Hector, 27th January 2011
Welcome to my very 1st blog! I hope you will follow us to see what we get up to, track our progress and check out all the people we meet and places we go.

Hector arrived on the 14th of December.  He was just 8 weeks old and weighed just under 6kgs.  His mother is a German Shepherd named Pippa and his father is a Golden Retriever named Lewis.  They call this mix 'Golden-Shepherd'. He travelled up from Cork with some of his other siblings and a few other pups from a different litter. Along with Hector I also received a bag of collars, leads, grooming materials, his medical card with instructions for his vaccines and his flea and worm treatments.  Along with all of that was his dog crate and puppy food.  We were all set up and ready to go.

We have had a very busy few weeks with Hector since he arrived.  He is cute, adorable, fun and energetic and quite a smart fellow too. We have been to Galway in that snow blizzard the Friday before Christmas Eve to do a radio interview with the very popular Hector O'hEochagain.  We had a blast there, meeting all the crew from the station, we did the interview, which was a whirlwind to me. It all happened so fast!  I was a little nervous leading up to the interview, but in the end, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  It was over in a matter of seconds and the 2FM Crew are a great bunch of people.  Of course, young Hector who was only 8 weeks old at the time I think he did really well.  He did have a few whimpers but held it together really well.  There were then what seemed like hundreds of photos taken at the studio and down by the Spanish Arch in the freezing cold.  He was a bit overwhelmed but with lots of cuddles and a nice warm blanket he was fine.  Hector and Hector made the National papers the next day.

Hector:  I thought I was really photogenic and the girls from AA Road watch really fancied me.  Not sure about that fellow Hector though he just might get in my way with the ladies!! 

After that it was straight into Christmas and basic training.  We taught Hector some basic commands like sit, wait, come, busy-busy for toilet training, and got him used to the sound of the whistle at feeding time (the whistle is an essential tool in further training). 

Hector:  I have to say I thought I was a bit of a wizard at that toilet training, even though I say so myself, only 2 night time accidents since I arrived and and not one pooh accident, how amazing is that.  I know your all jealous now and want me instead of your own dog.

Two weeks after Christmas Hector got a tummy bug and had to go on a special food and antibiotics.  Since then he has been okay but he has to stay on what looks like rabbit food for a bit longer.  Fortunately he loves his grub and he gobbles down the lot, he is obviously not too fussy.

Hector:  Thats what they think, the food, it's just okay, a nice juicy steak would go down a whole lot better.
He has also learned to walk on the lead.  In the beginning he was not great, sitting down and looking to go back home.  Patience, some treats and perseverance have paid off.  He doesn't stop quite so much now.  This morning we went for a walk and a ride on a bus.  That was really tiring so he went for a snooze.
Hector having a snooze in his cosy dog crate after our walk and bus ride this morning

Nikita and Hector chilling out.
Just after Christmas Hector got a new friend, Nikita.  She is a week younger than Hector and is a labrador-retriever cross.  She also is a guide dog pup.  She like most women has the upper hand and is now the "boss".
They have met a number of times and have had great fun together.

On Friday the 21st of January we got an invitation for volunteers to go into the Mansion House to meet the Lord Mayor.  This was really nice with lots of well known faces and some new.  Everyone had their pups or working dogs with them.  
There were photos taken with Clive the Assistance dog and Hector with the LOrd Mayor as seen here.  We also got to meet one of the very first Assistance Dogs "Bibo"in the country.  
Hector was really well behaved but I know it was because he was exhausted having spent the whole  afternoon with Nikita.

Hector: What! Do you think I am not a good dog all the time.  I really loved the Mayors big chains, I sooo wanted to grab them and run.   Look at me I look like butter wouldn't melt in my mouth!!!

Tomorrow we are going to puppy class.  This is normally good fun and very tiring.  So many pups to play with plus some work to get done, I am not sure what we will be doing but it is always interesting.  You also get to meet other P.W.'s and swap information and get to sort out problems you might be having with your pup.  Then we just might go for a coffee in the local coffee shop with Nikita and her Mummy.  

Hector:  I am going to meet my sister at puppy class, she was at the last one and I am sure the infamous Nikita will be here also to boss me around!!

    About this Blog

    Welcome to Puppy Hector's Blog:
    Follow RTE 2fm's "Breakfast with Hector" adopted pup's progress as he trains to become a guide dog for a person living with sight loss or an assistance dog for families of children with autism.

    RTE 2fm & Hector Ó hEochagáin:
      RTE 2fm's Breakfast Show Crew and host Hector ÓhEochagáin have been supporting pup Hector since adopting him at 8 weeks of age. During the last year, they have been helping us create awareness about our work and just what goes into into training a guide dog. Their support has been invaluable and has helped to raise much needed funds towards Hector's training. 

    About the Blog Authors, Susan Turtle and Michele Munnelly:
    Susan Turtle has been with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind as a trainer for over
    13 years. Puppy Hector joined her in January this year to commence Early
    Training. She'll be keeping you posted on his progress over the next few months. Prior to January, Hector was with Volunteer Puppy Walker, Michele Munnelly who helped him get started
    on his journey to becoming a guide or assistance dog.  

    About Puppy Hector:
    Hector was born on 17 October 2010 and is German Shepherd x Golden Retriever. He is an intelligent, lively dog destined to become a life changing partner to a person living with sight loss or a family of a child with autism.   

    The role of a Puppy Walker:
    A Volunteer PW fosters a pup
    from 8 weeks of age to 12 months. During this time, the
    pup becomes part of their lives
    at home. A PW cares for and trains the pup to become a well rounded, confident, calm, willing, mannerly and socially acceptable dog.  The main focus
    is on obedience and socialisation, ensuring the pup is comfortable in many different environments like shops, restaurants, buses, trains, busy streets and malls etc.  Also the dog must get on with and not be distracted by people and other animals.  All of this provides the pup with a solid foundation for their future training and role as a guide or assistance dog. All training is done through positive reinforcement, learning should
    be fun, "a happy pup is a willing pup".

    Supported by PW Supervisors:
    Volunteer PWs are supported by our PW Supervisors who provide training and ongoing guidance. This is done through practical Puppy Training Classes, home visits and one‐on‐one training in supermarkets, shops, train
    stations etc.  The PW Supervisors provide valuable guidance and support to help equip our Volunteers for the task at hand and to monitor each pup's progress. All veterinary fees and feeding costs are covered by The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind along with placing pups in homes when Volunteer PW's go on holidays.

    Come on and become a Puppy Walker for Irish Guide Dogs!
    It is a commitment but one that is rewarding and great fun!
    Go to www.guidedogs.ie to apply!


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guidehector@gmail.com www.puppyhector.weebly.com Hector having a snooze in his cozy dog crate after our walk and bus ride this morning