Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Can Do Canine in final training? Let’s take a look behind the kennel door and see what a day in the life of Yuki, a female Labrador Retreiver currently in the final stages of her training to become an assistance dog, is really like.
Yuki wakes up bright and early each morning and devours her morning kibble. After breakfast, it's out to the yard for some serious morning play time with her kennel mates while the kennel is given a deep clean. In the yard, an ever-changing rotation of toys and obstacles keep her interested and provide new challenges to keep her mind sharp.
Just like you and me, Yuki also appreciates the fulfillment of a hard day’s work. Monday through Friday, she meets with her trainer 1-2 times each day for a training session. She learns new assistance skills and refines old ones through the positive reinforcement her trainer provides. She loves the one-on-one attention, the treats, and the sense of accomplishment she gets from her training. In the afternoon, volunteer dog exercisers come and take Yuki on a long walk, which satisfies her need to travel and follow her nose.
Dinner is served at 4 p.m., followed by another outside play session with kennel mates. By now, Yuki is in need of some quiet time. She settles in for a late afternoon nap until the evening kennel staff arrive and let her out for one last potty break and play session. Then it’s lights out for the night, and Yuki drifts off to sleep to the lovely classical music that is played in the kennels. It will be another big day tomorrow for this future assistance dog, and she needs her sleep.
Thank you Sue Edgar (LTF) and Peter Olson (GS) for their hard work raising Yuki, and to all other Puppy Program volunteers who help raise these life-changing assistance dogs.