Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not Quite Yet

The matching process of human and canine is a huge, and almost magical part of The Seeing Eye experience for our students and staff. Instructors spend four months training their string of dogs, and along the way make careful notes about pace, pull, distraction, energy and other characteristics that will later help them in matching canine to student.

The instructor also evaluates each student through discussion and "Juno walks" (the instructor holds the harness handle, acting as the Seeing Eye dog, and guides the student in various environments, getting an idea of how fast a person prefers to walk and how much pull they prefer). The instructors then combine what they know about their students and what they know about their canines, mix in a some gut instinct, and determine the match.

This morning, students in the October class were matched with their new dogs. After careful determination, the instructors felt there is not a proper match for Vinson's pace, pull, energy level, etc. in this particular class, so he will remain on campus with daily walks and enrichment, and perhaps some additional training, until the next class arrives.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Things Change... Quickly!

We've never had a doubt about Vinson's intelligence, and he's apparently proved his quick-learning skills over the last few weeks!

We received a note from Lori telling us that Vinson has done extremely well working on his distraction issues in the last few weeks and that he is ready to be matched if the right student is in class. The new class starts next week, so keep checking back: Vinson remains full of surprises!

We'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Town Walk: A Great Worker, Still Goofy!

Sarah and I attended Vinson's town walk yesterday and had the chance to watch him working through town in harness. Along the way he displayed intelligent disobedience during traffic checks, guided Lori around an obstacle and posed for some photos at the end.

True to his nature, Vinson still maintains his puppy energy, and unfortunately, his puppy tendency to be distracted by blowing leaves, balls, etc.

Vinson is working excellently in harness, but his instructor is concerned about his distraction level. Because he seems so smart, confident and willing to work, Vinson will be assigned to a second instructor to work specifically on the distraction issues and allowing Vinson more time to mature.

So, as has been the case since day one, Vinson continues to write his story his own way. At the end of the month, he'll begin bonding with his new instructor who will have all of Lori's reports on him available.

Could be a few more months now, and the possibility of Vinson "changing careers" is still out there too. It's all up to our crazy, happy puppy at this point.

Special thanks to Lori for sharing part of her afternoon with us to explain all of the great training she's done with Vinson.

As promised, here's a video of Vinson's town walk. Check back for updates, and enjoy!