Category Archives: GDApupRiggs

Twenty Five Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 32 weeks old!
He loves to sleep with the top of his head pressed against a wall or the side of his crate. He loves to play and will fetch a toy and try to get me or the other dogs to try and take it from him.
He loves his food and his training treats.

We’re still attending a weekly clicker class with an instructor at GDA, and these are so much fun! Each week is different, and really tiring – for me and for Riggs! Riggs is doing really well. He loves to learn, and we do a lot of SIT-STAY and DOWN-STAY work (Guide Dog puppies have to master a 5 minute STAY when they get to their formal training). We continue to work on the cues we have already learned:
SIT                    STAY
DOWN                    UP SIT
STAND                    WATCH
TOUCH (Riggs loves this one)                    STOP
loose leash walking                    recall
STEADY (slow down)                    HUP HUP (go faster)
We also have several other cues we practise to build our dog’s confidence and focus, and eagerness to train, so we now include:
ROLL OVER                    CRAWL
THROUGH
SIT PRETTY (sitting up with his front feet raised)
UP (stepping up onto a box with his front feet)
We combine the cues with physical obstacles – using a hula hoop in combination with the THROUGH cue, and using cones with the WATCH cue to walk our pup off-lead. It is challenging and SO rewarding!

Riggs and his brother Ringo had their first full-day kennel stay together at GDA last week – 9am to 4pm. They did so well, happily playing and napping.

We were away last weekend, so Riggs went home with his brother Ringo for a few days. Riggs was quite worn out when he came home from his 5-day stay with two other Labs and a Beagle! Thank you to Ringo’s mommy for the care and the photos!

On Tuesday morning Riggs and I had a training outing with our Puppy Raising Supervisor at Bartlett Park. I’d never been there before, but the place is full of bunnies, dassies, and guinea fowl, and a real challenge for a dog. Riggs did so well – I was so proud! We walked up and down the road with cars, bikes and people passing by, and we walked up and down heading towards the area where the bunnies and dassies are concentrated. There’s lots of poop, and interesting smells, and the dassies dart about whilst the bunnies tend to lie in the shade. Riggs did all his obedience cues when told to, and whilst he saw the bunnies and the dassies, and a guinea fowl, he didn’t try to chase any of them!
It was super hot in the car today though, so as soon as he had a good long drink of cold water I turned the aircon up full blast and we went straight home!

I’m bragging a little here – this is proof positive of our puppy learning that human food is not for him!

Riggs is a pretzel-sleeper, just like his mommy!

Five minutes before we had to leave for class – he came in from playing outside and he was filthy and so pleased with himself! 😀

Lyric and Riggs has a run around in a free-run at GDA after clicker class last week. 🙂

My new favourite picture of our Riggs! ❤

And just ‘coz he’s cute, here are some more pictures of our Riggs!

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Twenty Three Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Our gorgeous Riggs is 30 weeks old and he weighed in at 31.75kg on the vet’s scale on Friday.
He’s a big boy with a big bone structure – isn’t he gorgeous!

We’ve been attending clicker classes with an instructor at GDA, which are great fun and super tiring – for me and for Riggs! 😀 Our trainer is very strict on having the right attitude and the right shoes and being present in class – for you and for your dog – and its strictly no phones, so no pictures! 😛 Riggs is doing so well too. He loves to learn, and we do a lot of SIT STAY and DOWN STAY work (Guide Dog puppies have to master a 5 minute STAY when they get to their formal training). We work on the cues we have already learned – SIT, STAY, DOWN, UP SIT, STAND, TOUCH, WATCH, loose leash walking, and recall, and we also have several other cues we practise to build our dog’s confidence and focus, so we now include ROLL OVER, SIT PRETTY (sitting up on his bum with his front feet up – he’s not quite sure of this one but we’re getting there), CRAWL, and UP. The classes are great for the pups as the other pups in class serve as a distraction they have to learn to ignore.

Last weekend, my husband and I and Riggs went through to the other side of Pretoria for a Cake Decorating Contest.
It was a good 40 minute drive to get there, and we were there all day! Riggs was an absolute superstar! There were lots of people, several children, we were seated in rows of chairs so we had to walk between people, and there was applause and music, and loads of people greeted and spoke to him through the day, and Riggs didn’t bark or whine once! He even watched the kids jumping on a jumping castle and ignored them!

Riggs and his brother Ringo have also had a couple of four-hour kennels stays together at GDA, we are slowly building up to a full day visit and then an overnight stay or two, so that when he goes in to be castrated, and has to stay till his stitches come out, he won’t be stressed and unhappy. As always they had a ball (thanks to Ringo’s mom for the picture of the two of them). When we drop the pups off we don’t say goodbye or make a fuss, and we go back and spy on them to see how they are doing without us. Riggs doesn’t even get particularly excited to see me when I fetch him which is great! The other picture is on our way to kennels, his head was on the back of my chair and I could feel his breath on my neck! 😀

Isn’t he just the cutest puppy ever! When he’s been napping and he’s wants to play, or he gets bored, he brings me a toy, wagging his tail furiously and nose-bumping me! 😀 Here he is chilling after a clicker training session at home, and a run around the garden.

What happened to our little puppy! He’s such a grown up dog!

And just ‘coz he’s cute, here are some more pictures of our Riggs!

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Twenty One Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 28 weeks old and he weighed in at 30.5kg on the vet’s scale.

He’s such a gorgeous dog!
We’ve had a few outings, as usual, but we had no clicker class this week as Riggs had a bit of kennel cough – so we can’t join other puppy groups until he is completely well.

Riggs has become a regular member of the upside down club!

Isn’t he just the cutest puppy ever! Look at those puppy eyes! When he’s been napping and he’s wants to play, or he gets bored, he brings me a toy, wagging his tail furiously and nose-bumping me! 😀

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Twenty Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 27 weeks old and he weighed in at 30.15kg on the vet’s scale! Isn’t he just too gorgeous!

He’s six months old now, so he no longer gets a puppy lunch. It took him a few days to get used to the new routine – but he gets plenty of treats during the day with his training sessions.

  

We’ve had a few outings, of course, he goes wherever I go!
We went on a training outing with his brother Ringo to Montecasino, starting with a walk across the road from the Pineslopes Shopping Centre. Both pups were so well behaved, walking quietly alongside each other and through the mall, which was nice and quiet on a Wednesday morning. We chatted to a few people along the way, checked out the bowling alley and the arcade, had a good look at a fountain and encountered statues and bicycles and motorcycles all over the place, and although both pups were a little spooked by a bright yellow “wet floor” sign when we arrived, we were able to get them to approach the board and see that it wasn’t scary – and when we came across LOADS more of them inside the mall they completely ignored them. We chatted to security guards, and climbed a few different kinds of staircases, and got to experience some road traffic with our walk to and from Monte from Pineslopes.

We had a bit of a rocky start to our recent Mall of Africa visit. Despite Riggs wearing his jacket, and we Puppy Raisers having pre-arranged access for Guide Dog puppies with the mall management (since it opened), Riggs and I were still escorted to the security office because DOGS AREN’T ALLOWED! I admit – I got VERY annoyed. The rest of our visit was pleasant. Riggs was good as gold in the lifts, and snoozed under the table in the Spur. There was an antiques fair on too, and we walked around the stalls – not going in to any of them so as not to risk accidentally knocking over some expensive knickknack. 

 

Our recent visit to OR Tambo was amazing – we were waiting for our son to come home and his plane was delayed by almost three hours! Riggs was a total super star! We practised his SIT-STAY in front of the international arrival gate, and he napped under my chair.  We found a lovely little lawn and flowerbeds across the street outside the arrivals where Riggs could go for a busy. And we walked around the parking lot, rode some elevators, climbed some stairs, and saw lots of strange people. He did so well with the noises and the crowds!
It always amazes me that we can visit ORT with a Guide Dog puppy any time, without any drama, but a supermarket or a mall won’t let us in! 

 

 

Here are some pictures for you of a sleeping Riggs! In our car on the backseat he has a doggy-hammock. Recently, in a friends’ car, he fell asleep sitting up and didn’t even wake when the dog food bags fell over on him when we turned a corner! Lately he has taken to sleeping on his back occasionally, too. 🙂

  

We are attending a clicker class at GDA once a week (sometimes twice), and before class the pups get to have a free-run for 5 minutes – we don’t want them worn out, we just want them to burn off some energy. They have so much fun! And the clicker class wears them out too!

  

Riggs loves his toys!

Isn’t he just the cutest puppy ever! Look at those puppy eyes!

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Seventeen Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 24 weeks old and he weighed a whopping 26.6kg on the vet’s scale! Isn’t he gorgeous!
He’s now getting 240g Bob Martin puppy kibble three times a day – but as soon as he is 6 months old he will only be fed twice a day. He’s going to miss his lunches! 😛

  

We’ve had a few outings, of course – he goes wherever I go! 🙂 The first two pictures are from a GDA fundraising outing to The Square at Sunninghill where Riggs was so well behaved. The bottom picture was from a little coffee shop called Lulu where we had breakfast. We had such a lovely outing to Fourways Crossing on Wednesday morning with puppies-in-training Usko (16 weeks) and Lyric (10 months) and I didn’t take any pictures!!  We also attended a clicker class and added a few things to our clicker training to keep Riggs in top form. 🙂

   

Just look how Riggs has grown! Thats the same cushion and the same blanket in the first picture!

Riggs is so funny! He’s not allowed on the furniture, but every now and then he will try his luck like this – with his front legs and chest on the bed as he chews on a toy – until someone sees him and says “OFF”.

Riggs and his “big brother” Riddick play so nicely together – with typical Labbie wrestling and “bitey face”. And if Riddick is tired Riggs literally chews a toy on top of him!

Isn’t he a gorgeous boy!
He walks so beautifully on lead when we are out, and he knows the obedience cues he has been taught. He is so clever and he loves to learn.

Here’s Riggs (in the middle) with “big sister” Penny on the left and “big brother” Riddick on the right, waiting for yummy treats!

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Sixteen Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 23 weeks old already (I forgot to do his 22 week update post)!
This morning he weighed a whopping 25.6kg on the vet’s scale – he’s going to be a big dog!

Isn’t he gorgeous!

Riggs and I got this really cool certificate from GDA for finishing Puppy Club!

 

It looks like all his baby teeth have gone and his grown up teeth are growing fast. I must be honest – he has a “hard mouth” (he snatches) and I have to tell him to take things gently, and I will not miss those puppy needles!

  

We’ve had a few outings, of course – he goes wherever I go! These pictures are from a GDA fundraising outing to Keith Kirsten, and a trip to Makro where Riggs was a STAR in the long queue!  And our Riddick and Riggs went with us when we went to visit family for a birthday party, and this time I remembered to take their beds with us! It makes such a difference to help them settle somewhere if they have something of their own.

This is Riggs’s new favourite nap spot when he’s not in his crate – next to my bed.

 

 

Riggs is such a pretzel puppy! He rarely sleeps on his back like most of my labs have done, but he loves twisting himself into strange positions when he sleeps, and he loves to squish his head into a corner!

 

 

Riggs is too funny – he tries very hard to get Riddick to play with him, and if he doesn’t, he literally chews a toy on top of him! And if Riddick is on my bed (he’s allowed), he will chew a toy on my foot instead! 😀 And he does love to play! He loves to bring you a toy and as soon as you try to take it he dodges you, and he does love to play a version of “fetch” where you throw the toy once he has decided to let go. 🙂 He also loves to carry and chew on the 4eva ball – but we don’t throw it for him as Guide Dog pups are not permitted to chase a ball or a frisbee. 😛

 

Lessons a Guide Dog pup needs to learn – not to go barreling through a door as soon as it is opened (in or out), and not to go flying out of the car until the LETS GO cue is given! 😀

  

And just ‘coz he’s so gorgeous, here are a couple of pictures of our beautiful boy!

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Fourteen Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 21 weeks old already! This morning he weighed a whopping 23.2kg on the vet’s scale!

I found one of his baby teeth when it fell out! Usually they get swallowed, so you don’t often find them. 🙂

 

On the weekend we were at OR Tambo to drop someone off, and Riggs was so well behaved! We climbed stairs, waited in queues, and popped in at BYTE Cafe & Restaurant where Riggs happily lay under the table and napped or chewed on a Nylabone.   He barked a little at the SAPS dogs, but I quickly got his attention and we did a little obedience work (WATCH, DOWN, SIT, STAY, etc) to get him focused on me again.

We had our last Puppy Club class with Riggs and his siblings at GDA today (there are 13)! It has been so much fun, and the time has flown by! It was a good class too, with the pups spending some time together in the kennels while we discussed how we will be continuing forward for the next six months or so. We fetched our pups from kennels and did some walking exercises with the STOP, DOWN, and SIT cues. Then headed into a free-run area where we practised the STAY cue and a recall where we were hiding from the pup.

 

And just ‘coz he’s so gorgeous, here are a couple of pictures of our beautiful boy!

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Thirteen Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 20 weeks old! I can’t believe how time flies!

This morning he weighed 21.85kg on the vet’s scale!

And look – almost all his front teeth have been replaced with his “big boy” teeth!

Our puppy was so happy to be home after his week with Guide Dog puppy Newton! They had a wonderful time playing together and wore each other out every day, but we missed him lots!

Puppy Club this week was at a stable, so the puppies could see horses and chickens and such. You’d be surprised how often Guide Dogs come across horses in their daily working routine, and they have to be okay with them. Riggs wasn’t thrilled about being near the horses – so we’ll be going back to the same stable yard soon so he can get used to them. Then we’ll find a different stable so that Riggs can see that horses are okay no matter where they are.

This week Riggs and I went with another puppy raiser and puppy-in-training Lyric to visit a school and speak to the children about SA Guide Dogs and the work they do. Riggs handled it really well, even when he had several children touching him at once, and trying to give him cues to DOWN and SIT! 😀 There were also chickens roaming the school grounds, and they were a little distracting but he did so well! After the children had gone back to class, Riggs and Lyric had a chance to explore the jungle-gym on the playground.

 

And just ‘coz he’s so gorgeous, here are a couple of pictures of our beautiful boy!

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Twelve Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 19 weeks old!

Puppy Club this week was at GDA with our Puppy Raising Supervisor, and Riggs, Ringo, Rocco, Ronnie, and Raffi spent a few minutes in kennels with only each other for company, discreetly watched by our Supervisor. This short stay gave her an opportunity to see if any of the puppies were looking for their Puppy Raiser mom, or whining at the gate rather than playing together without concern. They were all quite happy, although Ringo came out of the kennel drenched thanks to Riggs jumping on him and rolling him as they wrestled, and Riggs got a little nip under his eye when Ringo had had enough of Riggs not “listening” when he told him off. 😛
We fetched our pups and headed for an off-lead play pen, and then we then practised SIT-DOWN-STAY, SIT-DOWN-UP SIT, and SIT-DOWN-STAND with our puppies on our left “at heel”.

This week I had to go and fetch the renewed license disc for our car, and while we were waiting Riggs got to check out a different kind of staircase!

We also went to visit my mom, and this meant a good long car ride for Riggs, chickens to check out through the fence when we got there, and my little niece walking around the house – inevitably with tasty things in her hands that Riggs has to learn to ignore. He did very well, and even though my mom’s little Yorkie didn’t want to play with him – he’s a little too boisterous for her liking – he had a fun day. He fell asleep shortly before we were due to leave for home, and as the air conditioner in our car isn’t working, I put him in the doggy hammock on the backseat for the trip home so he could sleep in comfort.

We didn’t see much of our Riggs this week… Our pet Lab is recovering from a bad reaction to medication and it meant I wasn’t able to spend as much time with Riggs as I should, so he went to stay with another Puppy Raiser and her black Lab GDA pup Newton. They had an absolute ball! Riggs and Newton played until they were worn out every day! We missed him terrib;y, but this is an important part of a Guide Dog puppy’s learning curve – to be happy wherever they are, to know that obedience cues and lessons apply wherever they are, and not to stress when they are away from their Puppy Raiser family.

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Eleven Weeks With Riggs #GDApupRiggs

Riggs is 18 weeks old today!

He weighed a whopping 18.8kg this morning, gaining 1.3kg in the last week!
He’s now getting 180g Bob Martin’s dry puppy food three times a day, and he does a beautiful SIT-STAY-EAT when I put his food down, even when he’s drooling!

Riggs’s little front baby teeth are being replaced by grown up teeth. His canines will soon follow suit.

Left: Riggs and Raffi hoping Puppy Raiser Wendy still has some liver bread Top right: Raffi Bottom right: Ronnie

Thirsty puppies after puppy class 

 Puppy Club today was at Fourways Crossing with our Puppy Raising Supervisor, and Riggs, Ringo, Rocco, Ronnie, and Raffi all did very well on their walk. We crossed roads, climbed two different kinds of staircases, rode in the lift, walked past open shop doors, did some recall exercises, looked down through the open railings to the floor below, and had a coffee in the Wimpy afterwards. They were all proper tired when we drove home!

Last Friday night we took Riggs to the SA Guide-Dogs Golf Day prize-giving and dinner. He got to meet some golfers, and practise sleeping under my chair while I ate. He also got to experience some applause and meet a working Guide Dog. He was a star, as always!

 

Riggs loves his crate, napping and playing in it, and sometimes he’s happy to share it with one of his housemates!

 

     

And just ‘coz he’s so cute, here are a whole lot of pictures of our gorgeous Riggs for you to enjoy, some of which he’s with his “housemates” – our other dogs!

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