I started my first day with Guide Dogs today, its in Leamington Spa so took about 45 minutes to get there. I arrived at 9.30 and met Jon the Senior Guide Dog Trainer in reception. He gave me a safety talk and a tour of the whole centre, there are dogs everywhere - under people's desks and behind reception.
We had a cup of tea and then Ian, another trainer took me and one of the dogs for a free-run down by the river.
I met another of the trainers called Ann and went out with one of her dogs in a van, parked up and walked back to the centre. When the dog gets to a kerb, they are taught to sit and wait for the trainer to tell it to 'walk on', and they also swing their right hand forward.
When we got back we went to the staff room and had lunch which took with me.
After lunch I went out with another trainer called Marina who is from spain, we took a new dog out from the kennels for a free-run to tire it out a bit, and then for a walk around the block, we took her back to the kennels and did the same with a male dog. We took him back and got another dog out to go and have a play in the maze and field - the dogs have to have Environmental Enrichment (EE), so there are lots of runs with mazes, swings, toys and tunnels for the dogs to play in. Marina showed me around the block of kennels, there is a team of people who look after the dogs in kennels, and make sure all the dogs are healthy.
Marina has one dog which she is training who is being spayed on Friday, so we took her to the 'chill out games room', which is a little house with soft toys and balls in it which the dogs go in to bond with their trainers and to play in.
She went back into kennels and we got another female out, took her for a walk and got her used to socialising with the cat.
There are 100+ dogs on site, and there is another breeding site around the corner. I didn't realise that Guide Dogs breed 80% of their dogs to be trained. The puppies start to be trained at 12 months old and training lasts for 4 months.
Mom picked me up at 5 o'clock.