Luna the hearing dog: 18-month update
Luna passed her Puppy Three Star training stage in June and then moved to a new volunteer’s home to study her Puppy Four Star, which she has now also passed – she’s had a busy six months! And she has just moved to a new trainer as her previous trainer is leaving the charity. Lots of activity and new experiences for Luna to adjust to, but she’s taking it all in her stride. Well done, Luna!
She still loves running in the fields and sniffing around and playing ball with her volunteer’s grandchildren. She also loves her cuddles – lots of cuddles from her favourite people!
Luna’s volunteer says: “Luna is a lovely friendly spaniel who loves her food and is loved by our grandchildren, all nine of them! She loves chasing after a ball but is not keen on returning it to the thrower…but we are working on this!
“She has started to take part in recall and agility classes – recall, so we can strengthen her already good response as she has started to become more and more interested in scents when out and about. Agility is just for fun!”
Recently, Luna has improved with seeing the vet. At a routine check-up, the vet was very nice, gave her treats and Luna warmed to him nicely as he checked her over. This is a great improvement for Luna, and her volunteers are very proud of her. She has also become much more confident when meeting strangers.
Luna’s final training home is in the High Wycombe area, and she has been to High Wycombe town centre a few times. She is very well behaved there and enjoys all the attention she gets in the shops and when her volunteers stop for a coffee in the local Costa. The street Luna and her volunteers live on is very sociable, so she has made lots of new human and dog friends at the local dog-friendly pub. She has been on holiday cover recently, to the lady who lives across the street, and during the summer Luna camped out in the garden with her volunteer! She’s met lots of different animals too – at a special pets day at church, she even met a tortoise!
In puppy class recently, Luna participated in her first agility session, it was pouring down with rain, but this didn’t stop Luna from enjoying the new challenge.
Luna wakes at about 7.15am and looks forward to her breakfast. This is followed by an hour's walk in the field and woods. She then likes to play with one of her toys from the toy box and maybe has a quick sleep before lunch. In the afternoon she has a slightly longer walk, ideally in the woods again and meeting other dogs. After her evening meal, we normally play with her and her toys and she likes to have a treat before bedtime about 11.00pm.
Luna successfully passed her Puppy Three Star in June. As a reminder, 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.
She then moved onto her Puppy Four Star training which is when she moved to her new volunteer in High Wycombe. This stage of Luna’s training is where she has learnt how to alert others to sounds like the doorbell, telephone and the fire alarm, which will make a huge difference to her eventual deaf partner’s life. Luna has learnt to alert her volunteer on the bed when the cooker timer or smoke alarm goes off, she gets very excited that she is allowed to jump on the bed! This is the sound work part of her training and final stage before the qualifying assessment to become a fully accredited hearing dog. Luna has already been matched to her deaf partner and during Puppy Four Star, Luna’s training team will have begun to personalise her training to the circumstances of her new partner.
Luna has just passed her Puppy Four Star award and will soon take her final training assessments but as she is moving to a new trainer to complete this, she’ll be given some adjustment time to allow them to get to know each other.
Luna’s current trainer says: “Luna is a very affectionate sweet girl; I love going to collect her and seeing how excited she gets when I arrive. She loves going to Hughenden Park and playing with a ball and other dogs, of course. She is a pleasure to teach, and I love working with her.
“She still needs to improve on not getting excited about bikes and joggers, Luna seems to want to run alongside them. We are starting to make progress with this, but she still needs to work on it.
“Sound work is Luna’s main priority now; she seems to really enjoy it and is very enthusiastic however, she needs to learn to respond to the sounds consistently and discriminate between the sounds.”
Good luck, Luna, as you get to know your new trainer and work towards your final training assessments to become a fully accredited Hearing Dog. We look forward to keeping you posted on her progress as she reaches her second birthday in June.
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 encourages 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.