Latest pupdate on Ava, our Guide Dog puppy
Our Guide Dog puppy Ava has moved on from puppy walking and is now at the Redbridge training school, under the care of trainer Georgina.
She’s settled well in kennels already, sharing with a Labrador called Victor, and Georgina says they make a great duo. “Ava’s a bit smaller than some of the other labradoodles we have here so she looks quite young in comparison. She’s a lovely little girl,” Georgina says.
Ava has a nice understanding of obedience and Georgina has already introduced clicker training. Georgina says “She walks really nicely to heel and we’ve been practising lots of turns to make sure she stays focused on the lead.” However she’s still a bouncy puppy it seems; Georgina says she’s been jumping up at people on occasions, so she’ll be working to encourage her out of that habit. “She has lots of energy and enthusiasm so I’ll channel that into her work and exercise. She absolutely loves squeaky toys which will make a great incentive for end of training session playtime,” says Georgina.
Over the next few weeks the pair will train at the training school, as well as introducing Ava to wearing the harness. They’ll then progress to training offsite in quiet areas where they can start to practise stopping at the kerb and obstacle avoidance. They’ll gradually build up to more demanding environments and Georgina will reduce the level of support she gives Ava so she starts thinking for herself when guiding. It’s a steep learning curve for Ava but we’re sure she’s up to the job!
When they go offsite, Ava will often travel in a Guide Dogs van so Georgina has been familiarising her with that. “We’ll play games where Ava jumps in and out of the van with lots of fuss and toys. I’ve sat in there for a cuddle with her so she sees it as a really positive space now. She’s happy to travel about,” says Georgina.
We’re really excited to see how Ava is one step closer to becoming a qualified guide dog and changing the life of someone with sight loss.
To learn more about sponsoring a Guide Dog puppy click here