Hector was so delighted to see his foster family, he didn't know who to go to first - Michele, her daughters, or me! Hector got lots of cuddles from the all the girls and even remembered a few tricks that Michele had taught him.
As showed in the photographs below, Hector demonstrated his obedience skills by ignoring the treat that Michele had placed on his paw. He waited patiently until she gave the command and then proceeded to 'munch away' as everyone cheered in delight.
Hector also joined another special photoshoot with some of our other dogs in training. On Thursday last week, we launched our 2012 Car Draw at a Ford dealership on Forge Hill in Cork. Hector got to pose with the brand new candy-red Ford Focus up for grabs in the draw and once again did us proud! Tickets for the draw are on sale country wide or on our website for €5 a ticket.
At the start of training, I spent time getting to know him, practiced his obedience and developed a bond of trust. During this stage, I assessed his speed of walking; his distractions levels; his mental, hearing and body sensitivities. Once settled, I had better understanding of his unique qualities and we were both ready to start straight line work.
This is teaching him to walk in a straight line until I dictate which direction to go. I taught him his left and right turns, stopping and standing at all kerbs, including edged, flat or tactile types and road crossings. A key part of crossing the road is to teach a dog to firstly find the zebra crossing. The dog then needs to cross over in a straight line in minimum time. Once safely across, the dog needs to wait for the handler’s command (i.e. left, right or straight on) and continue on.
Right shoulder work
Right Shoulder work is teaching the dog to avoid obstacles and to consider the handler as it does so. Obstacles can be stationary objects like a lamp post, wheelie bin or parked car to moving obstacles such as people, child buggies or bicycles. We also teach them how to handle a narrowing path, for example, a restricted space due to car being parked on a pavement. They are taught that if they can't fit through safely with their handler, they need to leave the path and go around the car and return safely to the pavement.
Much time is also spent on similar commands applied indoors. Indoor work includes things like finding doors, walking stairs, using escalators and elevators and avoiding obstacles like tables and chairs. During all this training, the dog learns to concentrate on the handler and follow their commands.
In the next few weeks, Hector will be “working his charm” for our SHADES annual fundraising week taking place May 7th-13th. He’ll once again meet with our campaign patron, Roy Keane and be out and about supporting our collections.
SHADES 2012 - Volunteers needed for MAY 12TH!
We’re urgently looking for volunteers to sell SHADES pins for a few hours at Tesco Stores nationwide on May 12th. Can you help out? Please let us know on e-mail email@example.com or call 1850 506 300 if you can volunteer!
In our next update, we have a very special surprise. Hector will soon be moving on to Advanced Training and we'll be able to confirm whether he'll be a guide or assistance dog! More shall be revealed...