Guest Post: Skye’s Training To Be An Irish Assistance Dog

Sorry for the late post, even though it was sent  to me as soon as I asked for it.

I was searching for something assistance dog related online recently, (have no idea what it was) but lost track when I discovered the blog of today’s guest poster. I’ll let her introduce herself and tell you about the great work she does.

“Hi, my name’s Anna, and I am 13. This year my family and I are fostering Skye, a Flat Coated Retriever. Skye is in training to become an Autism Assistance dog. She will stay with us until 12-15 months of age, after which she’ll move on to her advanced training before hopefully being partnered with an Autistic child, and becoming their assistance dog or ‘forever friend’ as the association calls them.

Skye came to live with us as a tiny 11 week old pup, and we’ve done the basics of her training which includes housetraining, socialising, lead walking, shop & café training etc. The foster puppies basically become one of the family during their time with you, and you take them pretty much everywhere you go (though at the same time they do need to learn to stay home alone too for short periods)
In her jacket, Skye can come into public places where dogs aren’t normally allowed. We often take Skye to town with us when we go to the shops. She’s really well behaved out and about now. Skye, being a retriever, loves her food and therefore is very easy to train. Aswell as the training Skye does in jacket out and about, we also train her to come when called, sit, down, stay and more.
Skye also has lots of fun time, just enjoying being a dog! We take her on free walks (she especially likes to go to the beach) and she loves to play a good game of fetch. Amber, our Bernese, is Skye’s best buddy and they both love to play together.
I think it’s a great thing to do, and we’re really enjoying our year with Skye. It has been hard work at times (particularly in the first few weeks!) but worth it, and it’s lovely to see Skye maturing now and becoming calmer and more sensible – though she still has her puppy moments! I have 5 siblings and we are all home educated so our dogs get a lot of attention and socialisation. Since having Skye I’ve realised that I defiantly want to work with dogs in the future.
I set up a blog on our year with Skye back in May as both a record of our year with her, and to try and raise awareness for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland. You can take a look at it and see lots of photo’s of Skye:
it’s been great doing the blog, and it’s nice to look back on all the things we’ve done with Skye so far!”
Its fantastic to see young people becoming so involved in the training of an assistance dog in Ireland. I’m sure Skye will make a great assistance dog and bring a lot of happiness to the child she is working with. Keep an eye on Anna’s blog to find out how she gets on.
ps. hopefully I can add the lovely picture of Skye soon.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Skye’s Training To Be An Irish Assistance Dog

  1. Great guest post and kudos to young Anna. I confess I was a bit dubious about autism assistance dogs when I first heard about them –so few articles spell out specifically what the dogs do for the person. I write about autism assistance dogs sometimes for my part-time job moderating the Easter Seals blog (Easter Seals is a non-profit that helps people who have disabilities) and you might be interested in reading this post about how one autism assistance dog dog helps a child in an elementary school in the US:

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