A day in the life of Lauren
Lauren joined the charity in 2017 with a background of puppy walking for both Guide Dogs and Surrey Police. This background showed her the difference that can be made by raising a puppy to perform a specific role. As her grandfather and father both served in the Royal Navy she jumped at the chance to join Hounds for Heroes. Now she’s responsible for training young adolescent dogs to become well behaved assistance dogs before matching them to a partner. Here Lauren shares a typical day as she trains the advanced dogs:
“A typical day begins with collecting the dogs from kennels and a long morning walk, practising loose-lead walking and recalls. Then we might take a trip into town to practice working in busy environments, covering situations like lifts, shops and ignoring distractions. In the afternoon, it’s back to HQ to familiarise our dogs with different mobility aids and begin teaching them task work. Task work includes the basics: retrieving, touching and tugging, which can then progress into opening and closing drawers, pushing light switches and buttons and picking up items, just to name a few.”
Lauren delivers the dog’s training gradually and at the right pace to build up to their future partnership.
Matching the right dog to each partner is essential. Lauren looks for qualities that will ensure a happy and long-lasting partnership. Once a match has been made, Lauren fine-tunes the dog’s training to the potential partner and then attends a residential training course where she teaches the partner all the elements of having an assistance dog.
“It is so rewarding knowing how much the dog will benefit the partner and seeing the partnership progress in the early stages”.
As an Advanced Trainer, Lauren is also responsible for recruiting and undertaking home checks for potential B&Bers, who are volunteers that board Hounds for Heroes dogs over the weekends and for holiday cover for Puppy Parents.
“We are very grateful for our volunteers who give our dogs the love and downtime they deserve at the weekends”.
Lauren loves working for Hounds for Heroes.
“I’m really proud to be part of the dog training team because we are central to providing assistance dogs to those in need. It is such a rewarding role, knowing that the training we provide for the dogs goes on to change partner’s lives by giving them the independence and confidence to go out by themselves.”