Category Archives: GDApupPatrick

Patrick is a black Labrador, and a big one at that, and one of several siblings who were donated to GDA in March 2014.
Patrick’s Puppy Raiser mom couldn’t continue raising him, so he came to live with us, and graduated as a Guide Dog in 2016.

Patrick Has Started His Guide Dog Training

We took Patrick back to the SA Guide-dogs Association on Monday, and then had a meeting with GDMI Percy to chat about our puppy’s likes and behaviour.

Before we took him to kennels we had a bit of a game in the free-run area, I love to see how he “laughs” when he runs towards me!

He only looked back once as he was led off to his new kennel (and eventually partnered with Wanja), and I was a little heart sore to see him go without worrying about me – but I do like his confidence.

Our house is strangely empty without our snuggly Patrick… even with four of our own dogs and four cats!


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Our Time With Patrick Is Almost Up


We got the dreaded email from SA Guide-dogs
Patrick goes back to GDA on Monday March 23rd to start his formal Guide Dog training, and we will have a meeting with two Guide Dog Mobility Instructors that morning – one of whom will become Patrick’s trainer.
His assessments so far have been going well, and we have a final training walk with our Puppy Development Supervisor at a mall on the 17th.
I admit I am a smidge concerned about his suspicion issues… I was pretty sure we’d sorted it out since there have been so few occurrences… but there are indicators that its still there. 😦


Patrick, Riddick and Penny in the car with me, waiting for their daddy at the Gautrain station

He is a really lovable sweetheart, and still very much a puppy!
He loves to lie close to his mommy, sleeping right next to my bed most of the time.




We had a fabulous outing to Sandton City yesterday morning!
I called the centre management the day before and then GDA sent them an email confirming that I am one of their puppy raisers and that Patrick is one of their puppies, and it made the visit such a pleasure. The security guards throughout the mall were obviously keeping an eye on us as we made our rounds but we weren’t stopped by anyone, anywhere!
He barked once at a man who suddenly appeared behind us in the CNA and started talking to us, and there was a moment in Edgars when an employee was standing behind a table full of down duvets that caught Patrick’s attention. He didn’t see the man at first but I managed to distract him when he did spot him ‘coz I could see he was about to bark.
When we arrived at Sandton City we had gone up in the lift from the parking lot, but there were other people in the lift so he couldn’t see out through the glass walls. When we left though, the lift was empty so we could see all around us, and the first time it went down a floor he was a little nervous – walking around me in a circle with his tail straight down. So we rode the lift up and down a few times with some high value biltong treats as encouragement for staying calm. He was much happier when we left but I think we must try and do glass lifts again soon.





He spent the week before last in kennels, from the Monday morning – after a training exercise – to the Friday afternoon, with various kennel-mates (they don’t leave the youngsters alone in kennels unless they aren’t well or are recovering from surgery) and our PDS said he did fine.
It was really strange not having him at home though… Its always a little surprising at how big a hole our puppy’s absence creates in our lives.






Over the weekend we spent a few hours at the Coca Cola Dome for the Hobby-X expo, helping sell raffle tickets at the GDA stall. Patrick was very well behaved and he got lots of attention and he slept all the way home!




You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Its Our Patrick’s First Birthday

Patrick is 52 weeks old AND its his first birthday today – happy birthday to Patrick and his siblings Parsley, Pedro, Prada and Preston!


He weighed 33.05kg on the vet’s scale this morning so he’s definitely stopped growing.

We had a busy day today! I had to go to the doctor to get some new prescriptions and have some blood tests done and Patrick was very well behaved. There was one lady who screamed when she saw him and he jumped and barked at her, but he quickly settled when I told him to leave it and stay down.


Then we headed for GDA to collect food for Patrick and drop off some books for their collection drive before going to Kadies to get some cake decorating supplies. They know our puppies well at Kadies, getting to know them as they grow up so they always get a cuddle and a chat when they go there.
Then we headed home where a hot, tired Patrick drank a whole lot of water and fell asleep!


And here are some pictures of Patrick playing in the garden with Penny and Riddick. For whatever reason he’s never learned how to pick up the 4EverBall so even though he often gets to it first he never gets to pick it up and bring it back. He plays well with the other dogs though, playing catch with Penny and wrestling with Riddick. And visiting dogs have a ball too.








Happy happy birthday Patrick! Soon we’ll be getting the almost-dreaded email with the date in it for when you have to go back to Guide-dogs to start your formal training and you will be leaving us, but you are a treasure indeed!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick is 51 Weeks Old

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Patrick is 51 weeks old and he weighed 33kg on the vet’s scale this morning.

He is so good in the car, and he doesn’t just come bouncing out of the car when I open the door either, he stays put even if I haven’t said “wait” yet, then I can put his jacket on and tell him “jump out”.

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On Friday night after we did some groceries we decided to have supper at the Food Lovers Market Cafe and Patrick went along. He had a few people greet him, he popped up to see what was going on when they brought us our food, and he barked twice when a man walked up the spiral staircase inside the restaurant – from Patrick’s viewpoint he seemed to come up through the floor! We then went to check out the staircase and when someone else came up the stairs he didn’t react at all.

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On Saturday we were at the President Hyper in Krugersdorp with the Lions to raise funds and spread awareness for SA Guide-dogs and Patrick was so great! He greeted everyone with a tail wag and the sights and sounds of the mall didn’t worry him at all.

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puppy-in-training Bowie and puppy-in-training Patrick

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puppy-in-training Patrick was worn out when we started packing up the stand

Patrick is great with other dogs too. He and housemates Riddick and Penny get on so well, playing and wrestling and chasing. And if one of them is napping on the floor he’ll try and snuggle up – although neither of them are snugglers at all. He even tries to engage with the two grumpy “old ladies” Thelma and Louise!
Here he and Riddick are playing lazily on the bedroom floor:

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And here he and Penny are wrestling on the living room floor:20150131_072740_PatrickPenny - Copy

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He loves the cool of the doorway…

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And he loves a snuggle with mommy… He sleeps next to the bed (‘coz he’s not allowed on it) and he rests his head on my knee or on the bed if he wants a cuddle or needs to go out.

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me having a cup of coffee…

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me having a cup of coffee…


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick’s Progress…


On Monday Patrick weighed 32.8kg on the vet’s scale, a little up on last week but his weight has definitely stabilised.
He is so good in the car, sitting or lying quietly on the back seat once its moving and very keen to hop in and ride along whenever he can.
And he doesn’t just come bouncing out of the car when I open the door either, he stays put even if I haven’t said “wait” yet, then I can put his jacket on and tell him “jump out”.

We continue to work on obedience like “sit”, “stay”, “down” and so forth, and his “leave it” is great. We do battle a bit with dog distraction when we’re out walking, but he listens when you talk to him.

This weekend we’ll be spending time at a shopping mall with the Lions to sell raffle tickets an spread awareness – come and see us at the President Hyper in Krugersdorp.

Patrick loves sleeping in the open doorway!



When Patrick wants to go outside or thinks he needs a cuddle, he comes up to me and if he can he leans his head on my lap, otherwise the edge of the bed or couch will do.


Patrick likes to be where his people are, just like his housemates. My kitchen is not very big at all but I share the floor space with my furkids.


Yesterday we had a training/ assessment session with our Puppy Development Supervisor, along with Patrick’s sister Prada and puppy-in-training West as they will soon be a year old.
We walked around the training centre, did some obedience work, had the pups climb into and out of the training trucks, climb on the scale, and walk inside the offices practising waiting at doorways. Patrick’s sister Prada is a good kilo heavier than he is (and I saw his brother Preston while we were there – also a BIG boy), and West is a dainty 23kg.
I was SO proud of Patrick!
Even his dog distraction was under control when we walked past the training kennels!


Puppy-in-training west


Puppy-in-training Prada


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Twelve Weeks With Patrick

Patrick is 49 weeks old and he weighed 32.4kg on the vet’s scale on Monday morning. I think his weight has now stabilised and I don’t think he’ll grow much more.
He’s so comfortable on the vet scale now, he lies down on it while I try to take a picture!


He still pulls me a little bit when we’re walking but its not dreadful, and the dog distraction remains a problem but he listens when you talk and unless the dogs he sees are really excited he can ignore them.


here’s Penny, Patrick and Riddick (and Louise in the background) doing a SIT-WAIT before I give the OKAY to come inside


how can he be comfy sleeping half off the cushion!?! 😀


no-body can do “puppy eyes” like Patrick!

We’re doing ongoing work on his obedience like sit/ down/ stay/ leave it and so on, but he’s still a little impatient when I tell him to wait before heading through a door! He’s very eager to please though and he tries hard.
I was at SA Guide-dogs one morning last week for something, so to work on his dog distraction I took him with me and we watched the 9 week old pups at puppy class, and he got to interact with them during their free play. He was so good and so gentle with them. Then I popped him into a kennel for a while whilst I saw the people I was there to see.


watching the 9 week old “K” pups at puppy class

He’s such a snuggly shnookums… When he wants some attention he’ll come and stand next to the bed, resting his chin on the mattress, and if I make eye contact his tail wags furiously and he gets a happy wiggle! He’s still a little mouthy but its a lot less and there’s no pressure in his “bite” (for lack of a better word).

We have a bit of a recall issue too… I managed to jam the gate when I came home yesterday morning, so Dora had to come and help me. Riddick, Penny and Patrick followed her, and once we got the gate unstuck I decided to take a chance on the dogs staying put and opened it to drive in – we’ve done a lot of work on this.
Riddick and Patrick immediately did a SIT-STAY like they’ve been taught, but Penny SHOT out like she’d heard a starter’s pistol and as she hit the tar road, Patrick and Riddick followed.
I got Penny and Patrick back quickly, Patrick was close on Penny’s tail as she ran from gate to gate and they ran back towards a pair of Labs two houses down from us, then I went back out for Riddick, who was sniffing each gate as he went along and trying to head back to me between gates – but in the sunshine he couldn’t see me and going to the gates meant he was going right up to them and pressing his nose to the bars!
It was very annoying and more than a little scary!

He’s still on Bob Martin’s puppy food twice a day, 3 cups a day to maintain his now ideal weight – 1 cup in the morning and 2 cups for supper, the same way they are fed when on training at GDA.

And we got an email from Guide-dogs kennels last week, Patrick will most likely be going back to start his formal training in March, so we have a little longer with him than we thought we’d have.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick is Eleven Months Old!

I can’t believe we only have a month left with this boy! I know he was already almost 9 months old when he came to us, but the time has gone by so fast!
He weighs 32.35kg on the vet scale and he’s 57cm tall at the shoulder. He has a beautiful stocky build and a broad head, and he has droopy eyes which enable him to give you the “puppy eyes” look like a pro!


Does he have the puppy eyes mastered, or what?!

He’s 11 months old today, and we love him to death! He is so sweet and gentle. He rarely barks and when he gets excited he has a funny squeaky whine.

As is typical of a Labrador Retriever, he loves to be where his people are. He sleeps next to my bed, he nose-butts my leg or hand if he wants attention and he will use his nose to try and lift my hand onto his head for a cuddle. He comes to my side of the bed and sits down, leaning his head on the mattress and trying to high five me, looking up at me with those eyes!

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His loose-leash walk is pretty good and I’m happy with it, and he listens really well when we’re out walking.
He is a little dog distracted, but in our neighbourhood EVERY house has at least one dog so its very hard for a puppy not to get distracted by other dogs!
He does not respond to garden services, lawnmowers or weed eaters apart from wrinkling his forehead, and he’s not at all phased by the big rubbish bins put onto the street every week.
I’m so pleased with how well he’s doing with us.

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Over Christmas we had quite a busy house, and we went out quite a lot too.
We went shopping and we went to a Christmas market at my inlaws which is a good hour in the car (one way), and he was as good as gold! He greeted other visitors to the market and slept all the way there and home again.
Patrick got to socialise with several other dogs too – a friends’ Lab Chuck and her rescue X Caileigh, GSD Bonzai, GSD-Husky X pup George, Frenchies Tyrion and Rhaegar, and small mixed breeds Chloe and Snowy.
He gets on so well with our Riddick and Penny, and he has no trouble with other dogs and if they have a leash attached he’ll try to take them for a walk! Its so funny!


The fireworks in our neighbourhood were especially loud this last New Year’s Eve, but we stayed home and made sure there was no adverse reaction from any of the dogs. They all jump when there’s a really loud bang that sounds like its right over our house, but so do the humans! Otherwise Patrick is nonplussed by the noise.

He’s doing so well with his training!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Five Weeks With Patrick


Patrick is 43 weeks old and he weighed 31.1kg on the vet’s scale on Monday morning.
He’s on Bob Martin’s dry puppy food  twice a day and he’s looking so good! He’s sleek and shiny and so beautiful.


I think we can finally say we have conquered Patrick’s suspicion! This week we had workmen in the house repairing damp damage in the dining room walls, so there was hammering off of old plaster, mixing of new plaster, furniture moved around, a wheelbarrow and all sorts of new smells and noises, and when we went to see he was totally focused on me! No barking or growling or hackles, he didn’t even look!
And last Saturday we visited a Christmas market at a retirement village. We greeted visitors to the market and to the SA Guide-dogs market stall, and we strolled around inside where there were all KINDS of interesting things to see and smell and he was SO good! He got lots of cuddles and kisses and he was as good as gold!
He and fellow puppy-in-training Bowie – a Golden Retriever – posed for a picture with one of the residents and they sat good and still on either side of her!




Yesterday afternoon Patrick and Finley were wrestling and playing, and managed to roll against the curtains, pulling them down and bringing the pelmet with it! They both jumped and stopped playing, but neither pup was spooked by it at all!
Thankfully my husband is handy with his tools so it is already fixed and the curtains are hanging again.


Patrick is fabulous with the other dogs. He allows the other dogs to take whatever he’s chewing on and he shares toys without growling.
He play-wrestles with Riddick and plays chase with Penny. He happily shares a kennel with other dogs when we spend time at SA Guide-dogs and he loves a trip to the park.





You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Four Weeks With Patrick

Patrick is 42 weeks old and he weighed 30.95kg on the vet’s scale on Monday morning. Thats 100g down on last week but nothing to worry about.


We are doing a lot of work on his suspicion issues and it seems to be working! I am so pleased! He’s not showing any signs of suspicion when we’re out! He loves children and he’s totally ignoring other people and security guards!


This last week we visited a few shops and a doggy park, and we had a walk with another puppy-in-training, Annie. He pulls me a little bit when we’re walking but its not dreadful. He’s also a little dog distracted but he listens when you talk and he learns really fast.
We’re doing ongoing work on his obedience like sit/ down/ stay/ leave it and so on, and he learns fast! I can now offer him a treat in an open hand and he won’t snatch! I say “leave it” and when he looks me in the eye I say “okay” and he waits! He’s very eager to please!


At the park we were celebrating the first birthday of a friend’s Frenchie – Tyrion – and Patrick was fabulous with all the other dogs! He also had a ball taking the other Frenchies for a “walk” if their leashes were dragging! Rhaegar wasn’t particularly keen but the other Frenchies happily went for a stroll with him.


Penny, Patrick and Riddick, keeping me company as I make supper… Even though my kitchen is only that big and I am standing squished against the stove to take the picture!


Penny, Patrick and Riddick trying to snooze on the back seat on the way home from the park

He’s eating Bob Martin’s puppy food twice a day and I have increased his food to 3 cups a day to maintain his now ideal weight!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Ah Penny…

This afternoon we took Riddick, Patrick and Penny to a park for a friends’ pooch’s first birthday.

Tyrion is an adorably squishy-faced French bulldog and he’s met Riddick and Patrick before.

The park had a lot of dogs in it, and there were lots of dogs at the party including beagles, Frenchies, mixed breeds and Labs.
Our Riddick is fine in a park. He’s well socialised and he loves meeting and playing with other dogs, I just keep a close eye on him in a new location because he can’t see.
Patrick is also fine, greeting other people and pooches and happily running and playing – but his recall needs work. And the funniest thing was him taking the little Frenchies for a walk if they still had leashes attached to their harnesses!
Here’s Patrick in a party hat!


Penny however, was a handful.
We’ve done a lot of work on her socialisation and dominance issues in the last year, and when we visit people with dogs she’s pretty well behaved.
In a park though, its as if she decides that since nobody owns it – she’ll claim it. Even when other dogs approach her and are completely submissive, she has a go at them!
I’m hoping that simply spending more time in a park will help, but I’m going to ask our GDA Puppy Supervisor for some suggestions.
We had a few dirty looks from other dog owners in the park, which is understandable since puppies are supposed to be well socialised and non-aggressive in an off-lead park. She spent most of the visit on-lead.

On the way home, even after just an hour in the park, the three of them were quite tired…