Sue and Nancy are currently evaluating six dogs from the Big Dog class.  Benny, Boston, Izzo, Nala, Sawyer and Rugby will be put through their paces over the next three weeks.  Evaluations are performed for several reasons.  Skills are reviewed to see where each dog is in their training, what they excel at and what skills need more work.  It also gives the HP staff an opportunity to get to know the dogs and their personalities a little better.  This information is really useful in trying to match a dog with a potential partner.  And the third reason is to give the foster homes feedback.  Sawyer and Rugby were kind enough to show off some of their skills for me today.

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The Big Dog class had a field trip at Ridgedale last week.

Here is a picture of three of the black Labs; Theo, Kaia and Libby.  Looks like Helping Paws Labs come in Large, medium and small.

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Four of the Maverick X Faith puppies were kind enough to take a break from class last week and pose for a picture.

These eleven month old service dogs-in-training are in the Awesome Adolescents class that meets on Wednesday nights.  From left to right are Liza with Rob, Dande with Melissa, Cassie with Kirk and Hope (potential HP breeding dog) with Lori.

Not only are these four sisters beautiful, but their training is going beautifully too!

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Helping Paws hosted a Foster Home Open House this past Saturday.  This was an opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer foster home trainer to find out more about the program by visiting with staff and current foster homes.  It was also a chance to see some of our dogs in action and learn how they are trained and what skills they learn.  Thank you to all of the volunteers who came Saturday morning to help with this event.

We are expecting lots of puppies this spring and are actively looking for foster homes so if you missed the open house but are interested in learning more about becoming a foster home, please contact Nancy Hiebert at nhiebert@helpingpaws.org. We would love to talk to you!

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These three Labs are littermates and have been in class together for two and a half years.  This week they had their last class together.  This is not only a parting of the way for these dogs but also for their foster homes, who have become good friends.  Pictured below are Mary and Kaia, Joan and Bud and Pamela and Theo.  Stay tuned for news on what the future holds for them.

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The Faith x Maverick and Cheers x Truman puppies turned one year old this past week.  The Thursday 12:30 Awesome Adolescents class celebrated their birthdays with games and food.

The party started with a game of “Don’t Drop The Marshmallow.”  Our service dogs-in-training showed off their loose leash walking skills while their foster homes carried a marshmallow on a spoon.

Then it was on to the obstacle course.  At each station the dogs were given a cue which they had to complete before moving on to the next station.  This was a great opportunity to review and show off all they have learned over the last year.

Get Dressed

Under

Over

Push

Tug

Go To Bed

Roll Over

Leave It

Shake

 

 

Then it was on to the game of “Quick Draw”.  The dogs sat in a circle and were given the “Drop” cue.

Addie was going for "style" points.

 

Tanna not only dropped, she also "Got Her Leash"

After the games it was time for food.

 

People food.

Frosty Paws for the pups.

A great time was had by all.  It is truly amazing how much these dogs have learned in just one year and how mature they are.  We wish them all a very Happy Birthday!

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The two Wednesday night Awesome Adolescent classes took to the road yesterday and had a field trip to the new Menards in Eden Prairie. These one year old dogs practiced their skills throughout the store. They practiced “attention”, “loose leash walking”, “retrieving”, “drop stays” and even got to experience the elevators. Their foster homes  had fun checking out the new store.

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This spring there are seven dogs graduating from the service dog-in-training program. Six (see photos below) are going through Team Training with their new partners and will become Service Dogs and one (Kaia) will be placed as a Skilled Companion in May. Yesterday was the first day of Team Training. This is the three week course where the newly matched teams learn to work together. The individuals receiving dogs have to learn not only how to care for their dogs, but also all of the cues and skills the dogs have learned over the last two to three years. The first day is always exciting and both the recipients and the dogs are always eager to see each other again.

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Last Friday the Helping Paws training center was filled with puppies and smiles. The “Reindeer Litter” was ready to start their journey as service dogs-in-training and the new foster homes were more than ready to find out which puppy would go home with them. It is so fun to watch the foster homes as they receive their puppy and seem to fall instantly in love. These foster homes will give the “Reindeer Litter” their permanent names and these puppies will now join the “Class of 2014”. Thank you to all the well-wishers who attended. The Keeley puppies, Nick (now Quincy) and Nora (now Britta) were there with their new foster homes to meet their new classmates.

Thank you to those involved in getting this litter off to such a good start; Jessie for donating Lambeau’s stud services and the Martiny family and Elise for the amazing job they did raising this litter.

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Three of the Goldens in the Monday Awesome (or not so much so) Adolescents classes turned one on March 28th.  Happy Birthday to Major (foster home trainer Marie Heikkila), Carmen (foster home trainer Kristie Niemi) and Aida (foster home trainer Katy Shannon).  Thanks to Katy for the homemade biscuits!