LEARNING NEW THINGS EVERYDAY…
At SA Guide-dogs we have puppy class for 13 weeks on Wednesdays. In January we got our microchips the one week and immunizations the following week.
The next week we went to an important company who is one of the wonderful sponsors of SAGA. The people were all so friendly and everyone wanted to touch us and told us how beautiful we are. The ladies were dressed smartly with high heels and corporate clothes but they did not mind one bit about getting our hair on them. They brought us big bowls of refreshing water and some of us even lay down in it a bit to cool off.
On weekends I also go to puppy class to make friends and to get used to other dogs of all shapes and sizes. My handler is very proud of me because I can already do many of the things the other “ordinary” puppies still have to learn. Some of them are not even housetrained yet, man! One of the first things I learnt was do a “busy” on command.
Some of the “fancy” breeds seem a bit slower to realize the more you please the humans by doing what they want, the more eager the humans are to give you treats. Mom says some of them are mostly ornamental but it is important for all dogs to be trained on some level. Dad calls dogs that are carried everywhere “armpit dogs” and says some of them look like shoe brushes. I suppose e they will always be pets and will not grow up to be working dogs like me and my brothers and sisters and their owners do not expect so much of them.
I find it easier to walk with a human on a leash now that I know what they want me to do. My next challenge is to learn not to pull on the leash because the puppy supervisor says I pull on the leash like a steam locomotive. Oh boy, so many things that you have to learn… At puppy class we also have to get used to lie in a comfort position and to be calm while we are groomed, and while our ears, teeth, paws and bodies are inspected all over. My humans also clipped some of my toenails the other day so I get used to it from a young age already.
I love the attention, but one of my dog sisters apparently has to learn to tolerate being brushed. She just cannot stand it I heard her puppy walker share with the puppy supervisor. So they will work on that with her.
Last week we took turns to go up and down open stairs for the first time at a shopping centre. And let me tell you, it was quite an experience. Going down was better, but going up! Man, that was nerve-wrecking!
You can see right through the steel and SEE the ground and the cars and plants way below. Mom and the puppy supervisor stayed with us all the way and gave us treats for encouragement. It helped to know they were right there, even lifting our paws and holding us to make us feel safe. And there were little bits of treats on the steps that you could eat as you went up the stairs. Before you know it, you made it to the landing and everyone made a big fuss because you were so brave.
We also visited a pre-school where many miniature humans move around all the time making high-pitched noises. Took a bit of getting used to that place. Us puppies stayed close to our puppy walkers for safety and protection. The small noisy humans gave us treats to eat out of their open little hands for us to get used to them and for them to get used to us in turn and to learn about us too.
Well you will hear from me again in a few weeks’ time as we grow and learn everyday.
Tenille, Guide dog puppy in Training.