Sunday, October 19, 2008

About Turn Ins {by Erin}

Since Midnight dropped the bomb shell in her post, I will go ahead and fill you guys in on the nitty, gritty, details. Basically Midnight's time with me is drawing to a close, even though she hasn't been with me a full year. Midnight is being looked at to become a breeder, but since she has developed allergies, they (the higher powers at GDF), are trying to decide if that's what they want to use her for.If they decide to use her, she will be leaving me within the next couple of weeks.If they don't she will go next month.And if they take her out of the program completely; theM she'll just stay forever and ever. :-))
I'm going through the normal range of emotions right now...more so because Midnight and I have a really strong bond, and this turn in couldn't come at a worse point in my life. I'd LOVE to keep her as a pet if given the chance, but I am trying not to get my hopes up that they will take her out of the program. I know that sounds selfish but for right now...I'm sorry that's just how I feel... on the other hand I do feel bad KEEPING her knowing how she could impact someones life. ANYWAYS....Have no fear, I will be raising another guide dog puppy regardless if she goes or stays; but since we are moving to another state, it won't be until March or April. And for someone who hasn't been without a dog for the last two years...these next six months are going to be TOUGH. But as a dear (non-dog person) family member has stated so callously...I'll survive.
MIdnight in Coat 2 months oldMidnight looking at me
For those of you who aren't familiar with what Formal Training is an explanation from the Foundation itself:

Your puppy may be called in anytime between 12 and 16 months of age. You will receive a call from the Puppy Department telling you the date that your puppy needs to report. The age at which your puppy is brought in is determined by the Puppy Department.
When you bring your dog in, bring with you a copy of your puppy’s veterinary record, its puppy coat, crate, and heartworm medication. Once your puppy is here, he will be kept in a certain area of the kennel for the first week or so to be observed. Your pup will have free time daily, as well as the companionship of a roommate and the attention of our loving staff. Foundation kennel volunteers also will spend quality, one-on-one time with your dog.
During the first few weeks, your puppy is examined by our staff veterinarian for routine treatments and a heartworm test. Its health history is reviewed and monitored closely by our staff of professionals.

Your puppy will be assigned to a team of trainers. The team will consist of an apprentice (who has started the three-year apprenticeship program); a trainer (who has completed half of the training program); or an Instructor (who has completed the program and is qualified.) Apprentices and trainers are always supervised by an Instructor, and they work closely together.
Each training staff member has a string of dogs, usually 8-10. The trainers work in a team so that they can learn the personalities of their dogs. This enables the training staff to have a good selection of dogs to match with the needs and personality of each student.

Phase I is the foundation on which the other three phases build. All of the material from Phase I is reinforced and new material is added as the dog progresses through training. All of the training phases may vary in length depending on the dog and the trainer.
In Phases I and II, the training is started in quiet areas and slowly progresses to busier areas as the dogs become more competent at their work and comfortable with their given constraints. The first two phases can be described as the conditioning period.
By the time a dog enters Phases III and IV, they are guiding with some consistency and are able to apply their previous conditioning in varying situations. During these final phases, the dogs are brought into more complicated training areas, such as the city. Instructors are still conditioning the dogs, but are expecting a higher level of performance. By the end of Phase IV, most dogs should be ready for class and working as guides.
This is a basic outline of the tasks that need to be accomplished within each phase:
Phase I: Long leash walk, reacting well to traffic, people, etc.; noise test for sound shyness; short leash walk along a straight line; obstacle work and curb stops; basic obedience; introduction to dormitory work, including stairs; possible introduction to elevators and escalator
Phase II: Introduction to the harness; obedience and dormitory work continued; straight line concept reinforced; introduction to elevators and escalator
Phase III: City/subway training; traffic training; escalator; off-curbs
Phase IV: Final traffic; blindfold evaluation

When your puppy has been matched with a visually impaired student, and the team successfully completes the training program, it is time to celebrate! Your love, dedication and care has enabled this puppy to grow into a confident adult who has demonstrated that he is able to make decisions, has self control and has a low level of distractibility so that a visually impaired person can travel safely and independently.
Many people have worked to successfully match this team: the Guide Dog Foundation staff, including the Breeding, Puppy and Training departments; the Puppy Walker; the dog’s sponsor; and the consumer. All of those people who have nurtured and supported this puppy have given a gift that is priceless.

If your dog is chosen for home training (when the student is trained in their home area and not at our Smithtown campus), you may not have the opportunity to formally meet the blind handler. You still could be in contact with the dog’s new handler, should you wish to.

Midnight in the Car
{On our Way}
Sam and his raiser
{SAM and his raiser...also my A/C}
Penny Standing
{Penny - Rei's half sister- and her raiser}
Puppy Group Gathers
{Our group gather togethor}
Another Shot of Midnight practicing down
{Midnight practicing her Down/Stays}
My pretty girl Midnight laying down looking at me
{My Pretty Baby...also the star the class..hee hee}
Midnight wanders why her mom takes so many pictures
{Mom can i have that ball?}
Neil laying down
{Neil lying down}
Sue laying down smiling for the camera
{Sue would be the class clown...that is not a negative comment ;-) I may be watching her over Thanksgiving...if its ok with Pops :-)}
Sue laying down
{Sue is a pretty Golden}
Group Puppies practicing
{"Puppies STAY"}
Puppy Group practicing stay among distractions
Midnight and Neil Kiss
{"Hey you too! Cut it OUt!}
Midnight and Neil
{Oh dear I embarrassed her}

Erin and Co

1 comment:

The Brax Blog said...

I hope she makes it, but it wouldn't be that bad if she doesn't...
Good luck Midnight!

Frankie's trainer