Do you remember your first day of school?  Were you all nervous walking into class?  Were you shy to make friends?  Well, let’s just say none of that matters in puppy school!  I don’t think there could be anything more exciting (other than a bottomless bowl of dog food) to a puppy than going to class for the first time.  The sight of all those other puppies!!  It was like a great big puppy party! Getting these youngsters to settle and stay calm was somewhat of a chore for us Puppy raisers but let’s face it, the class was more for us then our little furry four legged friends.  

CNIB guide dog puppies playing in their vests

Puppy Pile On


Most dog owners take on the responsibility of teaching their dogs the basic commands.  Attending obedience classes helps with this in addition to socializing your pet with other dogs should they not be getting that at home.  Again we strive to have well mannered and obedient dogs who hopefully respond to our commands on cue. Naturally we use our “calm, assertive energy”,  and strive to be a dog whisperer like Cesar Millan.  But it does not come easy.


black lab puppy learnaing to sit.

Karen Hanlon teaching some basic commands.


So we brought our 6 guide dog puppies (2 – 41/2 month olds and 4 – 11 week olds) to school to learn the basics.  Andrew and Karen Hanlon, who are running the CNIB’s new Guide Dog program patiently worked with us and our puppies as we practiced various commands that will help our pups be well mannered dogs. 


black lab pup in training


Keller is copying the “down” command.


Keller watching closely.


Practising some walking techniques.


Piper taking it all in.


Ulysses naps during class.


Once our class was ended and the puppies had enough instruction for one session, it was outside to let loose and attempt to get some photos.  Needless to say, organizing a group of 2 year old children would be easier than rounding up 6 rambunctious puppies for a photo shoot!  Keeping them clean in their bright yellow jackets was futile as they tumbled and rolled over each other in the grass.  

Puppy playtime.


Litter mates Keller and Ulysses can never get enough rough housing.


Handsome Piper at 4 1/2 months.


It was a nice thought to pose 6 puppies for a photo.


But in reality, one puppy per arm was a better option.


The CNIB’s First Family of the Guide Dog Program.


So our first class was a lot of fun meeting the other Puppy Raisers and their special puppies and also learning some new training techniques.  We have our work cut out for us as we work with our puppies on a daily basis to reinforce some basic skills that will be important as they grow into highly specialized working dogs.  But one thing for sure, these puppies love going to school!

NEXT:  Keller starts to go places.