Competitions and playful tasks – this is how our adolescent students practice

Enriched by summer experiences, our „O” and „P” named dogs entered adolescence at the same time. We gathered with them and their „foster-parent” carers on Hajógyári Island, where our student guide dogs practiced by carrying out creative tasks.

Ostya, Origo, Prizma, Perec and their siblings enjoyed the group-activity. Our puppy coordinator Nóra Juhász created awesome tasks for them and their carers. We held our September puppy-day outdoors with a small group of people, keeping sufficiently distant and wearing masks when necessary.

“I’m excited to be a part of this program and to be a puppy carer” commented Nora Kelemen, who is is raising her second prospective guidedog. „We’re not just giving something with this volunteer work, we also get a lot back and we are members of a very good community”.

As usual the puppy meeting starts with a huge collective race-around. Our dogs are always eager for exercise and ready to race about, but especially now as due to the pandemic there is no opportunity to hold larger events.

Marika Szucs, who is raising her third puppy for the association recommends for everyone to take up this kind of volunteer work. “I belong to the older element of society and my advice applies particularly to people like me, because by doing this I don’t have to go to the doctor as much or to think about medicine. You get to exercise every day, as you have to pay attention to the little creature. We get a lot more than we give,” said Marika.

Playful adolescents become serious guide dogs

We practiced a lot of things at the puppy meeting, all of which served the purpose of making it easier for our Labradors to acquire the knowledge they need for their work. Through creative exercises, they practiced walking to heel, concentrating on the owner, and responding to voice commandsat various levels of difficulty.

“Today, we practiced with different tasks to keep our students disciplined in the company of other dogs as well. We carried out a lot of instructive tasks, including walking both on and off the leash and performing tasks without a reward, ”explained puppy coordinator Nóra Juhász at the end of the meeting.

The coronavirus epidemic has also affected the training of guide dogs

“The virus situation has also affected our work. In the spring, the scheduled exams were officially abandoned and our work with our clients had to be stopped” commented our professional leader, Piroska Komondi.

After the emergency restrictions were relaxed, we worked hard with our couples over the summer, and the first fruits of this work have now ripened. In September, first Zsófi and Mokka and then Barbi and Bebe passed the traffic safety exam, to the delight of all our professional staff and trainers.

We held our first fall puppy meeting in compliance with epidemiological rules, and are confident that we can hold the October meeting in the same safe format and will not have to return to online learning.