Once again, the Louis Braille Summer Camp welcomed puppies in training! Eighteen came for a visit this year, a mixture of black and golden labs. Upon arrival, they assembled indoors, each one a model of exemplary behavior.
After the children were seated on the back patio, the dogs were paraded out one by one, stopping for an introduction and a brief description of breed, color, and personality traits. These delightful dogs always appear to be smiling and enjoying life.
So many dogs congregating in close proximity with not one confrontation; just mutual sniffings and some cautious and curious looks at their fellow trainees.
After the initial introductions, dog toys were brought out, and some of the children played tug-of-war with the pups, while others took brushes to groom them, the dogs’ eyes taking on dreamy looks of pure pleasure.
To wrap up the morning’s activities, a piñata (paper shopping bag) was held on a pole and each child took several turns swatting at the bag, which finally burst open, displaying several small stuffed animal replicas of the dogs, each wearing a scarf labeled “dog in training.” A special treat enjoyed by each child.
Guide Dog Training Facts: The puppies are born on “campuses” located in several states. When they reach 8-9 weeks old, they are taken to volunteer puppy raisers, who train them in basic obedience and good manners, including socialization. After 14-18 months, the dogs are returned to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campuses in San Rafael, CA, and Boring, OR, for formal training.