Found In Fairview January 2024

Found in Fairview 

Working Dog – Part 3

Take your mind back to the spring, warm weather, budding flowers, and Dexter!  The guide dog in training for CNIB.  Likely, you saw Melody, Dave or one of the kids walking him around, training him and getting him ready for his next adventure – a move to Ontario!  In September, Dexter left for the CNIB Canine Campus in Carleton Ontario.  It was time for the move to the canine campus, since he had learned everything he could here from his family.

When he moved to Carleton, he moved in with another trainer named Mallory.  Mallory spent about 5 weeks with Dexter fine tuning all the commands he had learned here and learning some new commands: looking left and right, stopping at curbs, and finding little detours around sidewalk obstructions.

Talking to Melody, she said that 5 weeks in the second step of the program is quite unheard of. Usually, it takes 3 months for dogs to get to the level of training Dexter has mastered in just 5 weeks!  Way to go Dexter!

Dexter’s final step before moving on to an official CNIB guide dog is learning from a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. He will be taught to go around obstacles and through mazes.  He will also learn to be more confident crossing roads, and continue to fine tune all the other commands he has learned. And, very importantly, he will continue to build his confidence.

Once the mobility instructor feels that Dexter is ready, he will be matched with a visually impaired person! This is Dexter’s ultimate goal!

Occasionally, dogs, like humans, get overwhelmed with what is being asked of them, and they cannot cope with the pressure.  If this is the case, the dogs will be sent on different paths.  They can become a Buddy dog, working with kids up to 16, getting them used to a guide dog. The other path is becoming a CNIB Ambassador Dog.  In this role, the dog will go around to events and promote the guide dog program at CNIB.

It’s pretty unlikely that Dexter will ever be back at his first home.  I asked Melody how she felt about this.  She has mixed feelings.  She is thrilled that Dexter is doing so well, but he is missed around the house.

They are not ready to take on another dog full time yet, but they are boarding dogs for the CNIB when people go on holiday, or just need a break.

So, you won’t see Dexter and his yellow vest in the neighbourhood, but you may see some other working dogs!

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