Third Day Of Guide Dog ClassPosted: September 1, 2010
I got up at about 7 o’clock again this morning. The instructor and i had agreed to feed Ushi at about half 7 each morning. Or at least between half 7 or 8, but no later than 8 o’clock.
I got myself ready first, and then got Ushi fed. I realised however, that as she was half way through her food, that I had forgotten to add a bit of water to her food. I panicked and had to phone my instructor lol, as she stayed last night. She said that it was grand, and that as long as she had water near by, she would be grand, which she was. I just needed that reassurance.
After Ushi was fed and watered, I took her out to spend. She was being a little madam again, and didn’t do anything. She would only do it for the instructor.
Again, I went down for breakfast at about 8 o’clock. I had a nice bowl of cornflakes, and a glass of orange juice. I met the others down there, and the lovely restaurant manager assisted me to my table, as I still don’t get the angle of that right lol. We had a nice chat until the others arrived.
We went up to get ready for the day after that.
At about 9 o’clock, the other instructor arrived, as my instructor and the rehab worker stayed last night.
While we were waiting for the third client to come, my instructor showed me how to do more obedience. I think it is called “Basic obedience” but I’m not sure. I stood in the middle of the room with Ushi. I got her to sit, then lengthened the lead, and then was told to stand in front of her while telling her to “Wait”. With my hand, I pointed it down towards her head, with my hand nice and straight and flat. I went as far back as i could go on the lead, all the while telling her to wait. I then moved left a bit, and right a bit, before going back to the centre, and back beside her again. This is called a “Sit wait”. This is to gain her respect, and if you are carrying something, it’s to stop her knocking into you, and making you spill whatever you were carrying.
Next, I got her to lie down, by telling her “down” in a firm voice. Yesterday I had to tell her loads to go down, but today I only had to tell her a few times. This command is called the “Down stay”. You do exactly the same thing as in the sit wait, but you keep her lying down. Again this is to gain her respect. They said to only do about a 10 minute session, and not where her bed is, as her bed is a sanctuary, and not a place for working. You only do about 10 minutes, just to stop her getting bored.
While the others were being shown the obedience, I went out to the corridor, and just walked up it with my instructor, getting Ushi to sit every so often. This is to get her to sit if when we are working, I need to stop for some reason. It could be something really crazy like blowing my nose, or even stopping to chat to someone. You can then carry on your walk afterwards. We then turned back down the corridor, and went back to the lounge. We also practiced how to slow her down if she was rushing. Basically you tell her to “Steady” and really drag it out. I have to slow down too when i say that. When I am comfy with her speed, I can just go for it as usual.
After this, we just went back to the lounge for a while.
Since I wasn’t needed for a bit, the rehab worker who was staying took me down to show me the layout of the ladies changing room, and to give me an idea of the size of the pool.
When we got into the changing room, we decided that if i was ever going to come down to the pool, that as soon as I went into the changing room, I would turn left, and then walk straight forward until I either came to a bench or came to some wooden lockers. They were really easy to identify, as you just had to feel each door, which was great. The doors were really easy to identify, which was good.
The actual swimming pool was like a big rectangle, with what were described as “two ears” attached. The “ears” were like a little minny jakoozie. There was another bigger jacoozie that looked over the pool, although i later learnt that it had big massive steps down into it.
I wasn’t sure if i wanted someone to stay on the Thursday night as they only stay up until the Wednesday usually. They said if i needed anyone to stay they would be happy to do it, and the rehab worker offered to go swimming with me tomorrow, so I decided to have her stay. Plus, if I needed anything, there would be someone there.
After a while, when we came back from the pool, we went to do some “short handle” work. We took our harnesses just, and went into a more quieter part of the hotel, which had more space. We started off from the basics. By this i mean we started off as if we had never actually used the short handle. I was about to slide my foot into the “forward” position, as I had remembered how to do it, but the instructor didn’t want me to remember, and she wanted me to start from scratch. So I got back into the “Number 1” position, which is where you stand up beside the dogs shoulders, with your two feet together. Your left arm should fall back, as if you are too far forward, you will pull the dog forward. To go forward, you slide your right foot back, so that your right shoe is kind of just at the side of your heel on your left shoe. You then move your arm like you are throwing a ball, and say “forward”. It is important that you make sure that the harness is roughly in line with your leg, as I later learned that if it’s not, the dog can’t guide you propperly. I will explain that on tomorrows entry though.
We then went through turns and getting the dog to sit.
After this, it was lunch, which was a lovely tomato and spring onion soup and a glass of orange.
After lunch, I just chilled for a while, until it was time for me to go out on my first harness walk. The instructors took the third client first.
When it was my turn, we first of all met in the lounge, as the instructors needed to get my harness. The other clients had come back at this point. Before the instructors had come in, I was getting the client who had had guide dogs before to make sure my harness handle was on right. So I got Ushi to stay, and walked over to the client. He picked up my harness, and was inspecting it, when the instructors walked in. I just randomly picked up the lead, thinking it was Ushi. After all, why else would I think that it wasn’t her! The instructors were like “check your dogs”. I thought to myself “Is there something wrong with the collar?” so i checked that. That seemed to be normal. She then said again to check our dogs. I was starting to wonder what she was on about, when I realised that my dog was a bit bigger than usual. I then realised that my dog had wondered over to the other client, and his had wondered over to me. Once we found the correct dogs, I had to get my Sam Brown belt fixed, as it was totally up the creek. We then headed out to the spending pen after that, as this was where the instructors cars were.
Once we got to the car, we told the dogs to “jump” into the boot of the car. (They have those cars where the boot is massive and has seats in it). We then set off.
We just did a short walk, to see if i could follow the dog, and put into practice the turns and foot positions that I had practiced earlier. We didn’t do any obsticle work or anything. We just practiced following her. It was only about 10 or 20 minutes. I found it good, although was a bit hesitant just in case she didn’t stop. Overall, it was good though.
We got back at about 4 o’clock, or maybe half 4. We just chatted in the lounge for a bit, before it was feeding time, and one of the retired office staff came to stay the night.
Dinner was at 6 o’clock again. I went wild and had the old favourite, cod, chips, and mushy peas. It was so nice, that I have had it nearly every night since lol.
The retired member of the office staff asked if I would like to go swimming. Of course I said yes! We got into the swimming pool first. She pushed a button to make the jets come, and it was massive! Afer about an hour, we went into the main jacoozie. I was told to step down, so thinking it was a normal step, I did just that, only to realise that they were slightly deeper than I thought lol. It was just nice to sit and relax and chat.
Before we went down for our swim, I took Ushi out to spend. There was a woman standing at her car. Ushi gave a very low growl. I told her no, of course. I was very very worried though about saying to the instructors in the morning. I knew this shouldn’t happen, and I was concerned in case they took the dog or something. They just said that it was just her being a little unsure, and I was right to tell her no. That was a relief.
After my swim, I took Ushi out for her last spend, with no growling, and then I just wrote more of the blog, before going to bed.
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