As promised, pictures!
First Tammy leads the group through the relaxation protocol. She mixes things up by having the puppies do one third of the exercise in SIT, one third in DOWN, and the last third in STAND.
|FLD Copo gets rewarded for holding his DOWN.|
With all the puppies standing nicely, Tammy and I lightly distract each one to test "name recognition." Looking back at the handler when he says the puppy's name is one of the In-For-Training (IFT) standards that Leader Dogs for the Blind wants us to work toward with our puppies.
|FLD Bear has his eyes on me.|
|"Bear!" his handler says. Good boy!|
|Good boy Axel!|
Tammy then has the group practice sits, downs, and stands "around the world." This means that the pups must respond to each cue no matter what position the handler is in - on the left or the right, in front of the puppy or behind, while standing, sitting, kneeling, you name it.
Sure, maybe your puppy knows how DOWN in heel position...
...but will your puppy respond correctly to the DOWN cue when you have your back turned to him?
|FLD Dax complains that things aren't as they usually are...and lies down anyway!|
Time to get moving around. Well, "around" at a left-hinged door. We teach our puppies to move from the normal heel position on our left side around our back to our right side whenever we pass through a door that is hinged on the left side. This protects the dog from getting slammed by the door. We walk through the door as a "unit." After a few paces safely past the doorway we have the puppy move around behind us again to return to heel position.
|Steve gives FLD Axel a pep-talk and heads for the door. Nice around!|
|FLD Bear keeps a nice loose leash as P walks toward the door. There is some technique to cleanly passing the leash from left to right!|
We're not finished yet....