What happens after a dog is matched with their partner? #InternationalAssistanceDogWeek

Posted 1 year ago in the Meet the team category

To celebrate International Assistance Dog Week, we have shared information about how our dogs are matched with their human partner, and what happens next.

To celebrate International Assistance Dog Week, we are sharing lots of photos, videos and information about our amazing dogs and the journey they take to become an assistance dog.

In this blog post, we thought we would share ‘what happens next’ once a canine partner is matched with their human partner having completed their advanced training at one of our training centres.

How are our dogs matched to their future partner?

Our advanced training team are responsible for further developing the training that the puppies learn with their volunteer puppy parents. Our trainers are highly skilled dog trainers and have a breadth of experience which makes them perfect for the job!

They will further teach the dogs the tug, touch and retrieve basis of all commands our partners might need as well as taking them out into real-world situations to learn how to walk nicely alongside a wheelchair and deal with the natural distractions that take place in a busy environment, such as a town centre.

As this training is taking place, our advanced trainers will be working with our applications team to match a dog with someone on our waiting list. This matching will be dependent on a number of factors, including an assessment with the applicant where they meet and work with some of our dogs in training. The advanced training team will then introduce some new skills for their dogs that are tailored to the applicant’s specific requirements.

“Our dogs are truly amazing as they learn the most remarkable tasks and provide so much happiness and support to our partners. Canine partners are always so eager to please and have so much love to give their partner.

I work with people who sometimes have not been out of their home on their own for years as they are unable to open their front door. After going home with their canine partner, a new avenue of life happens where their canine partner gives them so much independence.”

– Sara Trott, Advanced Trainer

Partner training

Once the advanced training is complete, the applicant is invited to one of our training centres to meet their dog and begin a two-week course of training usually carried out at the training centre. The applicant and their canine partner will learn how to work as a team and begin forming that special bond together.

What happens next?

At the end of the course, the partnership will return home to begin their new journey together.

Our aftercare team are on hand to offer ongoing care and guidance as well as regular visits at the beginning of the partnership to ensure all is going well, and to provide further training as needs may change over time. This aftercare support will continue until the dog’s well-deserved retirement!

“In my job, I’m lucky enough to see the results of all the teams that come before me and the work that they put into our dogs. I get to support new partnerships, develop existing ones and see lives changing at every visit. There’s always a point, a few months in to a new partnership where the partner will tell me that they’ve been to a new place, somewhere they never thought they’d go, let alone by themselves and they look down at their dog and there’s a real acknowledgement that it wouldn’t have happened without them. I also love the phone calls I get saying ‘s/he picked up my phone when I dropped it in the supermarket!’ and it’s delivered with total joy.

When I first meet our partners I often hear similar experiences of people not feeling able to go out much or join in but within a few weeks, I hear more and more about the places they’ve gone, the people they’ve met and the circle of Canine Partners friends they have discovered. It can be quite an emotional job and I feel really privileged to be part of that transformational experience.”

– Hannah Liebeskind, Aftercare Instructor

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