Sunday, 27 July 2014

Guide Dogs - Quip's First Coat

When I saw Quip in his very first Guide Dog coat, it must have been a proud moment for my uncle Richard. He's been working hard with his partner Julie to train Quip and it's clearly paying off.

Now 18 weeks old, Quip has been very busy this month and even took a short trip on the train, with the help of a Guide Dog supervisor called Jo. He was really good during his two hour outing and seemed to enjoy the ride into the town centre. While they were there, Richard took Quip into some of the shops and mixed with the customers. It can be quite difficult to get anywhere as a lot of people try to stroke him, but Quip took it all in his stride.

While Jo bought items, Quip made it clear to Richard that he needed to go to the toilet, so Richard took him outside so he could perform. This is an important aspect of owning a Guide Dog as blind or visually impaired people will be able to ask a dog to go to the toilet on command.

Quip was then taken into Debenhams and they used the lifts to navigate between floors. In another shop, Quip was shown the escalators which he found very interesting, although he is not allowed to use them, and he seemed surprised at the top of the escalators when he saw people coming out of the ground towards him.

When Richard and Quip went into the restaurant, Richard was a bit concerned because it was very busy. However, Jo was not phased and gave Quip a toy to keep him occupied. It was a great day out for all of them and the shops and railway line were very accommodating to both Quip and Richard.

Richard is really pleased with how Quip has been progressing and it's great that he has so much character. A lot of the Guide Dog puppies become too attached to their puppy walkers, which can be a problem when they are accessed because they won't go for a walk with the Guide Dog supervisor. However, Quip is happy to be taken out with anyone, which is a good sign.

Quip has been wearing a special collar to stop him from pulling, barking or jumping up at anyone. It's only used when needed and is a short term solution. When Quip barks or pulls, he has a tiny bit of water squirted at him. It makes him think about what he is doing and now he's very good and doesn't need  it barely at all.

He's now able to run off the lead, but is very happy to come back to Richard when he uses the whistle. He's been off half a dozen times and is really good and happily plays with other dogs.

The next thing that Richard has been doing is making Quip stand and stroking his back once he has done this. Richard puts a slight bit of pressure on Quip's back when he does this as this where the handle will go when Quip becomes a fully fledged guide dog. When they go out walking and they are about to turn a corner, Richard will say "find left" to Quip when they turn left and "find right" when they turn right.

Quip is coming along so fast now and I can't wait to find out what else he has learned next month!

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