Puppy play time

Puppy play time

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Jaxx, the guide dog in training visits the Shire of Serpentine and Jarrahdale.

The Shire of Serpentine and Jarrahdale acknowledged the importance of guide dogs when they welcomed five-month-old Jaxx into their office on September 8.

A pure breed Labrador and guide dog in training Jaxx was brought in by his puppy raisers Michael and Frances Irrang, who reside in Byford.

Guide Dogs WA services manager Zena Gomes said the organisation’s guide dogs enabled extraordinary transformations in the lives of blind and vision impaired West Australians.

“These guide dogs provide the freedom, independence and companionship not found with any other mobility aid,” she said.

“They offer support and inclusion in the community.”

Ms Gomes described Jaxx as calm and intelligent and said that he was brought into the shire office for a photograph of himself with shire president John Erren to go into his puppy diary, which is a part of his guide dog training.

“Our young recruits enter our training program at eight to 10 weeks of age and the first stage of guide dog training is puppy raising,” she said.

Jaxx will stay with his puppy trainers until he is about 16 or 18 months.

In that time he will learn basic socialisation and obedience skills ensuring that he remains calm and is familiar with a range of different situations he may encounter as a guide dog.

Ms Gomes said guide dogs were trained through positive reinforcement.
“It’s important that each dog and their instructor develop a positive working relationship,” she said.

“The dogs soon learn what the instructor is asking and will happily demonstrate their newly acquired skills.

“Our comprehensive matching process ensures that the guide dog goes to a person most suited to them and vice versa.

“Depending on their specific skills, personality and temperament a puppy in training may graduate as a guide dog or be selected as a companion, assistance of therapy dog.”

Mr Erren said it was a pleasure to meet Jaxx.