A Portion of Pudding News
A Portion of Pudding
Pudding is the Trainee Guide Dog puppy we help to sponsor. She’s making amazing progress on her learning journey. Watching her work and train in the video clip is truly humbling. Well done Pudding, Lauren and everyone on the training team.
Hello, it’s Lauren here, Pudding’s trainer.
Pudding has made such great progress since her last Pupdate. When I started working with her, she could get a little spooked around café signs or canopies which were blowing in the wind. After lots of positive reinforcement, she is much more confident now and walks straight past them. She understands that these things aren’t scary.
Pudding has also improved on her distraction. I spent lots of time with her in the park by the bird feeders and rewarded her when she shifted her focus away from the pigeons and onto me. She can now guide me through the park without losing concentration. However, if there are squirrels around, she can become a little more unsettled and she’ll start to prance rather than guide smoothly. Squirrels tend to move quite erratically while pigeons are more likely to plod, so most dogs find them a little off-putting. However, with time, I’m confident that Pudding will become de-sensitised to them too.
Out and about
Pudding has learnt lots in the last few months – I’m so proud of her! She’s now completing 40-minute routes in harness, and we’ve also begun working on blindfold walks. This means I put on a blindfold and ask Pudding to lead me on a familiar walk. We always have a colleague close by to ensure we’re both safe but doing this lets Pudding make decisions on her own.
When we’re out walking, Pudding is also fantastic at recognising kerbs and stopping at them. This is important as it will ensure her future owner knows when a step is coming up. She’s also great at navigating around anything that’s blocking the pavement, like cars parked on kerbs or wheelie bins on bin day. We introduced this skill on the obstacle course in the training room, but she’s now wonderful at it while we’re out and about too.
Recently Pudding and I have been working on her road safety skills. To do this, one of my colleagues gets in a Guide Dogs car, and as Pudding and I go to cross the road, they will slowly start to drive forwards. We are teaching Pudding to stop safely, ignoring my cue to move ahead. Pudding has natural caution, so she’s picked this up really quickly.
Soon Pudding will move on to work with a Guide Dogs Mobility Specialist who will look for a future owner to partner her with. I will miss Pudding so much when she goes. She’s such a loving and intuitive girl; she knows when someone needs extra cuddles. She’s also motivated to guide and enjoys her work.
Pudding really values physical affection as a form of praise, so I think she would be well suited to someone who is looking for a caring companion as well as a fantastic guide. She can have quite a brisk pace, so this is something else we’ll consider when looking for a potential match. In the meantime, I’ll keep working with Pudding to perfect what she’s learnt and continue to build her confidence.
You can find out more about sponsoring a Guide Dog puppy here