Category Archives: GDApupNimble

Nimble is our 4th SA Guide-Dogs puppy-in-training. Mom Lyla (a Golden Retriever) gave birth to Nimble and her sister Nutella on Mothers Day, May 10th 2015.
Their daddy (by artificial insemination) is a Labrador Retriever named Fisher who belongs to a USA Guide Dog school.
Nimble is half-sister to our first Guide Dog puppy, Volt as they have the same mommy!

Our Nimble…

Our beautiful, precious, Nimble pup has been withdrawn from Guide Dog training.

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Our Nimble has been withdrawn from Guide Dog training, due to suspicion. She has a bit of an anxious streak, and certain things make her nervous and very distracted – loud dogs behind gates is a big one, and apparently children now too. So what happens is she’ll get distracted by something, but not in a “ooh-what-was-that-oh-never-mind” way, as a working dog should. She’s confident and happy during training, and she’s happy in her harness, but there are little things that stress her when she should be working, and then she can’t concentrate on her work properly. And that would put her and her handler in danger.
She has gone as far as she could go, even with extended training and time to help her mature. She loves her work in-harness with her trainer, completing her blindfold trials in record times, but there’s no more to do. She won’t be a Guide Dog.

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She came home for Christmas, as was the plan anyway. And its been so wonderful to have our snuggly baby home.

We want to keep her, desperately, but we really can’t afford another dog. Our Riddick costs us a fortune and keeping her would make it really hard to raise another GDA puppy.
We’ve had six and seven dogs over weekends, and its just too much long term… Our Riddick really battles with too many dogs in the house. 😦 His eyes have deteriorated, and when he’s in the garden and the big dogs get too rowdy, he wants to play but he gets turned around and you can see he takes a little while to work out which way he is facing.
How are we going to give her up to someone else?!??!?
Its so much harder to think of her living with another family, than her living and working as a Guide Dog. 😥

When I do my presentation at the puppy raiser induction, I give the new puppy raisers a heads’ up that if their puppy doesn’t complete its training it can be hard to take, and if you can’t keep your career-changed puppy it can break your heart – but this is the first time I have actually felt it. 😦

~ UPDATE ~ 5 February 2017 ~

Nimble has been rehomed, and her new family collected her from us on January 16th.
They have kept us updated during her transition and she seems to be settling in beautifully. She is adored, and seems to be living her best life, indeed.

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heck out A Pup’s Life for regular puppy updates!
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Nimble Has Started Her Guide Dog Training

Our Nimble has now officially started her formal training as a Guide Dog – today was her “intake day”.

Isn’t she beautiful! This picture was taken shortly before her first birthday.

This morning we went through to SA Guide-Dogs to meet with GDMI Joel, who will be working with her for her first two weeks until her trainer, GDMI Moses, takes over. She’s actually been at GDA’s kennels for a couple of weeks already, as she was supposed to be spayed shortly after her first birthday, but she went on heat so her op was postponed! We got to have a bit of a cuddle and a visit with her this morning before meeting with her trainer, and she was very glad to see us.

Today’s intake day was also different to before, in that today we had cake and coffee with a few of the other puppy raisers who were also bringing their dogs in to start their formal training. That was really nice.

Luckily for us puppy raisers, our pups get to come home on weekends while they are in formal training. As Nimble is in kennels for another week while she’s in heat, and will then be spayed, it’ll be a few more weeks before she gets to come home on weekends.
Thankfully she spent lots of time in GDA’s kennels while she was being raised by us, and they are kenneled with a puppy-friend so she’s not worried about being there.
And very sweetly, the volunteer who helps with the puppy handling sent us a couple of pictures of Nimble in kennels! Here she is with puppy-in-training Opal as a kennel-mate, they are both in season.

It’s been really strange not having our girl at home, and we miss her lots.

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We Have A Week Left…

Raising Nimble has gone by so fast!

On May 9th, Nimble will go back to GDA to be sterilised, and she’ll stay at kennels until the 20th so they can ensure her surgery wound heals properly and her stitches come out. Then she’ll be home for a weekend, and on May 23rd she will return to GDA to start her formal training with GDMI Moses.

Nimble’s formal Guide Dog training will begin with her bonding with her trainer at kennels – they will spend time together playing, and walking, and he will groom and feed her as he gets to know her before they start the formal training process. Luckily for Moses she already knows about the clicker. 😛

We are convinced, of course, that our puppies are smarter than all the other puppies, and Nimble is no exception. 🙂 She’s a big, strong girl, and she’s a fast learner.

Luckily for us as puppy raisers, she’ll be coming home on weekends, which makes it a wee bit easier to say goodbye than if we weren’t going to see her again until her graduation!

We will also be celebrating her birthday a couple of days early as she won’t be home on her birthday.

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heck out A Pup’s Life for regular puppy updates!

The Dreaded Intake Date Email…

We got the “dreaded” email from SA Guide-Dogs… Nimble’s intake date for her formal training is May 23rd, and she will be trained by GDMI Moses.

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It’s a strange message to receive…
You’re sad because your pup will be leaving, and you’re a little nervous about whether you did enough with your puppy while raising her. You’re excited about the next step in your puppy’s training, and you’re wondering how she’s going to do, and who she will eventually be matched with. And you’re excited about your puppy’s graduation.

It’s bitter sweet indeed.

This is also the only time, in my puppy raising adventure with each of our dogs, that I cry.

What that means though, is that we only have two weeks left with our little girl. On Monday 9th she goes back to GDA so she can be spayed, then she’ll be there till May 20th, and her stitches come out. She’ll be home for the weekend and then she goes back to start her training. We’ll be celebrating her first birthday a few days early as she won’t be here on the 10th.

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heck out A Pup’s Life for regular puppy updates!

 

Forty Weeks With Nimble

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Our little girl, our Nimble, has been with us for 40 weeks (last Friday), and in a week she will be eleven months old! She weighed a smidge under 30kg on the vet’s scale this morning, and she’s 54cm tall at the shoulder.

She spent some time at GDA’s kennels this month, and this is an important part of her puppy raising so that when she starts her formal training she’s familiar with the smells and the routine – this reduces any stress she might experience. She had several outings with our Puppy Development Supervisors while she was there.

She had great fun, and she was very glad to come home.

Nimble has the funniest habit of sleeping with either her head, or her bum on one of the dog beds (‘scuse the tear in the cover above – they all need repairs), she starts out on the bed, and gradually stretches and rolls in her sleep till she’s almost on the floor! 😀

Nimble loves napping in the bath! We seldom bath, preferring to shower, so the bath is usually dry so no muddy footprints – and she’s decided it’s the coolest place to snooze!

If there’s a towel on the bathroom floor, which we use instead of bathmats, she scrunches it up and uses it as a pillow! 😛

Nimble is so much more relaxed in the car lately, sometimes even falling asleep!

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Thirty Six Weeks With Nimble

Lookit her little white spot on her chin! Picture by GDA’s Gail Glover

Our “little girl” is almost 10 months old! She weighs just over 30kg and she’s admired wherever she goes!
She’s jet black, with a slightly longer coat than a Lab thanks to her Golden Retriever mommy, and she’s beautifully proportioned.

After a walk at Woodmead, chilling in the shade with some water

Nimble doing the treat challenge!

She’s smart, and lovable, and big for a female Lab.
She loves jumping into and out of the car, and likes to look out the window when we’re going somewhere.

In the car on the sexy new car seat cover

Relaxing in the car more and more

Focused on mommy on an outing

The armrest makes a handy headrest!

Nimble takes the towels from the bathroom floor (we don’t use bathmats) and uses them as pillows.

Nimble and I visited a nursery school with a few other GDA puppies a few weeks ago – Sawyer, Tanner and Whyla. Nimble was very well behaved, and the visit went very well with the older kiddies coming for cuddles with the puppies.

This week Nimble is staying over at GDA’s kennels – an important part of the puppy’s first year so that when they start their formal training the people, and smells, and routines are not completely strange to them, which can cause stress. She’ll be home for the weekend, and then she’ll be back next week for another stay. While she’s there our Puppy Development Supervisor will also be working on her dog distraction issues with dogs barking at her from behind gates.

Nimble in training with our Puppy Development Supervisor, a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, and Guide-Dog-in-training Juliet.

She likes the cushions, but usually sleeps on the floor!

And even when she is on a cushion – her head is on the floor!

Her daddy had a bath, and as we rather shower than bath, it needed to be investigated!

Bath time for Nimble, the corner bath makes it so much easier!

Asleep with her her on the floor, as usual!

Mud…? What mud?

Nimble on the scale at the vet, 42 weeks old.

Nimble’s new favourite nap spot – in the bath!

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Nimble Is Eight Months Old!

She’s 36 weeks old, and she weighed 29.8kg on the vet’s scale.

It was a hot Christmas, and we had a full house too! Guide-Dog-in-training Patrick got to come home for a bit of a holiday, and my parents’ dog Topolino (a fox terrier cross) came to live with us as he kept killing my brother-in-law’s prize chickens.

 

 

 

Nimble and the other dogs enjoyed the cool of our air conditioned bedroom and the tiled bathroom, and Nimble likes sleeping in the shower – especially when it’s damp!

  

 

She’s far more relaxed in the car – in the front footwell and on the back seat, sometimes even falling asleep.

We had a training outing with a few other puppies in early January, and Nimble did very well in the mall we visited. After the walk we popped in at the Wimpy for a cooldrink and the puppies were all very well behaved.

And just ‘coz it’s so cute, here’s a picture of Nimble and her favourite playmate Patrick.

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Nimble Is Seven Months Old!

She weighed 27.25kg on the vet’s scale on Monday morning – an 800g gain on last week!

It was another really hot week, so we didn’t go out a lot – the car turns into an oven if it’s parked anywhere in the sun for more than a few minutes. We had one VERY busy day, we started at PartySpot, popped in at Makro – and left soon afterwards because it was SOO busy, then we stopped for fuel, drove to Kadies, and then popped in at Pick n Pay before heading home. Nimble was an absolute superstar, despite the heat and the crowds!
We had one really fun outing too, at another puppy raiser’s house. Nimble joined GDA puppies Purdy, little Sterling, Ivy, Juliet, Kendall and Lego, and a few non-GDA dogs and they had a wonderful time in a puppy pool – though Nimble preferred a smaller shallower pool to the big one, and they got to see sheep, chickens and cows.
The dogs had a ball, and I got a sunburn, and Nimble was quite exhausted afterwards!

She’s definitely well into her adolescent phase, not responding to her name when she’s outside, barking at new noises, digging holes in the garden (with our Penny’s encouragement and assistance), and jumping on the bed!

She’s far more relaxed in the car – in the front footwell and on the back seat, sometimes even falling asleep.

And here is a little Nimble cuteness for you.

chewing on the 4Eva ball

we don’t put the loo paper on the roller ‘coz our cats unroll it every time – and this toilet roll fell on the floor

keeping me company while I bake

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Twenty Two Weeks With Nimble

She’s almost 29 weeks old, and on Monday she weighed 25.65kg.

We had a nice training walk last week, at a small mall with a few other puppies, and Nimble was very well behaved. We rode in an elevator, and climbed an enclosed staircase, an open staircase, and a spiral staircase!

We had a few new experiences at home for her too – we had a handyman come to fix a leak in our roof, so having men up on ladders and on the roof was an interesting thing for Nimble to see, and we had a plumber come around for his “annual” visit – we have a pipe that gets blocked by tree roots at least once a year. The plumbers working was very interesting to nimble, with the metal drain “snake” and the noise they were making.
Nimble was curious but not afraid of any of it.

She’s definitely into her adolescent phase at almost 7 months old, barking at new noises and digging holes in the garden!

She’s much happier in the car- in the front footwell and on the back seat though she is still not completely relaxed.

And here is a little Nimble cuteness for you.

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Twenty Weeks With Nimble

Isn’t she beautiful!

She’s 27 weeks old, and she weighed in at 25.45kg on the vet’s scale this morning
She’s eating 270g of Bob Martin puppy food twice a day, and she finishes all her food in one go without choking herself or gulping it down.

We had a bit of a training outing last week with our Puppy Development Supervisor at the kid’s party venue we’ve been to – the one with a little farmyard. Puppies Paige and Purdy joined us and they had a wonderful time.
Nimble was a little wary when we walked in the gate, but she remembered she’s been there before and I think she would happily have jumped into the enclosure to play with the donkey. Then we went for a little walk and our Puppy Development Supervisor is very happy with her progress, even her dog distraction is minor.

We visited a nursery school with several other puppies-in-training where we spoke to the preschoolers about puppy raising and Guide Dogs.

We also went on a couple of training walks at the malls near us. We went on one walk with a little yellow Lab named Scotty, and we did another walk at a different mall with black Lab Annie (remember she stayed with us for a while) where Nimble and Annie got to try out a kiddy’s jungle gym – neither of them hesitating to climb the steps and go down the slide!

Our training sessions are going well, and she responds really well to the clicker. We are working on food distraction – she is learning to ignore treats I drop on the floor while I prepare the treat pouch for our training sessions.

She experienced her first real rain storm too, and she loved it!


And here’s some Nimble cuteness, just because!

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Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life