If your dog could talk what questions do you think they would ask you most often? Every dog and dog breed is a little bit different, but some traits seem to be universal for a specific breed like the Labrador Retriever. We can think of one question that all Labs would constantly be asking their owners.
We’ve raised 3 purebred Labrador Retriever puppies in training and we are currently raising our fourth. We’ve probably also puppy sat 100+ Labs during our time as guide dog puppy raisers.
I’d have to say after being around all of those Labs over these past 7 years this statement is probably true 99.9% of the time.
A Labs Only Question…
A Labs Only Question
What do you guys think? Have you raised Labrador Retrievers? Is this their only question? Or perhaps there’s a little more to my Lab puppies in training: Stetson, Derby, Dublin, and Adelle.
Okay, okay…so maybe that’s not the only question. If you had to ask me it is by far number 1 on the list, but if you had to have a top 5 list for Labrador Retrievers questions they would be:
Top 5 Questions From A Lab
1. How Long Til My Next Meal?
2. Can I have a treat?
3. Where is my tennis ball?
4. When is my next walk?
5. Where’s the nearest lake/pool?
I’m speculating a little here as I’ve yet to have a Lab who loves to swim. Although many of my friends Labs as well as Labs I’ve puppy sat were definite water dogs. I’m not too sure about Adelle yet, but she does like sleeping with her head in the water bowl…we’ll see.
Second, our puppies in training aren’t allowed to have tennis balls because they can become obsessed (or so they tell us). Once again I’m speculating, but seeing how much my pup’s love their other toys I could very well see them obsessing over a tennis ball.
So that’s the list. Do you have a dog or puppy? If they could speak what do you think their top 5 questions would be? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Dublin was quite the helper when he would come into the office with me, but part boxer? I don’t think so…Dublin was/is a purebred yellow Labrador Retriever bred at Guide Dogs of America.
Today Dublin is a working guide dog and we chronicled his entire journey in our Puppy In Training TV series.
If you have a moment take a look at Dublin’s videos as we tell his story from picking him up as a 7 week old puppy to guide dog graduation to visiting and watching him as a working guide dog.
This Puppy Is…Part Boxer!
I love that picture! Dublin helping out in the warehouse. If he didn’t continue on to his career as a guide dog maybe he could have worked the shipping department at Ascolta I’m sure they would have loved having Dublin as a permanent worker back there!
By the way, if you are interested in raising and training a guide dog puppy please feel free to contact me through our contact form and I can send you some details on how we started our journey as puppy raisers.
Just to let you know raising and training guide dog puppies has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life so if you’re a puppy or dog lover then please do yourself a favor and check your area for local service and guide dog schools that might offer puppy raising opportunities.
Guest Post by: Linda Ladaga
My whole life, I’ve been a dog lover. My parents never let me have one though; they said dogs were too much work. So, when I went away to college, I knew that I had to have a dog. I also knew that I had no clue how to take care one.
So, I joined a program called the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. They taught me how to raise puppies that would become seeing eye dogs for those with vision impairments.
Phyllis An 8 Week Old Golden Retriever-Yellow Lab Puppy
Shortly after my training had ended, I received my very first 8-week-old puppy, Phyllis. No, I did not get to pick the name (although I do love The Office). Phyllis is a golden retriever-yellow lab mix and could not be any cuter. I fell in love with her instantly.
Day 1 with Phyllis
I quickly found out that my parents had been lying to me my entire life – puppies are a lot of work, but that is the fun in raising them! The best part about Phyllis was that she was a certified service dog. That meant she had to wear her cute yellow “dog in training” vest and follow me to class, restaurants, sporting events, movie theaters, and more.
We attended monthly training programs together so that the program could monitor her progress. She was so smart, independent and strong. She had a will of her own. 15 months passed quickly and it was time for Phyllis to head to New York for her professional training. If she passed, it was off to live with someone who has vision impairments.
Phyllis and her brother Duke, the day before heading up to NY (Phyllis on left, Duke on right)
Saying goodbye to Phyllis was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do. If you’ve ever had a dog, you know how it would feel to give up a pup you love so much after 15 months together. It was heart wrenching, but I knew she was on her way to do the job she was born to do.
Ace An 8 Week Old Black Lab Puppy
Luckily, upon her goodbye, I was handed Ace, my new 8-week-old black lab puppy. It was difficult starting again from square one with Ace’s training, but I quickly fell madly in love with him. He was my buddy, my cuddler, my sweetheart.
Day 1 with Ace
Eight months into my training with Ace, I received great news: Phyllis had graduated from her training and moved to Arizona with her new owner, an elderly woman who was blind. Before I knew it, it was time for Ace to head to New York as well. I waited months to hear about Ace’s progress and finally the news came: he had graduated the program as well and was placed with a woman in Michigan.
I couldn’t be more proud of my dogs for making it all the way through the guide dog program and leading the blind with their eyes and with their hearts. Today, I’m a still pen pal with Phyllis and Ace’s owners. They send me updates and pictures each month. I also have two dogs that are my very own: Kibo (a goofy, Shepherd mix) and Kenya (an 8-week-old puppy mix). The three of us live in Denver now, where I attend graduate school.
Helping The Guide Dog Foundation
Many of my friends have rescued dogs for the animal assisted therapy program here, and I often lend a hand with training and dog sitting in exchange for donations to the Guide Dog Foundation. Each time I help someone out, I know that those donations are making their way back to dogs like Phyllis and Ace, and the people whose lives they have changed forever.
If you’d like to join me in supporting this great cause, pledge an hour of your time in my ProBueno community. I’m helping with dog-related things, but you are free to offer anything from baking cookies to offering career advice. Every time someone needs your help, they will make a donation to the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.
One of my favorite times of month is our monthly Orange County Guide Dogs of America puppy raiser meeting. This month we had several new puppies including this little black Labrador Retriever puppy in training!
It reminds me of my first meeting with Stetson over 6 years ago! He wasn’t our first puppy, but we certainly learned a lot about how to train a puppy with Stetson. In fact Stetson taught us a lot about crate training puppies as he was by far the most difficult puppy to crate train…he cried for nearly 4 weeks straight and didn’t let me sleep for more than 2 hours in a row during that first month.
Black Labrador Retriever Puppy In Training
Stetson A Former Puppy In Training
Stetson never made it as a guide dog, but he has had many adventures since his start as a guide dog puppy in training. He’s achieved his Canine Good Citizen, he’s become proficient at finding Birch in his K9 Nosework training, and he’s great at keeping my feet warm late at night. Of course Stetson is also a great product tester for the many doggy product reviews we do right here on the puppy in training blog.
Not all of our guide dog puppies in training will become working guides, but those that do not still have a great career ahead possibly as Search and Rescue Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, or as someones trusted pet just like Stetson.
What about you guys? Have any of you raised your puppies to do a job? Tell us about what your puppy is up to in the comment section below.
This is Archie! We think he very well may be the cutest water dog ever! Archie is a yellow Labrador Retriever guide dog puppy in training.
Someday Archie will be a working guide dog, but even guide dogs and guide dog puppies in training have times when they’re working and times when they’re allowed to play. Archie is obviously off duty and trying to stay cool with this summer heatwave.
We think Archie may be the cutest water dog! – Thanks @Audrey for sharing!
As guide dog puppy raisers we receive our pups when they are 7 weeks old and train them until they are approximately 18 months of age. At 18 months our pups go back to school (we call it guide dog college) and start their formal guide dog training. It’s our job as puppy raisers to teach our puppies when it’s appropriate to play and when it’s time to work. We also teach our guide dog pups basic obedience, socialization, and good house manners.
If you’re interested in raising a guide dog puppy please let us know by leaving us a comment or send us an email through our contact form.
So what do you think? Do you have a water dog at home? What breed is your dog? How does your dog beat the summer heat?