Cross your paws. Lovely Otis is now at Guide Dogs for the next stage of his training programme.

When out on a walk Otis has learned to listen well to commands and is great at responding to his name or a whistle. He’s developed a nice consistent speed when walking, keeping a good tension on his training harness.

But oh those glorious smells! Much as he loves them and wants to run over and investigate, he’s learned that he has to wait until his harness is gone and he’s in play mode. Well done Otis.

One challenge he’s facing is learning to settle quietly for long periods, such as lying down under the table while his Guide Dog trainer meets someone in a coffee shop, or goes to a meeting. He has to learn to stay down regardless of any movement or sound nearby.

And he needs to stay close. For some reason he prefers to sit a little distance away from his Guide Dog trainer. But he’s learning.

Very soon Otis will be ready to complete his first blindfold walk. This is where his trainer will walk Otis on a known route while his Guide Dog trainer wears a blindfold.

This kind of testing is a great way to assess Otis’ progress to date and see if areas need further development.

Cross your paws for Otis. And thanks again for your support for all the services you help provide for New Zealanders living with blindness and low vision.