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Overcoming Obstacles


DOGS-IN-TRAINING RETURN TO SOUTHEASTERN GUIDEDOGS CAMPUS. After the closing of many campus facilities in response to the coronavirus health and safety mandates, the Southeastern Guide Dogs world is starting to feel alive again. Dogs-in-training have begun returning from their host homes, and once again you can hear the sounds of playing in the play yards, and see trainers work- ing with dogs along the sidewalks and pathways. Hosting of dogs in staff and puppy raiser homes continues on the weekends. Giving the dogs a weekend getaway minimizes kennel stress and maximizes their in-home socialization, which is excellent for their overall training. The new Canine Aquatic Center is also quite active.


A specialized canine fitness team has been exercising dogs in the pool nearly every morning, and trainers bring other dogs in for pool fitness in the afternoons. CLASSES TO RESUME Between now and the end of December, there are


eight new classes scheduled: Three service dog classes serv- ing a total of 15 to 20 veterans, and five guide dog classes serving 30 to 35 people with vision loss. Southeastern Guide Dogs has implemented robust safety protocols for these classes, which will start out small. DISTANCE LEARNING BEGINS In response to the need for virtual communication,


Southeastern Guide Dogs has launched a web-based series of pre-class virtual training videos and other resources for both guide and service dog applicants-in-waiting as well as alumni who may wish to review class lectures. Applicants have an opportunity to become familiar with the training materials prior to starting a class, enriching their experi- ence and helping them to be more prepared. Town Hall meetings via Zoom offer approved guide


dog and service dog applicants a welcome to the Southeastern Guide Dogs’ family and preview plans for upcoming classes. Puppy Raising Services has also launched a distance


learning initiative, a virtual pre-placement class as part of the requirements for new puppy raiser applicants. During a time of physical distancing, new applicants are being approved virtually, and this six-unit course covers all of the basics that new raisers need to know. Topics include under- standing canine body language, impulse control, and prop- er socialization, among others. Once applicants complete the first unit, they connect with an area coordinator for the remaining five units and to attend virtual puppy meetings. Southeastern Guide Dogs is very excited to continue


to deliver on its mission, and as always, the organization is doing everything possible to make sure everyone is safe, socially distanced and healthy. Just like the puppies, everyone should keep smiling,


keep learning, and keep washing their paws. For more information visit GuideDogs.org


U www.TheNewBarker.com


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THE NEW BARKER 51


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