This October has been renamed ‘Dogtober’ as we celebrate a successful ‘puppy partnership’ with inspirational charity Dogs for Good. Our local branches will be holding events throughout the UK such as: chatty coffee mornings, dog walks and ‘pupcake’ sales and they are eager to invite everyone to get involved.
We initiated an official partnership with Dogs for Good at the beginning of 2018, with fundraising beginning in earnest. The charity, which is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, trains dogs to help children and adults with all sorts of challenges, including autism, physical disabilities, special educational needs and dementia.
By May of this year, after incredible support from Barking Mad’s dog sitting hosts, customers and friends, enough money had been raised to sponsor Prince, a yellow Labrador assistance dog in training. The money raised through our dog sitting community’s efforts, which have included coffee mornings, quizzes and making toy puppies out of face cloths to sell, is currently supporting Prince through his first year with puppy socialiser Neil. We are delighted to let everyone know that he is making amazing progress into a life-changing dog.
Lee Dancy, Barking Mad’s founder and MD, said:
“We are delighted to have sponsored a puppy in training who will go on to make such a life changing difference but these incredible animals are in such demand that we can’t just stop there. We’d love others to join us in helping to provide more desperately needed assistance dogs by attending our local events and via our online fundraising page. We are now close to reaching our target to sponsor a second doggy superhero puppy in training.
Time after time we see the emotional and physical effects that dogs have on the members of our host community, who care for our doggy guests whilst their owners are away. These beautiful canine creatures give so much to their human companions on a completely unconditional basis. It is our understanding of the benefits of dog companionship which has led us to become official supporters of Dogs for Good.”
Cathryn Simpson, Corporate Partnerships Manager for Dogs for Good said,
‘We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Barking Mad in 2018, there’s obvious synergy between the two organisations in respect of the dogs but more importantly the ethos of both organisations is closely matched and this is important to ensure a successful partnership. Thank you to everyone for getting involved!”
Watch below to see how our ‘Prince’ is getting on
Dogs for Good puppy partner Prince – six months on…
We were delighted to be invited to catch up with Prince, at a special celebratory puppy party. So, what has he been up to?
For the first six months the focus for Prince’s socialiser, Neil, is to make sure that this very important pup has a consistent routine. This helps Prince to develop in areas such as house training, learning to be left alone, and basic obedience. He will spend time socialising around lots of people and animals, and visiting as many different places as possible.
“Prince is doing really well and I am enjoying looking after him. He did well with his house-training; he’s very smart and quickly understood what to do, so we had very few accidents. He sleeps well at night, is happy in his crate and doesn’t wake until I come downstairs in the morning. He’s always friendly, enthusiastic and keen to make friends, enjoying the attention when we are out and about. He greets everyone with a very waggy tail but is quite calm and doesn’t jump up too much, which is really good for such a young puppy.
We’ve been visiting lots of different places: Asda, Marks & Spencer, the doctor’s surgery, the pet shop (Prince’s favourite) and lots more. He’s well behaved and will sit nicely, watching with interest what’s going on around him. He’s not worried by loud or unusual noises and is calm and relaxed even when noisy traffic is thundering past when we’re waiting at the bus stop. He travels happily by car and will settle down quickly in the boot.
Prince always wants to please and is progressing well with his training. He’s mastered sit, stay and down commands and his recall is good when out for a free run, as long as there are no other dogs around. He loves playing with them and sometimes has to be fetched on these occasions; we’ll keep working on this. He walks fairly well on the lead but starts to pull if he thinks we are going to somewhere he particularly enjoys, like the park!
He is getting to know all the local dogs who meet up in the morning. Unfortunately he still hasn’t learned that not all dogs are as enthusiastic as he is to say hello and may not want to play rough and tumble, we’ll keep working on this and he’ll soon get the hang of appropriate greeting I’m sure. Prince has a very healthy appetite and is very food orientated, so loves the treats he gets for good behaviour. I’m using a special gulp bowl for his meals and also feeding him in two parts, otherwise he scoffs it in seconds!”
Neil gets lots of support from Jess, their Dogs for Good puppy coordinator. As well as seeing them at puppy class she will visit them at home, to monitor Prince’s progress and discuss any worries that Neil may have.
“Prince is a happy confident pup. He picks things up quickly, so we must make sure he learns the things we want, rather than any cheeky habits. Prince loves food, so we’ve already started some training to make sure that he takes treats from your fingers or hands calmly and gently. We don’t want any snatching from our pups.
Prince is learning to respond to the ‘busy busy’ command. All Dogs for Good puppies have a special area at home where they are encouraged to go to the toilet. They have to learn to always use the same area, so they are clean when out for a walk or being taken to the shops.
Prince is an enthusiastic participant at puppy class. We practise basic commands and getting Prince comfortable with being handled. This will ensure that whenever he needs to go for a health check, he is not going to feel anxious about being examined by the vet. He’s quite wriggly at the moment and thinks it’s a fun game.
Prince regularly attends puppy classes, which are tailored to the training needs of the puppies attending. Rewards are used when Prince is showing the behaviour Neil wants from him, which strengthens the bond between them and teaches Prince to focus on Neil, even when there are lots of exciting things happening in his vicinity. Puppy classes also give our socialisers the opportunity to meet up on a regular basis and swap stories.”
“Prince has been practising wearing his Dogs for Good jacket. He stands taller, pricks up his ears and is extra attentive. He seems to enjoy working – or is it partly that he knows he will get a better class of treat when we are training? At home he has a large box of toys and enjoys playing with them all. He loves to play in the garden where he enjoys carrying plastic plant pots around; the bigger they are the better he likes them. His favourite toy of all is his fluffy green snake. He settles really well in his crate at night and it’s really sweet hearing him gently snoring.
He loves Jess, our coordinator and she’s pleased with his progress. At our last home visit we went to a garden centre and Prince enjoyed meeting the ducks and chickens.”
How you can help us to support this amazing charity…
Find your local branch to get in touch and find out about the events we are holding in your area. You can also visit the Dogs for Good section of our website to see how our fundraising campaign is progressing. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped so far!