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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Question

I keep getting these questions and this one I just couldn't wait to answer (mostly because otherwise it never would be answered!) Haha! Anyway, Kat&Holly of Making of an Angel asked me how to read the phase reports.

Now, first thing you must understand is that all service dog organizations have a different way of tracking their puppies who are in formal training. Formal Training is after the puppy has left their puppy raiser and goes to certified instructors to receive more advanced training. Now, for puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, once your puppy is in formal training he/she is almost completely off the radar for 3-5 months. The only time we hear anything about our puppy who is at their formal training is every Thursday when the phase report comes in (occassionally we'll talk to one of the trainers who happen to be training our pup but the most we get is "Oh, I really like him!" and no, sadly, we dont' get visitation rights).

Guide Dogs for the Blind has 8 phases of training (not including medicals which is classified as "phase 0"). In the back of our puppy raising manual there is a detailed list of what goes on during each phase of training (things like what new commands your puppy is learning, what they should already be doing without fail, and when their designated blindfold tests are).

This is how the phase report goes:

Name of Puppy: Puppy's ID number: Breed: Sex: Phase

So, I'll use my boy as an example:

Rocco (his name) 4Y13 (his ID number) LAB (his breed) M (he's a boy) phase: 0-8 (what part of training he is in)

Phase 8 is the last phase of training. Generally, if a raiser has a dog in phase 8 they will say that their puppy is "class ready" (or ready to become a Guide) even if they aren't too entirely sure (remember, we don't get any information about our dogs besides a little number once a week). A lot can happen in phase 8 and there are quite a few dogs who are dropped after making it that far.

Rocco is a little special though because he is no longer on the phase reports. He is what we call "in class". This means that he has been paired with his blind parter and is going through his training and initial bonding period with his partner. For GDB this class period can be 2-3 weeks. Blind clients who are getting their very first Guide are in the 3 week class and those who are on the second to their one hundred and first Guide are in the 2 week retrain class (Melanie, if you're reading, let me know if I've got that correct). For these 2-3 weeks the puppy is not on the phase report, but he's/she's still in training. The class period is a time for dog and person to bond as a team. They're working on the commands the puppy learned in training and learning each others' work habits. Then after the 2-3 weeks raisers are invited up to the campus for their graduation (where I will be this Saturday!).

I know that was a little long winded, but I wanted to answer your question as thoroughly as possible. And...I hope it did answer your question well! If I missed something again, don't hesitate to ask. When I'm not in school I have all day to do nothing!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for answering my question! It makes a lot more sense now. Thanks again!


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