Meet the Wiltshire couple who have helped train guide dog puppies for 15 years

  • Watch Ellie Barker's report

A couple in Wiltshire who have helped train more than 20 guide dog puppies are looking to inspire more people to become puppy raisers.

Janice Boswell and George McCaffery have been training puppies from their home in Corsham for the last fifteen years.

Speaking to ITV News Janice says she loves taking care of them, adding: "It's nice to get a tiny puppy and train them so they can move on to become a life changer.

"It's also a challenge for me to get this tiny ball of fluff and be able to teach it commands that will be useful when they become a guide dog."

Her partner George went on to add that he felt proud to take care of the dogs.

He said: "You get that small puppy and you see them develop and grow.

"It's the pride associated with it I think more than anything else but the hardest part is the first six weeks - thats tough work.

"Then all of a sudden it's those final days, the final night, the last walk - and ultimately they go off to school - it helps to see them go off like that."

Guide dog puppies attend a school where they are taught special skills such as 'curb stops' and 'chin rests' that are vital to help keep people who are visually impaired safe from day-to-day danger.

On average, the puppies will spend 20 weeks there before they can be matched with an owner.

Kelli Inglis, a guide dog trainer, has said: "We've got lots of different behaviours we train.

"So we've got our core behaviours which are things like food manners, so teaching them not to pick things up off the floor so they're not scavenging when they're out and around.

"We've got non-working behaviours so that's things like recall training to help get in and out of cars and then we have our working behaviours so that's wearing harnesses and guiding."

After a busy day of training the dogs will then go home to their foster carers.

Danny Williams, an Operations Manager at Guide Dogs, said: "So the fostering role will be to drop the dogs at one of our centres at about nine o'clock in the morning and then collect the dog at about five in the evening.

"That foster is then responsible for the dog during the evenings and weekends."

More than 200 people across the South West are currently waiting for a guide dog, meaning more foster carers like George and Janice are needed.

Danny added: " As an organisation we're investing a lot of money into new trainers.

"Across the South West we've got 14 brand new trainers that were training up to take care of guide dogs.

"We're now in a position where we really need to increase out volunteer base."

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