Luna celebrated her first birthday on 10 June and has developed into a very lovable and clever puppy, says her volunteer. “She is now much calmer in the house and knows what she is allowed and not allowed to do. She loves going on walks, is very enthusiastic when we practice with her and very keen to learn. Going to the park and playing with other dogs, is her favourite thing to do as well as getting into a muddy paddle and all sorts of water and streams. If there is mud on a field, Luna will find it and make sure I know about it!”
Luna has started to walk nicely on her lead and as she is growing up and getting bigger, she now sleeps in her big girl’s bed. Part of Luna’s training is getting her used to meeting different people and animals and experience different environments and experiences as she goes about her daily life with her volunteer. She has met a has met a cat and was ok with it and seen cows and sheep on their walks.
Recently, she has learnt to ignore birds while she is on her lead, but they are still very fascinating creatures and sometimes Luna finds it challenging not to be distracted by them. Keeping her focus around distractions such as birds, food and bikes will be areas to concentrate on over the next few months.
Luna isn’t very keen on being at the vet’s, but she is making progress as her volunteer takes her to visit the waiting room once a week.
“After her first meal she knows I am going out to do the school run. She waits patiently for me to come back home and take her out for a walk. Then she has a nap waking up ready for another adventure, we usually do a bit of training and games (she loves hide-and-seek with her toys). Then she has her dinner followed by another longer walk with me and my husband. After that she is tired and snoozes around us until it is bed time and a bedtime biscuit!”
Luna’s Training – Puppy Two Star
Luna successfully completed her Puppy Two Star award in March and has now moved to ‘secondary school’ where she is working on completing her Puppy Three Star.
Part of Luna’s training has been to gradually introduce her to a variety of experiences, sounds, people, and animals. In the last six months she has enjoyed lots of outings – to town and the shops, she’s been on a train and bus and visited her volunteer’s friends in London. She’s even completed a 7k run for charity at Blenheim Palace and she finished in sixth place with her volunteer’s son!
Puppy Three Star
This is the stage where Luna’s training is focused on building on what she has already learnt in ‘primary school’ (Puppy Two Star). She knows what behaviour is expected of her and she is now given the opportunity to make the correct choices, rather than being told what to do.
Luna regularly attends the meet ups and classes for the hearing dog puppies in her area where she takes part in outdoor and indoor training and group walks. In class recently she started tape targeting / hand targeting which is the first step in learning how to alert her eventual deaf partner to important sounds. This is great preparation for her future sound work training which will take place in Puppy Four Star.
As Luna matures, she has become much more confident in towns and busy places and has improved with her impulse control; she has better recall while out and about, especially while playing with the other dogs.
“Luna is a cuddly affectionate bundle of fun, says her trainer. She is so pleased to see me when I turn up and has a lot of love to give. She is so good off lead and a real pleasure to walk. It is a joy to watch her confidence go from strength to strength out and about and I have no doubt she will make a wonderful companion to someone that needs her.”
What a busy six months Luna has had on her training journey and the next six months will be even more exciting as she continues with her lessons and encounters different experiences and busier environments as we approach a more normal summer.
Contributed by Jo Wengler, Head of Major Giving at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
As well as sponsoring Luna through her training, we’re also supporting Hearing Dogs for Deaf People through the Campaign for Better Hearing. The Campaign is touring the country, encouraging everyone to recognise the importance that their hearing plays in their physical and mental well-being. It also encourages everyone over the age of 55 to take an annual hearing test.
And for every online hearing test taken as a result of the Campaign, we donate £1 to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. To find out how well you can hear, and to support Hearing Dogs through the Campaign, you can take our online hearing test by following the link. Or you can book your full, in-depth hearing test today.