Puppy Evaluation is an important part of the guide dog puppy raising process. Puppies in training are kenneled at Guide Dogs of America‘s Sylmar campus for a couple days and are evaluated by the GDA Staff. This is an important part of puppy raising because the puppy raiser’s receive a report that shows how their puppy is doing with training/socialization and areas that need improvement.
Guide Dogs of America‘s Puppy’s in Training are supposed to receive evaluation reports at 8 months of age. Stetson did receive a short evaluation at 8 months, but we think this was because he was under consideration as a breeder. If he became a breeder then he would have joined GDA’s breeding stock and never would have become a full-fledged guide. Fortunately or unfortunately he is not being considered as a breeder and was neutered shortly after his 8 month evaluation. Stetson received his second evaluation at 10 months and I included his entire report in the next section of this article.
Stetson’s Puppy Evaluation Report
In run: excited.
Overall behavior: good.
Relieving on leash: “U” when given the opp. to do so.
Evaluation Walk in Unfamiliar Area: location: Valencia-shopping area
Response to People: excited but controllable.
Other dogs: excited but responded to commands.
Animals (birds, squirrels, etc.): fine.
Loud sounds: seemed fine.
Traffic: not bothered.
New handler: responded well.
Other (stairs, kids, sniffing, etc): some sniffing at times but responded to corrections.
Energy Level: moderate to high.
Response to correction: required firm corrections at times.
Behavior in establishments: good.
Overall stress: minimal.
Comments / Recommendations:
Dog responded well overall in new area with new handler. Dog responded well to OB commands. Dog was somewhat sniffy – pulled to sniff in areas but responded to corrections.
Continue to expose dog to new areas as he matures. Continue to practice loose leash heeling with distractions.
Not at this time.
My Puppy Evaluation
I agree with pretty much everything on the report.
Stetson does really well with his obedience commands. He is very calm at my office (he comes to work with me everyday) and is fairly calm after initially meeting people and dogs. He heels really well when there are no distractions. Loud sounds don’t bother him and he’s not distracted by birds and rabbits. He has no problem working with different handlers and doesn’t show any separation anxiety when staying with a different puppy raiser. He doesn’t take things out of the trash can.
He gets excitable when meeting wit new people and dogs. He’s a voracious eater. He tends to get ear infections (3 times since I’ve had him). He tears up his toys very easily (strong chewer). Anything on the floor is fair game to him, but he obeys you when you tell him to “leave it”.
He’s really, really bad with his sniffing. He obeys corrections when sniffing and will listen when you say “no sniff”, but seconds later he’ll have his nose to the ground.
Overall I think Stetson did pretty well on his GDA evaluation. I’m hoping that as time goes on Stetson will calm down a little more and learn to greet people with less enthusiasm. I’ll keep you posted.
What do you think? Have you ever raised a guide or service dog? Did you go through a similar process? How did your report turn out?