Dog's for good - Monty's Journey

Read below the story of Monty's progression all the way from young pup to fully fledged assistance dog, made possible by RSSL's sponsorship.

18th December: Monty fully qualified!


After two years of hard work, Monty, Reading Scientific Services Ltd.’s (RSSL's) sponsored Labrador puppy, has become a Dogs for Good's fully qualified assistance dog.


To mark this milestone, Monty was also given his forever home, being partnered with Birmingham-based Rebecca.


Monty’s final test involved a “qualification walk” where he and Rebecca walked around the streets of Birmingham with a Dogs for Good training manager assessing the trip. Monty did brilliantly, showcasing his exceptional task based skills, such as picking up keys and removing gloves.


Passing with flying colours, Monty’s qualified status marks the end of a long journey that included working with a puppy socialiser for 14 months and completing both early and advanced training at Dogs for Good.


During the early training process, Dogs for Good assessed Monty and decided that he would be best suited to their physical disability training programme. Every dog on this programme is specially trained to help with practical tasks that many people with disabilities find difficult or impossible to do. With Monty’s natural curiosity, he excels in these task-based activities such as opening and closing doors, retrieving items, loading and emptying a washing machine or pressing an elevator button.


As Monty neared the final stages of his advanced training, Dogs for Good started the process of finding him the perfect home. This involved a number of “matching visits”, where his abilities and potential were paired up with the needs and aspirations of a client.

Monty was paired with Rebecca in the Autumn and under the guidance of Dogs for Good, the relationship has flourished and continues to get stronger.


Monty has been going on plenty of adventures with Rebecca, as she frequently heads into the city centre and attends university open days. Monty keeps Rebecca company during university lectures where he tends to lay down and relax, occasionally nudging her to check that all is well, before settling down again.


"Thank you for all the support you've given Dogs for Good to help get Monty through training and to help make this happen because it’s made a difference."


Monty is continuing to do incredibly well and he and Rebecca are very happy together.

11th November: Monty settling into his new home

We’ve just received another Monty update as he continues to settle in at his new home.


Monty is adapting well to his new life with Rebecca, who is turning into a great handler. This has allowed his instructor, Jen, to take a step back when she works with him.


Monty is well behaved at home and is very affectionate, enjoying snoozing on the floor as well as on Rebecca's bed. He is equally well behaved during his trips to Rebecca's family home, where they frequently stay overnight.


Even though the family home houses two cats, a small dog and a number of chickens in the garden, Monty is well behaved and very responsive to Rebecca, helping to ensure that he doesn't get too excited around the other animals.

As you can see from the photo, Monty completely relaxed on his first visit!


Dogs for Good are taking things slowly with Monty which seems to be paying off. They will continue to work with him and Rebecca to help ensure a successful partnership.


Another update on how the pair are getting on will follow in the coming weeks.

24th October: Monty finds a match with Rebecca!

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We have just received another update about Monty as he continues to work hard to develop all the different skills he will need to utilise in his working life.


Task based activities remain a favourite and he has been able to increase his speed and accuracy when carrying these out.


Having been trained on Dogs For Good's physical disability programme, Monty has recently been matched with a lady named Rebecca, who is based in the West Midlands.

As Monty will be Rebecca's first assistance dog, Dogs For Good are taking things slowly to ensure they form a great bond. The charity are also providing Rebecca with guidance on how to work with Monty to make sure they get the most out of their partnership and become the best of friends.


We have our fingers crossed that Monty and Rebecca will make a great team. Another update on how the pair are getting on will follow in the coming months.

23rd July: Monty starts advanced training


We have just received another update about Monty as he passes his 16-week assessment and begins his advanced training - the final stage in his journey to becoming a fully qualified assistance dog!


As Monty nears the end of his training, Dogs for Good have started the process of finding him the perfect home and he will soon be going on his first matching visit, where his abilities and potential will be matched up with the needs and aspirations of the client.


Once a match has been found, his instructor Jen (pictured with Monty) will begin the process of adapting Monty’s training to focus on the client’s specific needs. This will include looking at Monty’s obedience, ensuring he is responding to commands accurately and consistently, with verbal commands or hand signals being used.

“Monty is eager to please and enthusiastic about his task based work which keeps him busy and provides him with an enjoyable focus. He will be missed by many of the team who share an office with him. His waggy tail greeting and retrieval of a toy each time anyone enters the office will certainly be missed.” says Jen, Monty’s instructor


We look forward to seeing how Monty progresses and learning about the lucky person who he will be paired with.

11th June: Monty gets out and about

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We have just received another update about Monty as he continues on his journey with Dogs for Good!


Monty is doing fantastically well with his training, excelling in task based activities and taking all his work in his stride. Because of this, Dogs for Good are starting to look at potential matches for him. Monty’s ideal forever home would be with someone who has a quieter lifestyle with a medium level requirement for task based work. They also need to be happy to chat to Monty as he soaks up his surroundings!

In the meantime, Monty has been keeping busy and recently visited Cotswold Wildlife Park with his handler and all the other dogs that are currently being trained by Dogs for Good. Monty enjoyed looking at most of the animals, but was a little cautious of the giraffes, as well as the sunbathing lions! He felt quite comfortable with the other animals though, including the rhinos!


Monty has also been getting involved with the Dogs for Good application process, joining assessment visits to enable potential clients the opportunity to handle a dog as part of their evaluation.


By doing this, Monty is already making a great contribution to the charity and their important work.

24th April: Monty is mastering tasks!

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We have just received another update about Monty as he progresses with his training in Banbury!


Monty has been working hard with his trainer Jen but has recently developed “soft” paws. Dogs for Good are not sure why this has happened and are keeping a close eye on him to monitor his progress. Because of this, Monty has been on a reduced exercise programme over the last few weeks and has fallen a little behind with his training.  However, Jen is confident that this won’t hinder his long-term development too much. Monty is a bright boy and a mastermind at all the task based activities that he is given!


This type of work comes easily to Monty as he is curious and always wants something to do! Whether he is opening doors, nudging buttons, pulling a jacket off or even retrieving a dumbbell, he learns new tasks easily. Recently, he mastered how to push using his paw over just two training sessions.

Monty continues to love his food so it is easy to reward him when he does well by using his normal kibble.


Monty is an affectionate young dog who loves attention and leaning into the legs of those he is with. He is also getting on well with his new volunteer boarder family including his two dog housemates, Revel and Rocky.


Dogs for Good hope to have Monty back on his usual training programme soon.

14th March: Monty’s basic training begins

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After careful consideration by Dogs for Good, Monty was chosen to follow the disability training programme and is now working hard with his trainer Jen. During this stage of his development, Monty will be training each day at the kennels while spending the evenings and weekends with his new volunteer boarder family.


As the daytime routine at the kennels is so different from what he has been used to, Monty will spend the first couple of weeks getting to know Jen and having plenty of fun with toys and games. Early training lasts approximately 16 weeks and Monty will be assessed at 6, 12 and 16 weeks. He needs to pass each assessment before moving onto the next level. Early training involves Monty practising getting in and out, as well as travelling in the charity’s vans. Monty will also practise walking to heel, on a loose lead and next to a variety of mobility aids, adjusting his pace accordingly. Although Monty has a naturally fast pace, he has already shown great progress in slowing his speed, absorbing in his surroundings and taking the changes all in his stride.


After each busy day at the kennels, Monty is collected by his new boarder family and heads to his temporary lodgings, which he shares with the family’s two pet dogs. Monty gets on well with the other dogs and often follows their lead when it comes to house rules and free running. He also enjoys playing with toys, running in the local parks and woods and enjoying settled time with chews and cuddles.


Although there is still much to learn, Monty continues to do well with his training and is enjoying his new routine.

13th February: Monty is 14 months old!


We have just had another update about Monty and a few new photos to share! Monty is now 14 months old – where has time gone?


Monty is doing really well with his training and is well on the way to becoming someone’s new best friend! He has been working hard in his puppy training classes with Abbey, which will help him reach his full potential.  John, has been doing a great job of looking after his wellbeing, including carrying out routine health checks, ensuring he is the correct weight and making sure he is regularly groomed.  John has been socialising Monty around lots of people and animals, visiting as many different places as possible. All this work is to prepare Monty for the next stage in his journey which starts very soon – at the end of February Monty will begin his formal training at ‘Dogs For Good’ in Banbury. Lots of change ahead - there will be a period of settling in with his new trainer and also his new boarding family.


You will be pleased to know that Monty is being a brilliant brother to a new puppy that John and Ann are socialising! They now have a puppy called Birch, and the two of them are firm playmates.  Which is really lovely for John and Ann as it will hopefully soften the blow when Monty leaves.


“Monty continues to be a joy to have around. His enthusiasm is infectious and uplifting and he’s always ready for the next exciting adventure. With the help of Abbey, we are working on Monty’s ability to concentrate on the task in hand because he is easily distracted, particularly when meeting other dogs who he will sometimes bark at to get their attention. At home Monty has lots of toys - his favourite is his squeaky lion, which he insists on taking to bed each night. He also likes to play with his tugger toys, challenging you to a tug of war.”


We look forward to hearing more soon!

20th February: Our sponsorship puppy get’s a name! 


“Our handsome pup will be known as Monty which, as well as being a friendly name, has a meaning which we feel perfectly reflects what RSSL is all about. It’s associated with giving as much as possible and fulfilling expectations – values which are very much part of our family-friendly culture, both in terms of delivering for our clients and supporting each other during the working day.


“We are confident that Monty will live up to his name and enrich the lives of those he is placed with at the end of his training,” says Jacinta George, Managing Director at RSSL.


Dogs For Good is a charity organisation that brings people and dogs together through its assistance, community and family programmes to make a life changing difference.


At eight weeks old, Monty is only just beginning to learn about the world, how to communicate and what is expected of him. He has been placed with puppy socialiser, John, who is in charge of taking him through the first important weeks of the puppy training programme. Teaching basic obedience and social skills are essential, but so too is plenty of affection, play and rest – all of which will be readily available from John and his family.


An equally important part of process is getting Monty used to his green Dogs for Good jacket which will be his identifying uniform when he is a fully-trained working dog. By introducing it gradually, in short bursts, over time – along with plenty of praise and rewards - John will make sure Monty is confident and comfortable wearing it from an early age.


“We look forward to hearing all about Monty’s adventures over the next 12 months and watching him grow into an adult dog capable of bringing joy, support and companionship in his own special way,” adds Jacinta George.


Regular updates and photos of Monty will be posted on RSSL’s social media platforms - guaranteed to raise a smile.

14h December: Christmas delivery marks the start of puppy partnership


Born at the end of November 2018, the four-legged bundle of fun is being sponsored by the Reading Science Centre as part of the Dogs For Good Puppy Partner community scheme. The charity brings people and dogs together through its assistance, community and family dog programmes to make a life changing difference.


“We are delighted to be involved with Dogs For Good and the comfort their therapy and assistance dogs bring to those facing difficult challenges. As a family-oriented organisation, we understand how important it is to feel supported when you need help - a belief we carry through with the work we undertake for our clients too. So the puppy partnership is a very welcome and natural extension of our philosophy.


“Our puppy is at the start of his journey and we are looking forward to following his progress in training over the next year. There are so many ways he may become an amazing part of someone’s life. Helping a child with autism and their family, an adult with disabilities or children with special educational needs, are just some of the possibilities,” says Jacinta George, Managing Director at RSSL.


For now, it is the RSSL team who have the biggest responsibility - finding a name for the new pup. The Dogs For Good breeding scheme asks that all new arrivals in a litter are given a name beginning with the same letter. For the RSSL sponsored pup, this means the letter ‘M’.


"Everyone at RSSL is being asked to get involved and put forward ideas for our pup’s name. And with Christmas just around the corner, this may well inspire a few festive suggestions. The final choice will be announced via our social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We will also be posting regular updates and photos of our puppy over the next few months as he grows into his new role. We can’t wait!” adds Jacinta George.


Both organisations are celebrating 30-year anniversaries, so the partnership is a fitting way for RSSL to mark the milestone for the benefit of the community.