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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Training TIP: Sometimes it is OKAY to Leave Your Puppy Home.

The 10th and last item in the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is "Supervised Separation."  Your dog must calmly wait (no continuous barking, whining, or pacing) with a stranger while you are out of sight for three minutes.

Three minutes is a LONG time when you are the one that is staying out of sight!

For a Future Leader Dog puppy, learning to be comfortable with someone other than his puppy-raiser will go a long way to helping him adjust to his new life when he returns to Leader Dogs for the Blind.  Later, when the puppy graduates and becomes a working Leader Dog, he will need to stay relaxed in those situations when he can't be with his handler.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday (Puppy Days 2011), I decided to leave FLD Gus home with my husband Andy for my quick two-day trip to the city.  I didn't think that his missing the mayhem at Leader Dogs would set him back; Gus is almost one year old and he's had plenty of socialization.  Rather, I thought that a couple of days away from me might do him some good.

The first evening, Andy reported that Gus wandered around the house after I left as if trying to find me, but by the next day it was business as usual.


It is OKAY to leave your puppy at home. 

Like when I was the "official" photographer at my nephew's wedding in June.  Taking FLD Gus to a wedding would have been a wonderful experience to help prepare him for his future life as a working Leader Dog, but I knew that I would be too busy looking through my camera lens to adequately keep track of his behavior.  He stayed home.

While one of the most important duties we have as puppy-raisers is to take our puppies out in public for socialization, sometimes it is best to leave the puppy at home.

Best for the puppy.  And best for YOU!

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