Pick of the Litter Season 1 Episode 4 Recap: Next Level Training

Five dogs have begun Phase 4 of their training in Pick of the Litter Episode 4.

At the end of the third episode of Pick of the Litter,  Tulane, Tartan, and Paco pass however Pacino struggled. Will he be able to continue to Phase 4 with the rest of the dogs?

What happens in Pick of the Litter Episode 4?

Pacino passes after moving at the slower pace he is comfortable with. It is noted that his steadfast pace can be helpful for a specific client.

Now he along with Tulane, Tartan, and Paco can progress to Phase 4.

This news excites all of the puppy raisers who every week can, “check online to see how their dog is progressing through the phases of training.”

“Phase 4 means the dogs will move from basic to advanced training. The dogs must complete and pass 8 phases of training to become a guide.”

At Phase 4-Escalator & Indoor Training, the dogs wear booties on their back feet to protect them from the edge of the escalator.

Chelsea explains that “The end goal is that we want them to target the handrail, and so, then the handler can dictate when they get on the escalator.”

From there the dogs learn chair targetting which teaches the dogs to find a chair for their handler. During this exercise, Paco becomes comically over-enthusiastic by putting his feet up onto the chair.

“Throughout phases 5, 6, and 7 the dogs will learn the skills to pass the final tests in phase 8,” with the show reminding us that if the dogs fail they can be career changed.

After a fun day of training, Chelsea and Jessie allow the dogs to enjoy some playtime off the leash. This will also help the dogs get used to wearing booties on all four feet in preparation for where they may be living with their future client.

It is during this time that Chelsea and Jessie begin looking at the client waitlist to see who would be good matches for the dogs.

Chris Benninger the CEO & President of Guide Dogs for the Blind states that “the matchmaking process at Guide Dogs is really complicated. The environment’s important. We also look at people’s size, their pace, and then on top of that, everybody has their own personal preferences.”

In order to get a guide dog the person must have “the basic orientation and mobility skills.”

It can take months for a visually impaired person to get matched with a dog who meets their needs.

In between the dogs’ extensive training, the show introduces the third Guide Dogs for the Blind client, Eva Velez from Seal Beach, CA.

She has been reliant on a cane but has been having several issues with it and feels that she will fare better with a dog.

After a driving accident in 1984, it was revealed she had retinitis pigmentosa, “a degenerative disease that leads to blindness.”

Eva continues, “What happens is the pigment starts to destroy the cells that help you see at night, and then starts to destroy the ones that help you see during the day until it’s all gone.”

She has not let this condition hinder her love of life as she remains active and is learning the tango.

Since we last checked in with Amara, she was a potential candidate for the breeding colony. During this waiting period, she has been living with her puppy raiser Stacey.

In an ironic twist, Amara’s sister Allegra is chosen for the breeding colony which means Amara will go back into training to become a guide dog. While Stacey is very proud that Amara could become a guide dog, she is also sad to let her go.

Meanwhile, Tami Shankle the Community Field Rep for Guide Dogs for the Blind informs Marikay that Raffi will be put on recall. Marikay is overjoyed and looks forward to a future call about his graduation.

During Phase 5-Traffic Training, the dogs learn how to react in the presence of vehicles.

Traffic conditioning is “an exercise to really teach our dogs appropriate responses to dangerous traffic situations. The dogs may need to back up, they may need to come to an abrupt stop, they may even need to speed up, in the presence of dangerous or incoming vehicles,” Chelsea explains.

By using experienced drivers, they want the dogs to leave enough space for moving vehicles. They need to practice intelligent disobedience, by choosing not to obey the command from the handler depending on the situation.

Pacino once again faltered and meets Jeff Grey a Master Instructor at Guide Dogs for the Blind while the remaining three dogs continue onto Phase 6-Platform Edge Training.

The dogs find themselves in the city, encountering trains and constant noises and sounds.

“We have a lot of clients who live in dense urban environments and are riding the train on a daily basis. The platform edge can be an area of danger. It can also be an area that a handler can get easily disoriented,” Jessie explains.

The dogs learn that even if they are commanded towards the platform edge they will not approach it.

After all three dogs pass Phase 6 and move onto Phase 7-Final Blindfold Test, Jessie and her Training Class Supervisor at Guide Dogs for the Blind Stacey notice Paco beginning to target things for the sake of the reward of food.

This concerns Jessie because “we’re not training these dogs to pass a test. We’re training these dogs to be effective, safe travelers, and to have a portion of responsibility for someone else’s safety.”

She is unsure if Paco is ready while Guide Dogs for the Blind clients Kendal and Claire are excited about going to California to meet their guide dogs.

What did you think of Pick of the Litter Episode 4? Leave your answers in the comment section below!

Pick of the Litter is streaming on Disney Plus.