At HCC we all really look forward to the day when we receive a progress update regarding our most recent sponsored hearing dog puppy - Echo - who is the fourth dog we have sponsored.
This latest update has been provided by the Volunteer Puppy Trainer as well as the Dog Training Instructor responsible for Echo’s training.
Echo’s daily routine:
Wake someone up by banging on the door as she is missing her humans. Be incredibly pleased to see us as she has missed us all night. Go outside in the garden for a quick toilet. Come back in and be incredibly pleased to see us again. EAT BREAKFAST. Play. Go for a walk (lots of treats here). Play. EAT LUNCH. Have a snooze. Play some learning games, have a brush (more treats), play in the garden). More snoozing. EAT DINNER. Have a fuss with human mummy, play some learning games. Evening relaxation (by the fire if she possibly can). Bedtime walk and toilet time (lots of treats). Go to bed (with one last treat).
A final word from her Volunteer Puppy Trainer:
Echo loves FOOD and PEOPLE! She will do anything at all for food. If she even thinks that you might have food, she will try all her best tricks to impress you. This does help with training though. She is very focused and will always try her best for you.
She’s a fast learner too. She is always overjoyed to see someone and will often grab a blanket/ a shoe/ bed/ a toy to bring to us as a gift. If she is out in the garden sunbathing or playing and happens to spot us through the window, she will run over to the door to say hello. When she wags her tail her whole-body wags and she can’t walk in a straight line!
Echo is an adorable puppy. She has settled very well into a daily routine. She is very inquisitive and loves to explore the flora and fauna in the garden. She is intrigued by everything that goes on around her and has made great friends with our chickens (through the wire fence) - she even loves to sit and watch wildlife programmes on the TV. She has great fun playing 'tug', 'fetch' and 'find' with her toys and enjoys her daily walk, practising recall and other basic cues whilst out and about.” Echo has completed her one-star and is well on the way to completing her two-star.
We’re looking forward to getting the green light to start having 1-2-1’s in the very near future. The puppy awards are a way of breaking down the puppy’s training into achievable, age appropriate tasks. To pass her puppy 2-star award Echo demonstrated, amongst other things, a good understanding of basic commands, learning to leave something such as food on the floor, playing nicely and learning how to settle. There is more information on our website about the Puppy Star Awards https://www.hearingdogs.org.uk/training-our-puppies
She has also been learning to touch. She touches a piece of yellow paper with her nose to earn a treat. She really likes this game. This is the first step to teaching a dog how to ‘nose nudge’ when the dog touches someone with their nose to get their attention and will be how he alerts his deaf partner later. She has also begun learning about sound location through play, which will help later when she needs to alert her future deaf partner. She meets lots of other dogs during walks in the fields, and is always very interested in them, and loves to play but can sometimes be a little unsure if there are a few new dogs at a time. When she gets unsure, she comes and walks to her trainer for reassurance!
Over the coming weeks we will be working with Echo to improve her heelwork as she does sometimes pull when out on a walk which isn’t ideal and building up to environmental trips like shops and public transport when everything opens up again, where there will be LOTS of distractions, like people, food and new smells. Echo attends puppy classes once a week* and in class recently she explored different items such as ladders, trolleys and hi-viz jackets. The reason we do this in a classroom rather than out in public is so that the puppy can explore them and learns that these new things are not anything to worry about in a safe environment, so that when she eventually encounters them whilst out and about she won’t be worried! She also took part in an obstacle course and focused on loose lead walking.
She was good at the obstacle course and didn’t get distracted by the crafty distractions placed strategically around such as food, her favourite toys and the other puppies. *currently classes are being delivered via video chat and email due to the lockdown.
She is a very focused and food motivated girl. She is also very cuddly and a real pleasure to have around. She is the most adorable, easy going, intelligent, friendly, eager dog we have worked with. Just having her around makes you smile. It will be a sad day when she leaves us, but I know that she will be a fantastic dog for a very lucky recipient one day.