Just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this site for all their helpful insight and advice. Lola had/has been a huge puller from day one. Now, at 11 months we are finally seeing the fruits of much labor. The pulling has decreased!!!!!! In fact, today before entering her day care facility (a given pulling situation), she sat obediently and even performed the "around" command at the entrance door.
Unfortunately, we got "the letter" requesting her return this past Saturday. For those who don't know, we are her foster parents; raising her to be a Future Leader Dog for The Blind. We've had her since 8wks. Of course, now that she's turned into the perfect pet, we must turn her over for her advanced and formal training. :'(
Had to just say how proud I am of her.
Dominic & Ellie<br /><br />
She is beautiful and if I were there I would give you a big hug. You puppy raisers do such a wonderful and selfless act by having these dogs as temporary guests in your house.
How do you get involved in helping train a dog in its beginning stages of becoming a seeing or hearing dog?
Not sure if I understood your question; we heard the Leader Dog Organization in our area needed volunteers to raise the puppies for their first year, so we just signed up (apparently, being a charitable, non-profit organization has some financial limitations ) My wife and I just finished school and thought it would be a great way to do something for someone/something other than ourselves for a change; and to see if dog ownership was right for us (I, mean...you get to give the dog back after a year, right? perfect!!).
I'll be honest, the time and work commitments are huge. We were told that we would be responsible for "just" basic obedience and socialization. But never having a dog, much less a lab proved to be alot tougher than they implied. While the organization was very helpful with training techniques (classes held weekly), there were alot of issues that we needed help with. The answers came in the form of this forum and extra-curriculer obedience classes. Of course the socialization part was the best, we took her everywhere with us - church was the most interesting (licked the pews clean of every piece of gum).
Hope I answered your question. Let me know if you have more questions. I love talking about Lola* ;D(duh!).
Dominic & Ellie<br /><br />
Wow... very cool.
Now I wanna do that!
I'm glad your finally making progress I know what a HUGE relief it is to finally be able to enjoy a walk with them. It would definately be extreamly hard to have to give them up at this point but knowing that your doing a good think will help. If she dosn't get through the training to be a guide dog do you get first dibs on getting her back? I think that's how most of them work.
That's so awesome, how rewarding when your patience and training finally pays off.
I think that it's amazing that you have volunteered to care for and train this pup, as Oonas Dad said, it is a very selfless act. I couldn't do it, I would become too emotionally attached.
Thanks for the information. I didn't realize it was as simple as volenteering. Shannon and I are very confortable with raising a puppy, we got Allie at 6 weeks old and now shes 15 months and working on her therapy training. For us, it would probably be the emotional disconnect that we would need to be concerned with... We love Allie so much, if we ever lost her, it would be like a child dying to us... Shannon has mentioned wanting to do it, but this emotional rollercoaster attached has me concerned, we would have to learn how to disconnect from the dogs when returning them. Is this the first animal you've helped with? Are you fully financially responsible for the puppy, or is there some sort of re-enburment to cover shots etc?
Yeah, neither of us really comprehended how hard giving Lola back would be. Like I said, our first dog and first lab. But while its sad, we've spoken with some people whose stories make it all worth while. Other "puppy raisers" have told us that the first one is the hardest one to give back, but sometimes the Organization will work it out so that you get a new puppy within a day or two of turning yours in (nothing better than a new puppy, right?) - provided you didn't mess up the one you turned in too badly ;D Some raisers have done this for over 20 years!!
As for the financial aspect of raising these puppies, you are responsible for everything. Leader Dog for the Blind has a great facility with more than 1 vet on staff. If you take the pups to their vet, its no charge. But since we live about 45 mins. away, we used both their vet and our own (paying for our own, when necessary). Our vet sometimes gave us a discount. But all the food, Nylabones, crates, beds, toys, leashes, collars, etc. were our responsibility. Being a charitable organization, I think you can claim a deduction.
I've also heard that having an adult dog in the house makes training a lot easier. No one in our family has a dog and since we couldn't use treats in training, we signed up for like 2 or 3 obedience classes a week - for both training and socialization. Once she got old enough, daycare was a blessing.
Sorry this is long, hope it answered your q's. If you are thinking about it, please at least try. We've met some amazing people and have had one helluva ride with Lola.
Dominic & Ellie<br /><br />
I think it's amazing volunteer work that you do. I'm sure it must have been extremely difficult to say good-bye to Lola.
Teresa, mom to Brigetta and Prudence