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

HRH Prince Harry meets Jon Flint and Varick at the Invictus Games
One of our partners, Jon Flint, who has canine partner Varick, was honoured to meet Prince Harry at the Invictus Games yesterday.

Pam Ayres films our BBC Lifeline Appeal
Poet and national treasure Pam Ayres recently spent time at our southern training centre filming for our BBC Lifeline Appeal which is broadcast on Sunday 21 September at 4.15 PM.

Our week on television!
This week we have had two major television appearances - in very different programmes - which has given us an opportunity to talk about and demonstrate our work to a wider audience.

CEO's Blog

Shooting Stars and Lifelines

Andy Cook - Monday, September 22, 2014
I'm writing this on my phone, travelling up to London in the car (you'll be pleased to know I'm not driving - Vicky has that pleasure). So excuse typos. A mixture of fat fingers and bumpy roads. Plus, of course, I'm rubbish at typing. We're heading up to the TV studio in Hackney, getting ready to take part in some live filming tomorrow, on Channel 4's 'Dogs: Their Secret Lives'. Today is our chance to meet the pet dogs that we'll be tra  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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