28 Aug Labra … DOUGAL
This week at Smart Pups….
Two of our trainers are away placing newly qualified assistance dogs Jack and Manu with their families. Members of the public often ask what breeds of dogs we train. The answer is Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Labradoodles, like Jack and Manu. At this point in the conversation we sometimes get asked Labra what?? And Why?
Like lots of other good things Labradoodles are an Australian innovation. Guide Dogs Australia first crossed a Labrador with a Standard poodle to create a low shedding service dog suitable for people with dog hair allergies. This is precisely why Smart Pups train Labradoodles to assist children with allergies or children who have other family members with diagnosed hair allergies.
The labradoodle has become a very popular and sought- after cross, not just as a service dog but also as a family pet, due to its friendly nature and teddy bear looks. Our trainers will tell you these highly intelligent, quirky, sensitive, soft souls are often slower in maturing than Labradors. They are the gentle giants of all service dogs, capable of giving the lightest of elegant paw shakes, but tall enough to rest a woolly head in a wheelchair and strong enough to brace a child who needs help to stand.
Labradoodles come in an array of heights and colours, and Smart Pups has trained just about all of them! The coat type varies (even among litter mates), from hair to wool to fleece. Being out and about with a service dog always draws attention but this is increased when training a labradoodle. Members of the public are unsure if they are meeting a wolf hound, a poodle, a bichon frise or in the case of fluffy Cash a Llama! It is always a good opportunity to educate; service dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
Just as I was putting this story together we received a beautiful update from our Smart Pup family who welcomed Labradoodle Dougal into their family last year.
Here are Mum Phoebe’s inspirational words about the impact Dougal has had on all their lives:
We are nearly at 6 months after placement and Dougal has made such a difference in our lives.
He has developed an exceptionally fantastic bond with Connor and he has helped with his anxiety beyond belief. Dougal attends all of Connors therapy appointments without fail. He takes the children to school with us every morning.
I feel so much more confident taking the children out and about town since he has arrived. Knowing he can find them if they wander is a gigantic comfort, especially Hayley. They are happier to leave the house too.
Our favourite part of the day is games on the grass in the backyard where we practice tricks and throw toys and laugh at his antics. We also love playing hide and go seek. Dougal and Connor now sleep together on a mattress to accommodate the both of them.
On a side note my own mental health has improved due to the exercising and fun we are having together with Dougal.
I am so thankful we have him to get the kids through to the end of their schooling. It was a long wait but absolutely worth it.
Dougal has his own very active face book page – Smart Pup Dougal
It’s been a long wait for the families who received Manu and Jack this week too, but I am sure the rewards will be equally as life changing. I will look forward to bringing you their stories in the future.
Your Donation will help us make the long waits shorter and bring the gift of Labradoodle love to more families in need.