We're so pleased to find out that our guide dog puppy Keller has settled in with his puppy walker Violet, and he's doing very well. Volunteer puppy walkers are a crucial part of guide dog training, as they introduce pups to new experiences and people to teach them the skills needed for their important role.
Each year around 3,500 volunteer puppy walkers devote their time, love and energy to provide a home and training to a guide dog puppy.
They help teach essential skills such as obedience, recall and how to avoid distractions - as well as the all-important house training!
Keller's Puppy Training Supervisor Claire Genis says: "He's made a lovely start in his puppy training with Violet. Keller is her first guide dog puppy so they are finding their feet (and paws) together! She has her grandchildren every Thursday before and after school and Keller loves playing with them. He also loves cuddles and all his soft toys."?
So how does it all work?
- From around seven weeks old, pups go to live with their puppy walkers. They work on house training, introducing a collar and lead and meeting plenty of people! Together they attend classes run by Guide Dogs where they learn obedience, training commands and how to gain their dog's attention when faced with distractions.
- By the time youngsters reach six months old, they will be used to modern life - from traffic to urban obstacles - as well as people and animals, and will have learnt to walk on a lead without excessive pulling.
- By 10 months old, they've visited a huge range of environments and should have mastered resisting temptation -such as not leaping up at food in cafes! Pups' personalities shine through, and it's possible to work out whether they have true guide dog potential.
- With so many new skills for puppies to learn, it's important that puppy walkers are reassuring, confident and above all, patient. Keller is certainly in safe hands with his new family, where he'll stay for around 12 months before going on to a Guide Dog Training School, and hopefully becoming someone's lifetime companion.
This incredible work is entirely thanks to public generosity, especially gifts left in Wills. It's a lovely thought that money left in your Will can change people's lives with the freedom a guide dog brings.
To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, contact Guide Dogs on 0845 603 1477 or visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/giftsinwills
How to help Keller on his journey
Following Keller from bouncy puppy to guide dog has been made possible by your donations:
ONLINE: Yours Puppy donation
CALL: 0870 240 6993 (quoting the reference ‘Yours Puppy’)
TEXT: YOURS to 70020 to give £3*
POST: Freepost Plus RTCG-GHHH-YBUG, Yours Puppy, Guide Dogs, Hillfields, Reading Road, Burghfield Common, Reading, RG7 3YG. Make your cheque payable to ‘Guide Dogs’ and write ‘Yours puppy’ on the back (please include your name and address).
*You will be charged £3 plus one message at your standard rate. The appeal will receive 99-100 percent of your donation, depending on your provider. By using this service you agree that Guide Dogs may call you in the future. If you’d rather they didn’t, please text NOTHANKS to 83310, UK mobiles only