Guide Dog Pup, Gilbert
Guide Dog Pup Gilbert is a black Labrador that came to Tasmania, all the way from Queensland, with his brother Grady in September 2017. They were the first pups of the year, so you can imagine how excited we were to meet them!
Gilbert is currently being Puppy Raised in the Hobart area, and is enjoying learning all about what it takes to become a Guide Dog! In his access coat, he is experiencing his exciting new world that is cafes, shopping centres, supermarkets, doctors surgeries… anywhere a Guide Dog Pup can go (and that’s anywhere!)
In November, I took part in the Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant. It was great fun marching around Hobart with the other pups, Puppy Raisers and Guide Dogs Tasmania staff and volunteers! In the lead up to the pageant, my Puppy Raiser had to get me used to wearing my santa hat. I think it suited me.
I’ve had so much fun lately staying with some wonderful Boarders. They really looked after me and said I was a very well behaved boy (well what else would you expect!).
I’m growing up and now just need to keep practicing all the skills I have learnt. One of the important rules I’ve learnt is that I must never go into the kitchen. Instead, I wait patiently at the door so that I don’t get under people’s feet and cause a danger when they are cooking. This is particularly important for a dog that is hoping to become a Guide Dog for someone who is blind or vision impaired!
As you can see from my photo, I am very patient and well behaved while my Puppy Raiser cooks. In fact, I have a special little spot on the exercise machine next to the couch that I love sitting on, and keeping out of the way.
I am pleased with how far I have come on this Guide Dog journey, and can’t wait for the next stage of my training!
Wish me luck!
It’s been an exciting few months since I last reported in.
Of course, I’ve been busy growing and people are noticing how good looking I am. I think that because I’m such a big puppy, they find me hard to ignore. Often I’m mistaken for a grown up
dog and when my Puppy Raiser tells folks that I’ve just turned one, they are very surprised. They mostly say what a good boy I am for my age, and that’s true! There are still some things we
have to work on though – I think the main one at the moment is being distracted by other dogs. I really, really want to say hello to them, so practising walking nicely past them in my coat is an
important thing for me to do.
I am very proud that my food distraction has improved as of late. Recently, I went to Banjo’s where instead of snuffling around for all the crumbs on the floor, I decided that a rest was a better
choice. I was tempted though – boy, does it smell good! We’ve been going for outings with my brother Grady and his Puppy Raiser, and after we calm down from seeing each other, we are very well behaved. We’ve been to lots of places and I love John Turnball Park best of all, where we can play my favourite game – chasings! I like playing with other dogs too, but the little ones can be tricky – they have such a tight turning circle, it’s really hard to catch up to them. Still, the trying is fun!
I look forward to ‘pup’dating you in my next doggy-bloggy entry!
I’ve had a busy month, but it’s been puppy-exciting too! I went for a play at Howrah Beach with my friend Winnie. He used to be bigger than me but now he can walk under me. Winnie taught me how to swim out past the waves, but I still got dumped once. He’s a better surfer than me. We both had a lovely roll in something smelly before our mum’s caught up to us. My Puppy Raiser growled but I thought the scent was very pleasant.
I went to the netball at the Derwent Entertainment Centre, too. That was fun, but I wasn’t allowed to run around with the girls on the court for some reason. It’s very loud at the netball but I was calm during all the barracking and clapping. I guess I’m growing up!
I’m still working hard on my Guide Dog stuff though, and wouldn’t want you to think it was all just play. I’ve mastered my fear or escalators (I don’t know what I was worried about) and I’m trying really hard not to scavenge and fossick around on our walks. I think I’m doing well and so does my Puppy Raiser.
By the time I write the next entry in my doggy-bloggy I’m sure I’ll have conquered more fears, be a total pro at escalators, and have more fun stories to tell you about being a Tasmanian Guide Dog pup.
I’ve been having such a great time since my last doggy-bloggy entry. Of course, I’m growing heaps and I’m as tall as some of the grown up Labradors that I have met, but I am not as wide. I have a special Guide Dog puppy diet so that I do not put on too much weight. That would not be good for a puppy that one day hopes to become a working Guide Dog!
I liked summer because went go to the beach heaps and I’ve learned not to jump up at other dogs, though I’m still not sure how to play with some of the really little dogs I have met. I thought the beach was a funny place but I like it now because I’ve learned how to swim and the waves don’t scare me anymore. My Puppy Raiser bought me a plastic pool and I love that…I’m not sure about the hose though – it doesn’t play nicely and has sprayed water in my face more than once!
My training is going well as I practise with whoever has my lead and I get lots of praise when I’m especially good at training (though my Puppy Raiser does have to do a growly voice sometimes). I’ve been to the vet for a little operation and to check that my hips are really good and I will not have a problem with Hip Dysplasia (whatever that is), if I make it as a Guide Dog. I was very brave and it didn’t really hurt much. I also had a pedicure with a staff member from Guide Dogs, and boy is she fussy making sure my toe nails are nice and neat and not sharp like puppy toe nails can be. She even got the nail file out to make my nails look just perfect.
All in all, I think I’m one gorgeous looking puppy even, without the entire nail clipping and filing.
Hello, this is Gilbert reporting in!
I’ve been so busy over the last couple of months. I’ve been growing up (and I’m a big boy at 15 weeks), I am starting to learn all my new skills, and I’m helping my Puppy Raiser to learn all that Puppy Raisers need to know.
She’s had a lot to think about, as getting to know me and learning about Guide Dog puppies has taught her a great deal. She has to get up earlier because the birds let me know when to wake up – who needs a clock?
I’m a very smart dog though, but my Puppy Raiser realises that she needs to take it slowly with me so I don’t get confused. I want to please her and do the right thing. The list of things I can do grows all the time, but she’s learned that we have to keep going over things again and again so I improve my skills.
I know some words, and she is careful not to use too many words and to give me “think time”. Things also take longer though, so my Puppy Raiser does not try to do too much at once. That way we get the job done properly.
She’s also got to be very organised – we have a lot of stuff that is important to take with us wherever we go. I like to go out late in the morning after I’ve had my playtime and a rest and my Puppy Raiser has figured out that I’m not so good at my work when I’m tired. I can be a bit stubborn then!
We like cuddles and playing tug-of-war and she thinks I’m funny. I’m doing a great job teaching my Puppy Raiser!
My name’s Gilbert, and I’d like to share my diary entries of my first week as a Guide Dog Pup with you – enjoy!
Day 1 (Tuesday): Something big was about to happen; my brother Grady and I were up early and settled in our travel crate. Next thing we knew we were on a big bird flying across the sky to a place they called Tasmania. What a big adventure for a little pup like me. After arriving at Hobart airport, the Guide Dog staff met me, then I travelled and met a new family that people call my Puppy Raisers. They made me feel very welcome, and had a lovely bed set up for me with a nice big blanket and teddy bears to keep me company. I settled in very quickly and think I am going to enjoy my lovely new home.
Day 2 (Wednesday): Already I am going great guns! Today I successfully negotiated Coles – what a delightful place with lots of amazing sights and sounds for me to explore and get used to! I am trying very hard to toilet outside, but have to admit that there have also been a couple of little ‘incidents’ inside my Puppy Raisers’ home. I am starting to get more settled, and only woke my Puppy Raiser up twice last night, which was pretty good for my first night in a new home, away from all my brothers and sisters. I have even heard a visitor mention that I am “gifted”. Gilbert the gifted Guide Dog. I like it! My favorite toy is Peppa Pig, and I slept last night with it in my little crate. Little did my Puppy Raiser know that Peppa Pig talks – and I successfully woke her up at 2.30am with my toy helpfully saying “Let’s go for a swim!” Strangely enough Peppa no longer talks to me; there was some sort of operation and she lost her voice in the middle of the night.
Day 3 (Thursday): I slept through the night until 5.45am and am firing on all cylinders, and having a wonderful time exploring my new world. Today I learnt that people cough! Good grief – what a noise – I had to run and hide! But with my Puppy Raiser’s help, I am not so scared any more. Lots of test coughing by everyone in the home and I no longer run away. Gilbert the Great.
Day 4 (Friday): My day began with a trip to a company that have raised money for Guide Dogs, and I got to meet all the staff and explore their offices. Then I had a lovely play with my brother at the Guide Dog office – I will let my brother tell you all about that! The day did not end there; there was a big party with lots of people all coming to see me and dance and eat and have fun. Ok, they may not have been there just to meet me, but I soon became an extra special guest at the birthday party. Gilbert the Guest.
Day 5 (Saturday): I was pretty tired after my big day yesterday, but still enjoyed some small outings to Coles and the Botanical Gardens. I loved the Gardens; so many interesting surfaces to learn to walk on, steps to climb and dry leaves to snack on (whoops). I am a calm pup and take everything in as I walk through different environments.
I hope you enjoyed learning about my first week!
Gilbert the Guide Dog Puppy!