Monday, July 26, 2010

Dogged Progress in Training but we are Doggone Tired

July 1st we received Hunter from The Seeing Eye organization.  We volunteered to be puppy raisers for them.  The deal is that we get a pup, we house break them, train them in some basic commands they need to know and then between 14 and 20 months The Seeing Eye comes back for them and takes them back to continue their training at the Morristown NJ campus.  The program is amazing and the family is very interested in how these dogs can become trained to guide a blind person through so many dangerous obstacles.  We attended Family day a couple of years ago and saw the intense training the dogs go through in preparation for becoming a guide dog.  We heard from people who have received these dogs and how they have changes their lives.  It was inspiring.
We also were fortunate to have seen the process first hand when our niece raised two of these dogs and we watched the progress of these animals.
Now we have Hunter.  He's called a Cross, (or a X) because he was a mix between a lab and a golden.  Everyone I have met so far tell me that this combination is very intelligent and that the program has great success with these animals.  All I know is he came to us at 8 weeks and was very calm and already sat on command.  He seems very responsive to training and seems willing to work.  He is about 11 weeks old now and seems to be showing a rebellious side, but I think he is just being a puppy.  Overall, he is focused and looking to please us.  He isn't spooked by loud noises such as thunder storms or vacuum cleaners.  He doesn't chase squirrels and rabbits.  Isn't perturbed by traffic or lawn mowers.  He has gotten a variety of exposure and seems very stable.  I think this dog will be fine in the program.  If he doesn't make the seeing eye program for any reason and they don't have another use for him, (such as law enforcement or therapy dog) we will get an opportunity to get him back.  I think this is a long shot though.  Hunter seems destined to help a blind person.