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Monday, May 20, 2013

Frankie Update #2

Frankie checked back in at home after being in formal training for almost two whole months! Gosh, it was such a long wait and I kept having to tell myself, "No news is good news." But let me tell you, it was all totally worth the wait!

Frankie's trainer sent a lovely letter to his walkers and they were kind enough to share it with me. I've copied and pasted it below for you. 

"I am writing to update you on Frankie's progress a the Forfar Training Centre. As you know he settled into kennels well and mixed find with the other dogs in my pack. He bonded very quickly with me and was always eager to come out and learn. He showed a good understanding of all obedience commands. I worked on his stands, making them more solid. I taught him house obedience which he picked up quickly. I then took him to supermarkets where again he showed nice obedience and responded well to new commands. Once I felt I was receiving all the responses that I was expecting I introduced him to harness walks.

Frankie is a very bright boy who enjoys learning. I have taught him to stop and sit at all curbs which he is now doing with no prompt from myself and does not break the sit until he is asked to move off. On the rare occasion he he over steps a curb I will re approach and give a little stumble or drip to make him realize that there is a consequence for his mistake, however he is such a good boy he seldom makes any mistakes!!HE is demonstrating a good understanding of the straight line principle and does not go around any corners unless asked to change direction. I taught him some new commands to teach him to avoid obstacles and people, he is starting to make decisions himself to avoid theses giving my right hand side plenty clearance so I don't bang into anything. If the pavement is blocked or a gap is too small for us to safely fit through he will stand and wait till it is safe to move off again.

As you mentioned to me on the phone Frankie was sometimes a bit dog distracted. However I have found him very easy to control and he has only required a couple of telling's off for being distracted by dogs! He generally works past dogs and birds without me saying anything to him he is so keen to get his guiding work correct he does not seem to bother about being distracted. Frankie loves working in all environments especially city conditions where he enjoys finding his way safely through crowds of people. I plan on testing his knowledge by doing a blindfold walk this will tell me if there is anything I have to work on although I am sure he will participate to a good standard. Frankie has excellent social behaviour and lies down and goes to sleep straight away in cafes. He will confidently work around shops and really anjoys finding the doors etc. He also has very good recall and enjoys working to a free run area and then working back to the centre again. 

Frankie has been clean on all his walks and uses the concrete runs very well. I have taken him on a bus and train journey where he curled up and went to sleep! Frankie has been completely sound since he has come in for training. I know you were a little concerned about his reaction to a loud noise when out one day with you but you will be glad to hear that I have seen no reaction to any noises, he is always very confident and relaxed.

I can't thank you enough for all the work you have put into Frankie he had a very good understanding of obedience commands and lead work he is also very well behaved in social situations and on transport. This highlights the hard work you have put into him during his time at puppy walk. By having a good standard of obedience and manners greatly helps a dog settle into training and also makes my life much easier when teaching the guiding role, so thank you very much.

Frankie has been a complete pleasure to train and wish there was more like him!!! He really is a little sweetheart and will be very useful boy for someone.

All things going well Frankie should move onto an instructor in July. I will contact you before then to give you the opportunity to come and see him working if you wish to do so.

Can I take this opportunity to thank you again for all your time and dedication with Frankie."

He's just rockin' it isn't he!? I'm so super proud of my sweet, sensitive, amazing boy! He's going to make someone so, so happy! Unfortunately, I don't know if I'll get to see him again on the visitation day. It will most likely be sometime in July when I will be back State-side. But I just know that he knows how much I miss him.

Just as a comparison; I really like this way of communicating with the raisers. While it took two months to get an update, it was so personal. It is so nice to know exactly how the puppy is doing and what they are working on. I do like the detailed phase description that GDB gives us and the weekly update that comes with it, but there is no personal connection. I think it would be great to have this sort of personal letter back home from our puppy's trainer.

Thing I miss about Frankie #2: His cuddles. He was such a good cuddler. 
Frankie cuddling into my shoulder at about 8 months

Frankie snuggling

Frankie sleeping on my legs

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