Day 9

Today, obedience training was changed. Now that we’ve got the basic commands down, we are working on obedience with distractions (such as other dogs, birds, food etc.) present. This is really important because in the real world, distractions happen…often, and it is crucial to know how to turn your dog’s focus back to work. Jingles was very distracted initially, but once I took out the food, was completely attentive to me. Good progress. Hopefully I can learn how to handle distractions too, haha.

In White Plains, another student and I got to work in “doubles.” This is where two guide dog users are traveling together, which happens more often than you might think, once you are plugged in a community. In a double, one person (and dog) take the lead while the other team follows. At each curb, the lead switches off. I believe this is to keep balance with the dogs, but I can’t really remember. It was super muggy and getting hot fast, but Jingles and I did awesome: D in fact, when we returned the trainer and the other student (who is here for her fourth guide) both commented on how well we did! The trainer said we acted more like we were in our third week, and the student was very impressed, considering this is my first guide. I’m glad Jingles is impressing folks on route, because she is certainly testing me on down time, not listening to commands and poking at other dogs. Of course, that’s probably just because I’m not trained well enough yet to control her. I’ve remarked a few times to other students that we’re not really training the dogs, but rather, they are training us.

We went for two doubles routes total. Jingles was a little more distracted during the second route, and was also super tired because it was so both. I felt so bad for her, but she’s had plenty of time to sleep since then.

This afternoon, Jingles got a “quad” of dog bootie shoes for when it’s too hot or cold out. She was totally fine with me putting the shoes on, and walked pretty well with them on (apparently every dog’s reaction is different). But when we were heading to the hallway to practice her walking in the shoes, she took off in a sprint, slid, and fell down. Poor thing, but it was hilarious. Here we are, 9 dogs prancing down the hallway in a row wearing shoes and doing the silliest things because they’re not used to them. It was so freaking cute.

Now we are doing a new thing during meals where we rotate who is bringing their dog to the meal. Today 5 of us brought our dogs to breakfast, and the other four brought them to dinner, while we left ours in the room. It was actually rather weird not to have Jingles beside me, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the room after dinner.

We played a bit in the evening, and now she’s sleeping in her bed, and I am following soon after.

Until tomorrow…keep on truckin’! 😛