Let me introduce myself. I am Gertie and I am almost six months old.
I am so happy to be in touch with you to tell you how much I have learned so far in my life as a dog in training.
I arrived at my puppy raiser’s home when I was only eight weeks old and I was happy to find bells attached to doors, lots of toys and two new beds.
I landed a good training home, that’s for sure. I thought at first my name was “leave-it” as that was what I heard all day long. Then I realized it meant leave alone the articles that are not your toys!
Although I had two lovely puppy beds to choose from, I much desired the room across from my raisers bed where all the clothes are hanging. I would snuggle under them and felt very secure and safe there. At night I could hear my raiser searching for me — it was a funny game I liked to play.
At first I thought I wasn’t supposed to walk on my own as I was being carried whenever we went out. But my raisers explained that this helps with the bonding process and the fact that I can’t be exposed to germs in public until my last vaccinations at 12 weeks old.
I got used to being carried around that I think I forgot how to walk on my own. On my first visit to a friend’s house I was very nervous and wouldn’t venture very far until they let their big German shepherd out to play with me and I fell in love instantly. I was off and running then.
I have been learning so many new things. For instance if you have to go to the bathroom, otherwise known as “busy,” the bells on the door must be rung; don’t jump up on anyone or anything; and while you await a meal you must sit patiently and only go to the bowl after a whistle is blown — the latter being the hardest as I dearly love my food and try to rush to it immediately.
On a daily schedule we have the early morning “busy” routine and then in for breakfast.
I play with my toys while my raiser gets herself ready for a trip to the mall or supermarket. On goes my blue and white “Guide Dog In Training” jacket and off to work we go. I’ve learned to sit at the curb before walking across the street, sit at the door before it opens and how to ride the escalator. I’m not very good at leaving the gum on he sidewalk as I have found it tastes good. Of course I am never allowed to keep it in my mouth, my raiser is quick to remove it or any other food I pick up off the floor.
Every second week we take a long drive to doggy obedience where I meet up with my siblings and many of the older dogs that look like me. We undergo a series of commands like sit, down, stay, stand, back-up and, of course, the good old “leave-it” word.
We have to walk through an obstacle course where food is left on the ground and we are expected to leave it. Why do they do this? Don’t they know how much I love to eat?
In February my brother Ferenc and I were on the Variety Show of Hearts telethon.
It was a lot of fun to be on the set. Oh, and we had something exciting happen at obedience recently. There was a film crew filming us puppies with the Model A and T car club, which came to make a generous donation to B.C. Guide Dogs. Some of us even got to sit in the nice old cars.
Now, don’t get me wrong, not all day is dedicated to training. I am still allowed to be a regular pup and especially love my visits to the dog park. At home there are many dogs walking by our house that stop for a visit and a romp on the grass with me.
I haven’t been in too much trouble yet in the house. I only chewed a wooden chess box once but after being told to “leave it,” in a very strong voice, I did. And I love my toys too much to eat them.
Thank you for sponsoring me through my training and I hope I make you proud one day.
Bye for now,
NOTE: During the vision awareness open house held in Boitanio Mall, Feb. 10 Ashley Clark, mobility trainier with B.C. Guide Dogs/Autism Support Dogs in Delta, presented Mayor Kerry Cook with a complimentary community “Sponsor a Puppy,” which comes with regular “Pupdates.”