IF IT were up to them, trainee guide dogs May and Glen would probably head straight for the pet food aisle.
But they are kept on a tight leash when Peter Bratt takes them shopping.
Peter, 61, and wife Rhona, 59, are volunteer trainers for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
They are responsible for helping the puppies acclimatise to the outside world.
Peter said: “Our job is to show them the world. We take them into shops, pubs and restaurants and on trains and buses – everywhere they might go with their owner.
“We get them to the point where they are socialised, have seen everything and aren’t bothered by anything.”
The couple, of Holmbridge, have been trainers for four years.
They spend a year training each of the pups before they are returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind for a further eight months of specialist training. The dogs are then given to their new owners.
One of the couple’s regular destinations is Sainsbury’s at Shore Head.
Peter said: “They have to learn how to behave in different places.
“One of the puppies we had used to think trolleys were bad and would bark at them.
“We use positive reinforcement techniques – praising the dogs when they do something good and ignoring the stuff we don’t want them to do.
“We make mistakes sometimes, but most places are very understanding.”
Deborah McQueen, from Sainsbury’s, said staff enjoyed having the dogs in.
She said: “The dogs can be quite phased by the trolleys at the beginning of the training and bark and try to bite them.
“These dogs become well known by our colleagues over the course of their training, who look forward to their visits and are often sad when they ‘graduate’ and are ready to move on.”
Peter and Rhona are just about to say goodbye to May and begin training Glen.
Peter said it was difficult to part company with the puppies at the end of the year, but he added: “We know these dogs will transform somebody’s life and we get a buzz out of that.”