew you would be wink

Many congratulations - we'll need pics in due course too! grin

RTKangaMummy Fri 20-Nov-09 13:55:17

Thanks

smile

Kangaboy also wants to put a photo of the puppy as his facebook page photo

smile

BellaBonJovi Fri 20-Nov-09 13:58:12

He's taken the babe magnet thing to heart then, hasn't he? grin

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