Rambles with Remus: Daily Tasks
How are you all doing during lockdown? I hope everyone is staying safe and well and managing to keep busy. In this blog I wanted to share with you in more detail some of the things Remus does to help me on a daily basis. I know that each assistance dog has a very unique and specific job to do depending on the needs of their owner so not every assistance dog will carry out the same tasks. For example, a Canine Partner assists their human partner in a different way to a Hearing Dog for deaf people or a Guide Dog for blind and visually impaired people. However, the charities are beginning to work together to provide dual assistance dogs for people who may have multiple disabilities. All registered assistance dog organisations are recognised under the umbrella organisation of Assistance Dogs UK.
Canine Partners use specific breeds of dog to become part of their training programme. This can include, Labradors, Retrievers, Poodles and cross breeds of these types of dogs. This is because the dogs need to have the right stature and temperament to help a disabled person. Many of the tasks that Canine Partners may be required to do are tailored to the needs of their individual partner. But all the dogs do learn some basic foundation tasks before being partnered. These tasks include loading and unloading the washing machine, opening and closing doors, retrieving named items, helping to take off items of clothing and pressing lift and pedestrian crossing buttons. Here are some short video clips which show some of the things Remus helps with on a daily basis.
The training continues during a dog’s working life. All the tasks that a Canine Partner learns are based on three main skills of tug, touch and retrieve. These are all skills that come naturally to a dog. During a two week training course the human partner learns the necessary skills to continue working with their Canine partner at home. Each dog perhaps has a task that they particularly enjoy doing. For Remus I would say he particularly enjoys opening doors and taking off my socks! This is because he really enjoys tugging on things. During this lockdown period I have to say I have really enjoyed teaching Remus. He loves learning new tasks and I love training with him as it gives me something positive to focus on particularly during this difficult time. All his training is based on praise and reward so he really enjoys it.
As well as working hard to help me, Remus also gets an hour of free play every day. This is really important as it means he has time where he can play and relax like any other dog. This is a requirement of applying for a Canine Partner, the applicant must be able to build their dog’s off lead exercise into their day. Here is a short video of Remus having some fun in the garden:
One of his favourite pastimes is to play football! He loves to do this with an old burst football as it's easier for him to get hold of it! I really love playing with him as it helps us both to relax and brings out his cheeky personality.
Do you have an assistance dog? What tasks do they particularly enjoy doing and what do they like to do in their down time? Share your experiences in the comments below!
In my next blog I'll talk about how Remus helps me on days when I am working in the Euan’s Guide office, which we've not done for some time now!
Written by Zoe Maclean, Reviewer Engagement & Outreach Coordinator
Rambles with Remus
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