Finally, I can stop referring to my new dog as 4.0! This makes for easier typing for me!
I was paired with a female yellow lab named Treble and she is very, very sweet. She is stubborn, makes thoughtful decisions, is a very hard worker, and is the most mellow dog that I have ever had. I was so worried that she didn’t like me at first, but I can feel our relationship becoming more solidified as each day passes.
After the morning routine of park, feed, water, and park again, we went to obedience. The distraction this morning was one of our instructors’ dogs who was in a crate making lots of distracting noises. Treble did a very good job of remaining under control during that time.
After breakfast, we headed out to White Plains where I was first up on the route. My back has really been bothering me quite a bit, but even so, I’ve been pushing through although not walking the super long version of the route. Treble did an excellent job. Her approaches to curbs is on point. Since we are not using the support leash and our instructor is hanging back, it means that I’m having to place more trust in Treble, and perhaps more importantly, she is having to place more trust in me. Every treat, every ounce of physical and verbal praise builds up her confidence all the more. She slowed down quite a bit on route, but with a few voice and leash cues, I was able to get her to refocus and keep it moving.
We had another dog distraction during the route, this time because another guide dog team walked on the other side of the street. She would not listen to me, and so I was able to refocus her by going back to the basics of obedience and basically having her sit and then lie down a few times until she was paying attention to me once more.
On the way back from our route, we had a rousing game of Van Pool Karaoke once again, singing ‘Pay Phone’, ‘Dance with Somebody’, ‘This Love’, and ‘Empire State of Mind’. Who knew there were so many versions of the latter song?
After lunch, we went to three separate stations for hands-on activities. We learned about grooming our dogs, then practiced on a stuffed Juno model so that we could work on good, firm leash corrections, and finally in to Alumni hall so that we could work on clicker training. I’m sure there is a lovely explanation of what it is and that it will exceed what I can tell you about it, but I’ll try. Basically, we can teach the dogs how to find places such as ‘home’, ‘chair’, and other terms. We put our hand in a fist, place our hands on the chair, say ‘touch’, and the dog will touch our hand with their nose. When they do this, we click the clicker instantly and then feed them a treat. We eventually substitute the word ‘touch’ for ‘touch chair’, and move further and further back until we can pick up the harness and tell the dog ‘to the chair’. This is a fantastic way of having the dog target places such as the stairs, your door at home, the door to my room, the buttons of an elevator, and many other things. It is also an essential part of route building.
After that, I posted a picture of treble on Facebook and Twitter and have spent a big chunk of time reading comments about Treble.
After feeding Treble and trying to park her once again, we went to lecture. Tonight’s lecture was on how to tactically tell if the dog is peeing or pooping.
This is where I feel totally inept. Treble’s park schedule hasn’t been consistent due to her stomach bug, and every time she pees, I can never tell. Now, I’ll be able to touch her back to tell, but I admit that I’m nervous. Often, she seems like she might be peeing but she’s actually looking around at the sky or focusing on other people that she might see. Next week, we’ll start picking up their poop, which we also discussed. I’m trying not to worry about things. I know that they will fall in to place.
Tomorrow is going to be an easy day, hopefully. I have completed a week of class, so that makes me happy!! Treble’s new cute thing to do is to jump in to my lap, put her paws on my shoulders, and lean against me.
I really appreciate you all reading these posts. If you have any questions or anything you’d like for me to touch on, let me know!
Breakfast: oatmeal with raisins and slivered almonds and a side of bacon
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, and garlic bread