Five dogs passed their medical exams in Pick of the Litter Episode 3.
At the end of the second episode of Pick of the Litter, the five remaining dogs have passed their medical exams.
But before Amara can begin her formal guide work training like her fellow canines, she must undergo a temperament test. If she passes she will not be a guide dog but a breeder instead.
What happens in Pick of the Litter Episode 3?
Jenna Bullis the Director of Breeding & Canine Development Guide Dogs for the Blind states, “There’s no one perfect type of guide dog. There’s all kinds of different dogs. And those are all really important because our clients are so varied.”
Meghan Fraser the Breeding Stock Coordinator Guide Dogs for the Blind works with Amara hoping to get an idea of her temperament. Ideally they want well-rounded dogs who can wear the harness.
Amara walked effortlessly on different textures from pavement to stairs, through loud and busy areas.
However because she pulled and became distracted at times, the Breeding Manager will be looking at Amara’s family history.
Checking in with Raffi, he’s been living with Jess and her dog in a new environment. Jess explained that he has issues being in the house free-range when she is both home and away.
He is not used to having a playmate and is learning when to play and not play.
Meanwhile Paco, Pacino, Tartan, and Tulane begin their formal guide work training. They will need to pass eight phases to become a guide.
Guide Dogs for the Blind Trainer Chelsea Aydelott trains Tulane and Tartan and Guide Dogs for the Blind Trainer Jessie St. Clair trains Pacino and Paco.
Chelsea has been working at Guide Dogs for the Blind for just over four years after studying marine biology and psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Animal lover Jessie has been at Guide Dogs since 2012. She found out about the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization upon adopting a career changed dog.
The first task the episode presents is having the dog back-up in a straight line using their back legs. Tartan demonstrates this by walking to and fro inside a closed chute on a leash with Chelsea on the outside.
From there Tartan stands and sits upon a texture board.
The purpose of this task, Chelsea elaborates is, “when a client goes to a restaurant, they wanna be able to ask their dogs to sit and lay down and that dog to stay in that nice, close positioning right next to them.”
Tulane and Paco work with the same textured pad.
“These first phases of training all lead up to a test in three weeks where the trainers wear blindfolds. The dogs must pass this test to continue in the program.”
Throughout the episode puppy raisers Sangeeta and Mihir, The Dupuy Family, Marikay, and Martina and Claudia share their hopes that their dog will graduate. Sangeeta, Marikay, and Martina and Claudia got another puppy to begin the process all over again.
The episode also introduces Claire Stanley, a Guide Dogs for the Blind Client in Washington D.C.
With most of her vision gone at nine years old, Claire lost the rest due to a brain tumor on the optic nerve. While using a white cane has helped her remain independent for ten plus years she prefers working with a dog.
“There are a lot of benefits that come with a guide dog. They’re your eyes. I have a friend who calls them her fuzzy eyeballs,” Claire explains.
Wanting to help people with disabilities she works for the American Council of the Blind. She speaks to Congress members and ensures that people who are blind have proper resources from transportation to nondiscrimination in the workplace.
Claire’s first guide dog was a black labrador and golden retriever mix name Corolla. Her second and current guide dog, black labrador Kodiak, is almost ten years old and ready for retirement.
Some friends who live nearby will be taking him in. She looks forward to visiting him and is nervous about transitioning to a new dog.
The show states, “Claire is scheduled to receive her third guide dog soon,” and “If the dogs successfully continue through their phases, one of them could be matched with her.”
In Phase I- Treadmill Training the trainers will have an idea of what the dog’s pace while walking is. This pace will need to match the pace of the client’s walk.
Each leashed dog walks on a treadmill with food presented ahead of them. Tulane and Paco had very high energy while Pacino was a little slower.
During Phase I-Basic Commands & Curbs the dogs learn how to walk at a leading pace. When working with the client they will be leading.
Chelsea explains that a “hop up” command is kind of a “pick up your pace”.
While Tartan did well and Paco paced himself, Pacino wasn’t wanting to pull the harness much to Jessie’s surprise.
This is problematic because, “To be a guide dog, the dog has to be able to pull into the harness, and that’s what the handler is actually feeling and following,” explains Jessie.
For Phase 2-Distraction Training the dogs are evaluated on how well they interact with dog distractions. They need to stay focused, looking straight ahead without needing assistance from their client.
Tartan notices the dog the first time but by her second attempt she does far better. Paco ignores the first dog he sees but then engages with another on the second attempt. Tulane remained focused and undistracted.
The episode presents the timeout technique where “the handler will stop, and count to ten” before they try again. Pacino remained focused and ignored the dog toy distractions and the presence of another dog.
Pick of the Litter Episode 3 concludes with Phase 3-Blindfold Training.
Chelsea and Jessie are blindfolded and accompanied by a supervisor. The supervisor acts as another set of eyes and watches to see how the dogs perform.
“The dogs need to pass their blindfold test to advance in the program.”
In the end Tulane, Tartan, and Paco pass however Pacino was surprisingly inconsistent and needed repeated commands.
It is apparent he is not ready to progress. He will be given another week of training however if he doesn’t show the progress he could be career changed.
The truth of the matter, as Chris Benninger the CEO & President Guide Dogs for the Blind states in the episode, “Of all the dogs that come into training about 70 percent make it through as guides.”
What did you think of Pick of the Litter Episode 3? Leave your answers in the comment section below!
Pick of the Litter is streaming on Disney Plus.