Two months in post: updates from Seeing Dog’s new Instructor, Sue Scott
You may recall that in September, Seeing Dogs was delighted to let you know that Sue Scott, a highly experienced trainer formerly with Guide Dogs, had come on board as
an Instructor at Seeing Dogs.
We thought it you would be interested to hear how Sue has been getting along in her post, and what lies on the horizon for her at Seeing Dogs: –
“The main focus of my work to date has been training dogs. At the moment I am working with 14-month-old black Labrador, Georgie, and Midas, who is part Labrador, part yellow Golden Retriever, who I’ve had for three weeks now.
I have carried out one aftercare visit to a Seeing Dog user who lives close to me, on behalf of Lead Seeing Dog Instructor, John Grave. Whilst my client contact has been limited so far, it’s early days and that’s sure to change very soon.”
Georgie: eight weeks into training, and so far, so good!
“Georgie currently lives with me which gives me the opportunity to assess his social behaviour and look at his response to different things like people coming into his home, his behaviour towards other dogs, his food preferences, the types of toys he enjoys playing with, if he is comfortable being left alone, his lead behaviour and spending routine, and of course signs of any possible health issues. Understanding his response to things like this will help me with my consideration of how best to match Georgie with a user, although improving and perfecting his working ability is fundamental to matching him with a new oner. I am also looking to place him with volunteers at the weekend, which will give me an additional insight to his behaviour with other people in different home environments.
Working Georgie in harness allows me to assess his level and length of engagement when walking, as well as his speed and how adaptable he is to change and new routes. I can also look at what initiative he shows whilst walking along familiar routes – whether he is easily distracted and by what, and how responsive he is to the handler in order to regain his focus. I also like to see his response to being on public transport and in crowded situations, as that indicates how determined he is in decision-making.
I think Georgie’s training will last around six months, during which time many detailed reports about his progress will be written in order that we might decide when, and to whom, a placement might ultimately be made. Watch this space for more updates!”
Midas: puppy training progressing well
“We can sometimes forget how time-consuming pups can be, so all credit to the amazing volunteer raisers they do a sterling job!
When I first collected Midas from Dogs for Good on 21st September, I initially took him upstairs in my house to a small crate – something I have always done with puppies in training so I can easily bring them downstairs for a pee when they wake up. (This also prevents them from being distressed on the first few nights when they have been removed from the litter).
Midas is now sleeping downstairs in his crate and sleeps right through until morning. He lets me know if he needs to go out to toilet, but these initial unsettled nights are paying off, as he is clean in his crate and has had very few accidents in the house.
Throughout the day I also encourage him to settle in the crate after he has enjoyed some play time.
I use frozen bones with his soaked food or mix treat balls with his kibble so that he has a pleasant association with the indoor crate. Most pups will go through a chewing stage, so crate-training is ideal way to prevent any damage. The fact I also have two other dogs in the house allows me to supervise the time they have together and separate them when required.”
Staying local…. for now
“Until Midas is fully inoculated, his visits outside are limited to local trips, but everything he has been exposed to so far, he has taken in his stride! What a good boy!
So, to sum up, my first two months with Seeing Dogs have gone at steady pace and have been thoroughly enjoyable.
I will share more updates and news with you in the coming weeks and months which I hope you will enjoy reading.”