Dogs for Good are an innovative charity, exploring ways dogs can help people overcome specific challenges and enrich and improve lives and communities. As a Dogs for Good Puppy Partner, we receive regular updates on the progress of our sponsored pooch, Poppy.
"Poppy is a very friendly and inquisitive dog who enjoys being the centre of attention and just wants to be with us. She loves free runs on country walks, exploring woodland and fields, and meeting other dogs.
Early in the summer we went on holiday to the seaside, where she had lots of new experiences. She loved the beach, where she could have great games of fetch with the tennis ball. She enjoyed paddling in the sea, but was a bit unsure about the waves!
Poppy also came on a river cruise in Bewdley and, although a little uncertain about getting onto the boat, was happy once on board. She was very interested in what was going on, especially the swans and geese swimming past.
She demonstrated some great settling at a cafe for lunch, and one evening we took her to a pub where she enjoyed all the attention; most stopped to say hello to her.
At home Poppy enjoys being out in the garden, but is a bit indiscriminate about digging holes. She has discovered a liking for carrots, and took to going to the vegetable patch to dig up one for herself, which she would then bring indoors, still covered in mud, to chew up on the hall rug. I ended up having to dig up the remaining carrots, so that we got to eat some!" Kate, Socialiser
Training TransferFrom the age of six months onwards, the focus for Kate shifts to transferring the training they have completed at home or in puppy classes to ‘real-life’ situations and environments. For example; ensuring Poppy returns when called if walking in the park, and helping her learn to settle in busy places, such as cafes and restaurants.
“Poppy is a lovely young dog. She’s an enthusiastic participant in our monthly puppy classes and understands all the basic commands. Poppy enjoys being busy and having lots to do. Doing nothing is something that she finds more challenging, and self-control is something we will focus on throughout her socialisation and training. In class we practice distraction techniques, so the dogs learn to keep their attention closely focused on their socialisers - no matter how tempting whatever is going on around them is.” Vicki, Puppy Coordinator
Regular one to one visits or group meetings are organised in varied environments by Vicki, to ensure Poppy is developing appropriately and Kate is transferring their training to the places Poppy may visit as a working dog. These visits provide tailored support to Kate, to ensure Poppy reaches her full potential.
“Poppy is becoming much calmer now she’s older. She still loves meeting people and gets very excited but, after the initial flurry of greetings, she settles well.
Poppy responds well to commands at home and, although she can still be a little distracted when out, she is gaining more self-control. She is comfortable visiting shopping centres, and will happily come to the supermarket (as long as it doesn't take too long!)
She has been on a bus and a boat, and is good with traffic and loud noises - we walked right past a road mender with an angle grinder the other day, and she was interested in what was happening, but not bothered by the noise.
Poppy loves football and fetching a tennis ball. She also enjoys running ahead into a field, but will come racing back when called, as she knows she will get extra treats for a good recall. In the house she likes to take a slipper or a brush and run off with it; as she knows she will be rewarded for giving it up.
We've recently given her a connectible toy, which she has to work at to pull apart, in order to get the treats hidden inside. She very quickly learned how to prize the sections apart, so we now have to use the most challenging setting.
Cheese is a particular favourite and good for persuading her to come back when she is playing with other dogs. She is good at waiting - she waits for food, even when placed in front of her, until she is called to eat. She also waits
well at gateways until called through.” Kate, Socialiser
Poppy will soon come in to the Banbury training centre for a kennel break. She will stay for five days and Vicki will spend time with Poppy, getting to know her, taking her for a free run, and playing games to familiarise her with the training centre.
The kennel staff are a big part in each dogs break; taking time to groom them, provide them with different toys and supervising their play.
“Poppy still has lots more to experience and learn. In puppy class we will start to work towards her Kennel Club Bronze Assessment.
I’m looking forward to working with Poppy during her kennel break and assessing how she adapts to the change in her routine. Being adaptable is very important if Poppy is to become a happy and successful working dog.” Vicki, Puppy Coordinator
As well as being a Puppy Partner, we are also working with Dogs for Good to provide hands-on events and workshops for customers, alongside educating and helping with their IT transformation project to the cloud.
To learn more about Dogs for Good, or how you can get involved with the charity, please visit their website.
- By Charley Barker (Communications & Content Executive)