Bentley loves being around people | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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Bentley loves being around people

12 December 2016

As Bentley continues to grow and learn, Puppy Raiser Stephanie is becoming more confident about the prospects of the young black Labrador fulfilling his destiny as a Guide Dog.

Although he has a long way to go before it is decided if he will meet the strict requirements, the Puppy Raiser of 13 dogs said she is seeing some very positive signs.

“Usually around six months of age, if there are no medical issues, you want to see a relaxed pup that likes to be around other people,” Stephanie said. “If I am at home Bentley will just come and sit with me. He simply loves to be around other people.”

Stephanie also looks at how clever each dog is. “Bentley is very attuned to people and good at picking up if something bad has happened and knowing how to respond,” she said. “Not every dog has this quality.”

Looking back at all the puppies raised over the years

Voss, a black Labrador, sits on grass wearing his Guide Dog harness
Voss (pictured above) graduated as a Guide Dog in August 2016

This week the Puppy Raiser reflected on the dogs she has helped raise over the years.

Initially helping her mum to puppy raise at just 11-years-old, Stephanie said since the Guide Dogs Centre began to breed its own dogs for the program the type of Labradors were much more predictable.

“There is also a much better success rate. For example out of the last five puppies I have raised, three have graduated as Guide Dogs.”

With Bentley, Stephanie was able to ask the centre about his mum and dad. “I was told his dad was laid back and relaxed and sometimes I can see this in him but when he acts boisterous I joke that must be his mum’s trait,” she joked. 

Stephanie’s most recent graduate was Voss, who she admits she has a soft spot for. “He was just a lovely dog and so easy to train. He was toilet trained within two weeks. I just knew he would graduate,” she said. 

She has also decided to keep two dogs as pets who were not suitable for the Guide Dog program, including Zoe, who when she went to be assessed as a potential Guide Dog refused to eat. A number of tests were conducted to see if there was a medical reason as to why she would not take food before it was discovered that it was emotional issue.

“The Guide Dogs Centre staff asked me to come down and give her a bowl of food and she immediately ate all of it. She was pining to be with me so badly and I was asked if I wanted to take her home, which I did,” Stephanie said. “Zoe passed away earlier this year.” 

Then there is Dexter, Bentley’s buddy. Dexter was a bit too boisterous to become a Guide Dog and absolutely adored Stephanie’s brother. “No one compares to my brother for Dexter. Despite the fact I trained him, he only has eyes for my brother,” she said. “When I was told he would be more suited as a pet dog, I brought him to my brother as a present. They are such good mates.”

Stephanie’s success rate in training well-rounded Guide Dogs is high and she remains extremely positive for Bentley’s future.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT needs Puppy Raisers in early 2017. Find out more about becoming a Puppy Raiser.