8-month ‘pupdate’ from Guide Dogs

Wednesday August 18, 2021

Earlier this week, Concord received its 8-month ‘pupdate’ from Guide Dogs, regarding Harmony – the college’s sponsored guide dog puppy. The Labrador cross Golden Retriever was welcomed on the Guide Dogs’ training scheme at the start of 2021 and is reacting ‘excellently’ to her first-year training. Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Maria Novell said in an update letter to the college: “Harmony is just over 8 months old – well into her first year as a guide dog in training. “The skills that she learns this year will form the foundations for the guiding work that Harmony will start to do when she leaves her Puppy Walker and heads to a Guide Dogs’ official training school to begin her next stage of training. “So that you can see how these foundations are developing, I am delighted to send you Harmony’s second ‘report card’ – I hope you will be pleased with the progress she is making.” Components of the training scheme are divided into three main categories: Puppy Care, Obedience, and Social Skills. For Puppy Care, Harmony is already good at being groomed and comfortable having physical check-ups and examinations, and is slowly getting more comfortable wearing a puppy jacket – which is integral, as it highlights that Harmony is in training and should not be distracted. Harmony’s Obedience category is almost all brilliant, responding very well to commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, ‘wait, and ‘stay’, in addition to both physical and audible signals for recall. She is also demonstrating good behaviour on lead and good behaviour when waiting for food and treats. The next stage will be to further develop more agile commands such as ‘down’ and ‘stand’. Since her 6-month ‘pupdate’, Harmony has been experiencing more types of transport, and is good travelling in the car and on the bus – and is starting to gain confidence in train transportation too. Her overall confidence is growing in other unfamiliar situations, when greeting people and, contrastingly, being left unattended for short periods of time. She now must develop her skills in becoming relaxed in shops and cafes, ensuring she ignores distractions such as food and people. Maria Novell added: “Harmony’s work so far is amazing! Her Puppy Raisers are working hard so that her exposure to new environments is enjoyable. “She has all the makings of a wonderful future life changer. “I look forward to contacting you again in a couple of months with your next ‘pupdate’ on Harmony’s activities.”