Following on from our last entry, Hector has been very busy as always 
(between training and meeting people!). The big news is that Hector will be
going on to advanced training as a potential Assistance Dog for a children with
autism.

We made the decision to progress Hector on the ASSISTANCE DOG 
PROGRAMME
based on Hector qualities. So why did we make this decision?
Hector has been working very well for me and he is a very bright dog. Hector has been learning his training tasks very quickly. He is relaxed and is exceptionally
good with children. This makes him an ideal candidate for the Assistance Dog Programme.
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I am delighted that Hector is moving up in the world and I am sure that he will do very well with his new Assitance Dog Instructor.

I have been working with Hector on developing his training tasks such as stopping at any kerbs that we come across, walking in a straight line, his commands 'left' for turning left and 'right' for turning right. This is initially taught, where possible, at kerbs as we want to encourage straight crossings, so that we spend the minimum time in the road.

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As his training develops, his concentration improves for the training tasks that he is learning, and so his distraction levels come down and the less support the handler gives him. Before he goes on to advanced training, I want him to be able to do all the tasks with as little input from the handler. This makes him an easy dog for someone with less experience to handle. I have also been working on Hector's social behaviour in coffee shops / resturants, as it is important that the dog lies down beside the handler or under the table and does not look for food.

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Hector and SHADES   

We launched SHADES, our annual fundraising campaign earlier this month and Hector travelled to Dublin to attend. Our 10th annual SHADES fundraising campaign got off to a great start with the help of long standing supporter Roy Keane, and we got a shot of Hector & Roy at the launch.  

At the launch Roy praised our work saying, “It’s amazing to see the incredible difference a guide or assistance dog makes to an individual or family.  I’m a great admirer of their work and the effort put in by their volunteers and staff in making a difference to others". It was lovely to hear this from Roy and meant a lot to
all the team.   We met with Hector Ó hEochagáin and he was delighted to see him and he coudnt believe how much he had grown and also how calm and mature he had become.

In the next blog we will introduce Hectors new instructor....

    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