When the dog comes into the training centre in Banbury, he is cared for by our Kennels and Welfare Team and works with one of our dog trainers who:
- Develop his obedience – ensures the dog is responding to commands accurately and consistently
- Introduce various requirements that a client will have such as walking next to a wheelchair
- Teach him the task work he will carry out for his new owner e.g. retrieving dropped items.
In early training the dog is assessed at key points to ensure he’s progressing suitably to meet the standards required by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).
He will complete an end of early training assessment, usually at around 20 months old, before moving onto an Instructor who will tailor his training specifically for the potential owner.
What’s a typical day in kennels for our dogs? Watch this video and find out:
Throughout the early training phase the Kennel Assistants work with the dogs in kennels on a daily basis ensuring that their environment is maintained to a high standard. They ensure that the dogs are fed, watered and regularly toileted throughout the day. They are also health checked on a weekly basis and groomed a minimum of 3 times a week.
The Kennel Team also provide a variety of environmental enrichment to keep the dogs as stimulated as possible. Enrichment aims to improve the life of a dog by reducing stress levels. If a dog is relaxed and mentally stimulated in the kennel environment then it is more likely to be relaxed and less reactive when training. The list of activities includes:
- Free running on their own or with other dogs in our field using a selection of wooden play equipment
- Toy time with other dogs and toys
- 1-2-1 sessions using tellington touch
- Chew time – nylobones and kongs
- Nina Ottosson wooden puzzles
- Sound via the radio and the clix cd
- Scent via aromatherapy – lavender and patchouli and eucalyptus
The dogs receive a pre-training vet check when they arrive in for training to sign them off and state that they are fit and healthy. They then receive a vet check 2 weeks before the training course with their new owner, and again during the training course to give the owner a positive experience of a vet, and a chance to talk about any concerns they may have.