Anna and I started attending Guide Dog Puppy meetings when we started thinking about raising a puppy. Anna liked seeing the puppies and I liked seeing the puppies and my old group. I missed that group. Boulder Guide Dog Puppies is a great group.

The group focuses almost entirely on the dogs. The members care about the puppies, the people raising them, and their new people. Discussions are almost exclusively dog related. I have no idea what anyone's political and religious views are. I do know one family goes to a certain church, but not because they told me. Our homeschooling family meets at that church and their picture, along with a dog, was on the wall at the church.

This group offers patient, no-fault training. The leaders help us. Lauren tried to explain something to Anna and I one day, and we just weren't getting it. I asked her to show me, and she grabbed a dog and did. It worked. We got it. The other two leaders, while having different personalities and different techniques, are willing to do what they can to educate us.

The group is flexible. None of them seem to have fixed and hard beliefs, because they know all puppies and all raisers are different. Some people find having three different leaders tell you three slightly different things is frustrating. I find it empowering. One leader loves tie downs as a tool with young puppies and another thinks young puppies don't understand tie downs. Well, each of those leaders raises different types of dogs (for instance, one raises males and the other females). I see it as an opportunity to figure out where the dog lies and then follow that leader's instructions.

The leaders get along and aren't in competition. All three of the leaders get along well. They all understand that they have different ideas and personalities. They understand that the dogs do too. They understand that their training techniques work better with some people and not as well with others. These leaders portray a perfect image of "we're here to help you and the dogs, not boost our egos."

I am looking forward to my puppy and getting involved with the group again.