This is Puppy Raiser Erin. It's been over a month since my first Guide Dog Puppy went into formal training at the California Campus. Freya is just flying through those phases. She's in phase 8 now.
For those of you who don't know there are 10 phases in formal Guide Dog training. In phase 8 Freya is continuing with her obedience and distraction training in different environments and with new trainers. She never really had a problem with obedience, but boy does she need work on those distractions. Besides obedience training she is now in "Advanced Harness Training" (oooo, ahhh). Her routes now include some sidewalkless places (gasp of astonishment). They have a whole system is training dogs to walk without sidewalks. Also included is Subway and Rail introduction (though she went on the train many times while with me and on the subway more than once) and escalator training. As puppies in training we aren't allowed to take them on escalators. They teach them all about this up at Guide Dogs. This is because we don't want any tails caught when, say, a seven-year-old is holding onto the leash. Her overhead obstacle avoidance training continues and she's introduced to more intensive indoor mall and store situations. The dogs in phase 8 are introduced to leash relieving on cement. Freya always was a little nervous relieving on anything but grass. I think this is because she had a relieving problem for the first few months and we wouldn't let her go anywhere but in the backyard. She's also got a vet meeting.
I always get a little nervous when she has to meet with the vet. Freya is awfully bow legged and her left eye never seemed right to me. But she passed her first medicals so I'm confident that she'll pass this one too.
Enough about my baby girl for the moment.
I have had a month (more like 6 week) break from having a puppy of my own. I've puppy sitted every weekend, so I haven't really gone throuh much of a withdrawl. But now, I am about to start another journey with another puppy.
On April 10 (that's one week!) my leader and I are going to pick up our new puppy. I say new because we are co-raising this one since my school won't let me take a puppies to school and my dad got a "new" job that requires a lot of travelling. We just got our assignment. Our puppy will be a male (I prefer the females but Mary has an intact Golden Guide in Training so we really have to have a male) yellow lab (I prefer black labs, but Freya was a black lab and I think I need to alternate between colours and breeds so I don't compare my current dog with my previous dog). His parents are Atrus and Peach. His litter letter is "R".
We don't know anything besides what letter his name will start with before we get him. Raisers don't get to choose the letter or the name. Guide Dogs names the pups for us and we just have to deal with it if we don't like the name.
I was hoping to get another Belle puppy. Belle was Freya's birth mother (as I like to call her) and she just had another litter with one yellow male. But Guide Dogs have an abundance of puppies right now and needs to get the older ones out of the kennels. My puppy will be just 12 weeks (we usually get them between 8 and 9 weeks) when I pick him up. Belle's pups will be just 8 1/2 weeks. I might have got a Belle puppy if we kept the original pick up date of April 23, but with all the puppies right now my leader and I opted to take a pup early.
I hope this means he'll sleep through the night. :)