Black Labrador, Elsie, was too easily distracted to become a guide dog and had to be rehomed. With a lot of patience, Elsie’s new owners were able to train her out of bad habits and she now walks beautifully alongside them.
Elsie stopped training to be a guide dog at just over two years of age. She was sometimes easily distracted while walking. She also walked in a way that wouldn’t work for a guide dog owner. Elsie was incredibly strong, and walking with her was not always an enjoyable experience!
Things can get better over time though. First Elsie had a volunteer fosterer who showed the patience to encourage loose lead walking. Gradually, she started to improve.
The penny really dropped though when Elsie was rehomed with a couple who had the time to take things a step further. Her new owners continued to encourage loose lead walking, and also had the patience and willingness to stop every step if needed, sometimes taking ten minutes or more to walk ten paces. Crucially, they also had the strength needed to stay upright when Elsie pulled on the lead.
After over a year of work, Elsie now walks beautifully. She has wonderful recall too, returning immediately when called no matter what she is doing. Although Elsie didn’t learn these skills fast enough to become a guide dog, she is proof that patience pays off in the long run.
"Elsie settled in well. Her lead walking was very erratic, but we have managed to get her to walk about two feet in front of us now and to one side. Although she does need constant reminding!
"She is not one for showing much excitement unless there is food involved or a tennis ball, but she is very loyal and follows me around.
"I took her to our local dog training group to continue some sort of training but mainly to encourage her to bond with me. We are doing agility at the moment which she quite enjoys as long as there are plenty of treats. She is incredibly food driven and will do anything for a treat.
"Elsie's easy to take places and is socially well behaved and calm. She is a joy to have and gives us a lot of pleasure."