Monday, 7 December 2009

Guide Dog Training: Week 3

Firstly, thank you for all of your comments. Apologies for being ignorant and not replying, but rest assure I've read them all. Now, here's my third week of training.

We were using the walkie-talkies again and Calvin and I made our way to the co-op. He kept anticipating the crossing and instead of going up to it went to the side curb constantly, but I encouraged him on. We swiftly walked pass the post office again and I didn't even realise. Neither Calvin nor me can seem to figure out where it is!

Anyway, instead of going home we went to the bus stop. Fosse Park shopping was in order. The bus was packed and it's one of those tiny ones, so Calvin had to sit in the isle. He was shown around Fosse Park on the lead and I selected a few shops that I wanted him to find. After a quick hot choc he was put in harness and found each shop without any trouble and guided me brilliantly around the mass of people.

Mitch thought it important for us to work on the post office, but typically there were two dogs tethered outside in the way, which prevented us being able to practice finding the door. Oh yeah speaking of dogs on the way up I heard a guy take his dog onto the grass away from me and Calvin. Calvin stopped dead and attempted to go on the grass where the dog was and I encouraged him on, but he wouldn't budge. The other dog then started barking, which made me jump out of my skin and then Calvin was barking too. I really didn't know how to sort it out and the owner of the other dog just stood there in silence. Eventually Mitch came to rescue me and told me to carry on, but I was quite shaken up. Not being able to see and just hearing the dogs barking it doesn't sound like they're just playing harmlessly. I was waiting for one of them to attack, which may seem silly, but it freaked me out!

Moving on. We went to Fosse Park again afterwards and Calvin worked a treat finding the shops and navigating around the crazy Christmas shoppers. It was quite amusing on the bus, as I was encouraging him to get in between the seats and he decided to jump on them instead and sit like a human! It gave the grannies a good laugh anyway.

We took a trip to the vets and Calvin is now 35kg. So has lost weight, but he's still healthy. The vet gave him a good check over and he's in top form thankfully.

We then went to the park for his first free run. I was expecting him to go wild, but he was quite calm really. It's a bit annoying though that I can't free run him on my local park as we walk by it and the next nearest apparently has holes in the fence where he could escape. We need to find another park, but this will involve me relying on someone to drive us there.

My qualification walk. Bet you didn't expect that one! I thought it was all going quite smoothly until sniffy started playing up. He walked pass the crossing which he's never done, so we had to go back on ourselves and then up to the newsagents he wasn't too bad. Again he missed the post office and was a nightmare sniffing on the way home passed the brook. In short even though it was an imperfect walk we qualified, but it didn't excite me in any way!

Our last day of training apparently. We did the route to the athletics track my second home. It involves two trains and a bus journey. We missed our connection since the first train was delayed and by the time we got to the track I was starving. We nearly missed the train back since the bus got held up and I couldn't work Calvin on the trains as my trainer said there were too many people. He still can't find the doors.

I got home about 3.30 without lunch and was surprised to be told that my training was finished. I thought I'd have it at least for another week.

Our first free walk to the chip shop. Calvin sniffed for England as per usual and I'm getting tired of correcting him double handed on the lead. If he carries on he will have to wear a halty, but I've found he plays up more with it on. We got home with the chips still warm so guess it was a successful walk.

We stayed in as it poured down with rain. I was only going to do a block route with him anyway. Calvin isn't a perfect Guide Dog yet and has his sniffing issues, but before writing him off I'm going to be patient, stern and encouraging in order to fix him up. He will stop sniffing, he will find closed train doors, he will find the post office and he will find seats once I've finished with him!