Special thanks to Michele Munnelly, Hector's Volunteer Puppy Walker, who not only did a sterling job of socialising and training Hector, but also maintained our blog for the first 12 months of his life. Now that he's well and settled into his routine, we're ready to give you regular updates on his progress towards becoming a guide or assistance dog!
Around mid January, Hector left his home with the Munnelly's in Dublin and returned to our HQ in Cork. It's always great to welcome our pups back after their 12 months away with their Volunteer Puppy Walkers. So much has changed as they have grown tremendously during this important stage of their development. Having to say goodbye is tough for our volunteers, but each year, they bravely tackle the task of returning them to us motivated by the fact that their fostered pup will one day become someone's life changing partner.
responsible for his care during his stay with us. She ensures he's well fed and
groomed, gets his regular veterinary inspections and is settled in his new
Kennel. After some play time and dinner, Hector cuddled in for his first night and got some well deserved rest.
initially as we started to get to know each other. I introduced him to the other dogs in my group and got him settled with his Kennel buddy Tilly. We worked on commands such as sits and downs which was met with treats and lots of praise. He was eager to please and I wanted to ensure that he settled in well.
Hector's got a lovely temperament. He is very willing and responsive to my commands. He's still young and so can get distracted at times. He's very curious so people and activity can sometimes draw his attention away. I'm not too concerned as he's still maturing and this will become less of an issue as he progresses through his training. He especially loves attention and so many people stop us when we're out to talk about how handsome he is (which he of course loves). He enjoys cuddles and praise and shows his delight with a vigarous bout of tail wagging. In the beginning, other dogs were a big distraction, which is understandable considering that he's surrounded by so many here at HQ. A firm tone of voice with the command to go "straight on" gets him back on track. We have developed a good bond and he shows his respect for me as his trainer by trying very hard to listen.
In my next blog, I'll tell you a bit more about what Hector's been learning and includes some photographs of him in action while training!