Puppy education and socialisation

Puppies are carefully selected using specially developed aptitude tests, which help to identify potential assistance dogs. Essential qualities include a gentle, co-operative nature, curiosity, a strong desire to be with people and a steady temperament. Most of our puppies are from the retriever-type breeds. Labradors, Golden Retriever, Flatcoats, GSD or, in many cases, crosses between these breeds. We also select some crosses between Poodles, Labradors or Retrievers, in case a Partner has allergies or uses respiratory equipment.

We have also trained rescue puppies to become assistance dogs, such as David and canine partner Zack. We have to pay for the majority of our puppies (approx £650) and get a few kindly donated, with plans to increase the training success rate and cut costs by breeding an increased number of our own puppies.

The puppies are cared for by volunteer "Puppy Parents" from the age of eight weeks to about fourteen months. By attending weekly training classes at one of our thirteen Puppy Training Satellites nationwide, Puppy Parents learn how to socialise puppies to every environment an assistance dog might work in, such as busy streets, shops, hospitals, supermarkets and workplaces.


Puppies are taught how to problem solve, a quality crucial to successfully working as an assistance dog at an exceptionally high level.

Andy Cook, CEO, explains the three stages of training a canine partner, from pup to fully trained working assistance dog. On this first page he focuses on stage one: puppy training.

After their puppy socialisation they move to the West Sussex Training Centre and our Advanced Trainers take over!

When our pups come into Advanced Training, at about 14 months old, we will then tailor-make their training to the needs of each individual. Training takes from 4-6 months and tasks will include:

 

The Well-Being of our dogs

Our dogs receive a huge amount of praise, love and affection throughout the training programme, and are trained using the most up-to-date positive motivational training methods. All our dogs have the opportunity to play, relax and "just be dogs" and they lead full and rewarding lives with their Partners, who provide them with the best possible care. We oversee the well-being of all our dogs throughout their entire working lives and ensure they enjoy a happy retirement, when that time comes.
 

Latest News

First BIG Bluebell Dog Walk
Our first BIG Bluebell Dog Walk of the season took place this Sunday in London, launching a record number of walks for 2014. There are 14 walks to choose from all over the country with the first at leafy Eltham Park South, Eltham in London. Organiser Julia Milligan invited walkers to join her for the hour-long stroll through the bluebells at the Glenesk Road park from 10.30am. The BIG Bluebell Dog Walk enjoyed a scenic hour long walk to raise funds and awareness for the Charity.

Solidering On with Steve and Kizzie
Saturday night saw one of our favourite partnerships take centre stage at the Soldiering On Awards in Central London. Steve and canine partner Kizzie were honoured at the annual event and named winner of the Soldiering On Canine Award 2014. The former Royal Navy Petty Officer had won a public vote to take the title. Readers of the Sunday Mirror as well as the huge family that is Canine Partners supporters and volunteers chose the partnership to lift the coveted title.

Passing the baton for Canine Partners
One of our partnerships and two puppy parents have been chosen to play their part in the Queen's Baton Relay as part of the celebrations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. Zoe McLean and Remus and dedicated puppy parents Lorraine Bonnar and Graham Smith have been selected to carry the baton on its way to launch the XX Games. The baton left Buckingham Palace on 9 October last year and will travel to 70 Commonwealth countries before it arrives in Scotland for the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July.

CEO's Blog

The London Marathon - an alternative view

Andy Cook - Monday, April 14, 2014
Well what an amazing day!! If anyone ever gives you the chance to take part in the London Marathon, grab it with both hands first, and think of the pain afterwards, as a necessary evil of participating in a once in a lifetime experience. I never dreamed my name would get pulled out of the hat - only one in seven do - and I must admit I had very mixed feelings when it did, last October, as your life is then committed to a winter of training. But w  Read More

Canine Partners’ Leicestershire Training Centre

Canine Partners needs to raise £3.1million to build a second Training Centre in order to train more dogs and change more lives.

We have purchased a site in a village called Osgathorpe, halfway between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough, which has a range of barns, outbuildings and associated land. The plan is to replace the barns and adapt some of the outbuildings to create the specialised buildings we need.

Having a Midlands Training Centre will not only increase our output, it will also make the charity far more accessible for those on our waiting list who are unable to make the long journey to our centre in West Sussex. 42% of the applications we received last year were from people living in the mid and northern regions of the UK. Many of our existing partnerships will also benefit from being able to receive support from the new centre.

The site will consist of a training centre and office facilities, fully accessible accommodation and kennelling.

This is an extremely exciting time for Canine Partners and we would be delighted to receive your support.

For more information about this project, please contact Cat Harvey on 01730 716018 or email catharvey@caninepartners.org.uk

Jobs available at the new centre will be advertised on our Vacancies page here: Work for us

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