We had a surprise visit from Sonya O'Sullivan this week.  She dropped in with her daughter to see how Hector was getting on with his training.  She was very impressed at how mature he looked.  

At this stage I have now started attachments. I  ask one of my colleagues to play the role of a  child.  Tara kindly agreed to be my child in the photo below and she is  attached to Hector using a belt around her waist and an attachment lead attached  to Hector’s jacket.  We start nice  and gently asking Hector to do his work with two people on either side of him.  Gradually I ask Tara to  overstep the kerb or drop the handle and run and as she does so I give Hector  instructions.  Tara will also do typical child behaviours such as skipping, tapping, picking up sticks and waving them.  Gradually I will ask her to do more intense behaviours such as turning and shouting.  I will see how Hector copes with these. 
After a few weeks I will attach a child to Hector.  I use my young niece and nephew for this along with some of my colleague’s relations.  The children will do more natural child behaviours and can be more  unpredictable. The dogs also will have no respect for the child so I need to be sure that they behave themselves and will not try to take advantage.  After another few sessions I will attach Hector to a child with Autism to get the most realistic experience.

Over the 11 weeks I will take each of my 5 dogs home individually for a
couple of nights.  I took Hector
home for a couple of nights to see how he settled in and to see if he had developed any bad habits like chewing, crying, barking or landscaping.  It was also a good way to see how he behaved while travelling in the car.  He was very well behaved and we had a few fun play sessions.  He is still fond of chasing his tail!
I have also started looking at the matching process where by I match Hector to a suitable family. I will update you on this process soon.

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    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