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Hello :)

This is my very first post here. I have today recieved the phone call from the Guide Dogs Volunteering Section to say that they are now recruiting Puppy Walkers in my area and that my application form is in the post :)

This is something that Ive been seriously thinking about for the last ten years, but its only now that Im in the right job/house/children old enough etc. So Im rather excited but nervous all at the same time!! I really want to do this as my Grandad lost his sight and just adored dogs, he even kept the lead and bowl of his own dog, from 40 years previously. A guide dog would have given him some life and independence back and there was never enough Guide Dogs to go round. So this is in his memory.

Ive had dogs the last 12 years and Im currently owned by Alfie a 2 and half year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who I/we qualified as a Pets as Therapy dog when he was 18months old. However all the places that we were allocated were a considerable journey away and he has always got terribly terribly car sick even from an 8week pup, its something that we've had to pull out of doing due to Alfie getting so upset on the journey there. Ive always done dog training classes (for fun, not competition) and Ive always done lots of things with clickers and reward based training. Im also very interested in dog psychology of all kinds to find out what makes them tick and why they do the things they do :)

I just wondered if there was any words of wisdom that any of you experienced Puppy Walkers could give me, things that you wished you had known/been prepared for or little tips that youve found useful.

Ps when I registered I had to put in how many labradors I had, I had to make it up as I dont have one yet lol so according to my profile I have a chocolate lab - sorry!
 

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No advice from me, but I just wanted to say hello :wave: and say that it's a lovely thing you're going to do. Your grandad will be smiling down on you.
 
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Hello Janice and Welcome to LF :D .

I Puppy Walked a couple of pups for GDBA. My last one being Una who left me last autumn.

I loved the actual Puppy raising and training bit. You get good support from your Supervisor and from GDBA in general and you also get good support from other Puppy Walkers. I really didn't find it hard, as most of what you teach them is basic manners and is just common sense. Anything else they learn is taught to you by your Super' and you just practise what they tell you to.

I don't have any great words of wisdom, although I will say one thing..... Prepare to totally fall in love with the pup they give you and to be heartbroken when it leaves, as that's the bit I could never get my head around.

I am immensely proud of my two "Special" girls, Oyster and Una and I know they give huge amounts of pleasure to their new partners. However I do still miss and worry about them both and would have them back tomorrow if they were retired for any reason.

I hope your application forms get processed quickly. Then you'll have to come and tell us how you and the new pup are getting along :D .
 

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Puppywalking

Hi and welcome to LF. I am currently awaiting the arrival of my third Guide dog pup. I expect to have her early September.
My first pup, Pebbles, is now 2 1/2yrs and she came back to us after she was found to have an eyesight problem when she went to the training centre at Forfar so she is now ours forever which is wonderful as the hardest thing, as Jules said, is giving them up! My next pup was my little sweetheart Annie who is currently at the Forfar centre and by all accounts doing fine. All going well we hope to go to see her in training in Sept.
before she moves on.
I found it hard going when we first got Pebbles but this was because it had been many years since we'd had a dog of our own now I wouldn't be without one now.
You will get puppy development notes outlining the Guide Dogs training requirements and also support from your supervisor.
My supervisor was always available on the phone between visits if I needed advice. Hope you will be on again before too long to tell us your pup has arrived. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much for the lovely welcome and the advice.

Well my application forms have been filled in and received by the GDBA and they have sent out the forms to my referees. They've promised to fill them in and return them asap.

Ive been told it could take 4-6 weeks before I have a home check, has that been your experience or was it quicker than that?

I also understand that there is a volunteers website with forums and things, how do I find that?

Thankyou, Im soooo wanting this to all work out and all my family and relatives are crossing their fingers for me, as they know its something Ive been wanting to do for a very long time.

Janice
 

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Can I just add a word of caution?

I puppy socialised 6 pups for an assistance dog charity. I loved having the pups and I got immense pleasure and pride from doing it.

BUT - remember that you are raising a pup that you have no say over. You may be asked to do things that you disagree with (sometimes very strongly) and are unable to object because, at the end of the day, the organisation holds all the cards. They can change the goal-posts at their whim.They can remove the pup from you at any time. The co-ordinator who you work with might be marvellous, but people change jobs and the co-ordinator follows instructions from their managers (who can be very far removed from the real world of raising pups). Once the pup leaves you, the organisation is under no obligation to inform you of what happens beyond that. You may or may not be able to stay in touch with the dogs' new partner - it's the dog's partner who makes that decision.

It is a fabulous thing to do, but there is a downside to it, beyond that of having to part with a pup who you have loved and adored for a year. Personally, one of the reasons that I wouldn't puppy socialise again is that I think the values and ideology regarding assistance dogs have shifted over recent years, and I'm no longer convinced that the dogs' welfare is always paramount.

Ask LOTS of questions, and be sure that YOU are happy with the answers.

All the best,

Becs and The Gang
 
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JaniceH said:
Ive been told it could take 4-6 weeks before I have a home check, has that been your experience or was it quicker than that?
It was all very quick for me. I filled out and returned the forms end July and I had a homecheck a 2-3 weeks later and by end Aug I had a pup. I think it varies from area to area though. They were absolutely desperate for puppy walkers when I started. They had more pups than they had walkers to give them to, so they rushed everything through in double quick time.

I also understand that there is a volunteers website with forums and things, how do I find that?
Maybe that is a new thing but it's not something I've found or come across yet.


I'm no longer convinced that the dogs' welfare is always paramount.
Becs makes some VERY good points and not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm, over the last few days I have found this quote to be unfortunately very true :( . I most definitely won't be Puppy Walking ever again because of this.

Please think about things very carefully before committing your heart to a pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Becs makes some VERY good points and not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm, over the last few days I have found this quote to be unfortunately very true . I most definitely won't be Puppy Walking ever again because of this.

Please think about things very carefully before committing your heart to a pup.
Is it possible to tell my (by PM if possible) a bit more about this please, I really would like to be as informed as possible and I understand if it is difficult on a public forum.

Thankyou :)
 
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Janice I can't PM you as you are not subscribed, however if you give me your email addy, I'll tell you all about it.
 

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Yes of course, sorry (wheres a smily that says DOH!! lol) , its (email removed as suggested :) )

Its definately best to hear all the for's and againsts of doing something like this, so I would really appreciate to hear everything you could tell me.

Thankyou so much.
 
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I've got your addy now Janice, if you wish to delete it. :wink:

And I'll email you later on today, as I'm off out in a mo.
 
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