When you train puppies, it’s not easy to say goodbye


When you train puppies, it’s not easy to say goodbye

Durangoan socializing her 12th guide dog puppy

Nancy Peake works with puppies to socialize them prior to advanced training they receive for become a guide dog for the blind.

Don’t pet without asking

Nothing is cuter than a puppy, but a cardinal rule when seeing a puppy wearing a green service jacket is to ask permission before petting.
“When we visit classrooms with the puppies, we teach the children that right away,” said Nancy Peake, who is socializing her 12th puppy for further training as a guide dog. “I’ll be at City Market, and the kids will be there with their parents. The adults will dive down to pet the dog, and their children will stop them. ‘No, that’s against the rules,’ they’ll say.”
It makes sense, she said. The dogs are being trained to be working dogs, where they will likely be responsible for someone’s life. It could be dangerous for them to be distracted.
“And please don’t feel bad if the trainer asks you not to pet the dog,” she said. “They might be in a certain phase of training where they’re learning to deal with distractions.”
Peake has a little more advice for Durangoans:
“It would help so much if everyone kept their dogs on a leash,” she said. “Often, we’ll be walking on the Animas River Trail and dogs who are not on leash or trained will go after the little dogs.”
There’s one more thing that a dog-loving town needs to learn, she said.
“Show these dogs respect,” Peake said. “They’re special animals – and that’s true with all service dogs.”
Peake also said Southwest Bright Eyes, the local organization that provides training and support for puppy raisers, is always looking for more volunteers to raise puppies or be trained puppy-sitters like Bobbi and Dave Rakita. Volunteers’ homes must be screened, and all volunteers have to attend at least three Bright Eyes meetings before they’ll be considered.

To learn more

To learn more about Southwest Bright Eyes, the Southwest Colorado group that socializes puppies to become service dogs, visit http://guidedogs.blogspot.com/2015/08/southwest-bright-eyes-puppy-raisers.html.
Call chapter chairwoman Darla Welty at 533-7231 for more information.
Visit www.guidedogs.com to learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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