11th Day Of Guide Dog Class

I figured I’d write this day now, and then I can go back and write the other days.

It was up at 7 o’clock as usual, to prepare for the day, and Ushi’s half 7 feeding and watering. I still can’t believe that the weeks have flown in so quickly! Hard to believe that it is our last night here!

We headed down for breakfast again at 8 o’clock. We had come up with an idea latst night. The restaurant manager kept asking us throughout the week when we were bringing our dogs down for him to see. We came up with the idea that we wouldn’t take the dogs into the restaurant itself, but would take the dogs to the door so that he could see them. We had breakfast first. The only reason we didn’t take the dogs in was because we hadn’t learnt how to do that, and didn’t want to disappoint the instructors lol.

I had my usual for breakfast, which was cornflakes and a glass of orange juice. We then treated ourselves to a lovely cup of tea.

After we got ready, we braught the dogs down. We went down one at a time. It was the least we could do for the restaurant manager, without getting into bother with our instructors. Not that we would have, of course.

Well Ushi sat quietly the whole time while she was being fussed over. We chatted for ages just about how good she was and all. Her tail was wagging away, which is always good! Apparently, she kept looking at me the whole time too, just watching me.

After that, I headed back up to my room to get ready for the day. Again, I wasn’t going out until about half 10, so I just chilled for a while after speaking to the instructors just to be sociable.

After they had gone, I did a session of the basic obedience. Again, she did fabulously.

After this, I just chilled in my room, and listened to the radio.

I took Ushi out to spend at about half 10, before going out on our first walk of the day. She hadn’t done anything then, so I just went on the walk anyway.

The walk went rather well. I didn’t have to correct her that harshly which was good. There was one point where we had to take her harness off, as I was being shown how to do a good harness correction, and we didn’t want her to feel like she was being corrected when she had done nothing wrong. Basically, you push the handle forward, and really jerk back. It is basically as effective as a lead correction. You would do it if she just wasn’t paying attention, or just being a madam. You could even do it if she wasn’t going at your speed, and was pulling alot. You would just say “steady” in a really harsh voice.

We walked on after that just as normal.

At one point, we went into a caffe, to practice what you would do when going into a coffee shop, or anywhere where you wanted her under a table. I worked her along the street, and then told her “In and find the door”. I then dropped my handle, and took my instructors arm. When we got to our table, I took off her harness, (Ushi’s, that is lol) and sat down on the bench. I then told her to “come”, and then told her to “down” and she lay right down. I asked why you would take the harness off, and apparently it is just to make her settle more quickly. You keep a hold of the lead though. You can eat away as you normally would in a coffee shop, so that is good.

After we had finished our drinks, the instructor went up to pay. She said I could wait until she came back to get Ushi’s harness on, depending on how confident I felt. I thought I would give it a shot. I told Ushi to “Upstand” which got her into a standing position. I then got her out by saying “come” and got her to “wait” while I got her harness on. I then turned round to face the direction of the door, and told her “forward” and “up to the door”. I then got her straight up to the step, as she treated it like a kerb. I then told her forward, and could either get her to sit as soon as she stepped off the step, and then done a right or left turn, but to save time, It is just as easy to walk on a couple of steps, and then tell her “In” and “find the way”. She was grand. She walked along quite nicely, until we were nearly back to the car. She suddenly stopped in the middle of the pavement, and sat. My instructor said that she was trying to spend. We didn’t want her doing that at all, since I had given her plenty of time to go before the walk. We got her to lie down, thankfully before she had done anything. We waited for a minute before moving off again. I asked the instructor how she knew that she was going to spend, and the way she was sitting just told her. Apparently she was pulling slightly to the side kerb to go, which is where they will go if they need to go out on a walk, but I just thought she was going around an obsticle. When we had her lie down for a few minutes, she was grand. It wasn’t that far from the car thankfully. I asked if she would go in the car, but she won’t go where she lies apparently, and they don’t actually like doing it out in the street.

It was lunch after this. My instructor put Ushi in the spending pen to see if she would go, but she didn’t.

A recently qualified Guide dog mobility instructor joined us for lunch. She just wanted to see what the hotel was like for whenever she would be doing classes.

After lunch, we were all going out together, as we would be doing a free run afterwards. We were held up though from going by a certain madam. I had to have a massive play with her and make her run around the room, just to make her get the urge to actually go whenever we took her out again to spend. Eventually she did go though, so that was a relief, as I knew that she wouldn’t go on the walk. I slipped into get her play collar, and wrapped it in a paper towel, so that she wouldn’t hear it.

We were going to do a walk first. I sat in the car for a while while the other two clients went. It was my turn next.

First of all, whenever we set off, I could feel a huge obsticle in front of me. I could just sense a solid object. I was really hesitant to go, but they just told me to appear confident, so that she would think I was, so that she wouldn’t lose confidence. Whenever I hesitated, she was more likely to get distracted. So we walked on. Everything went well, apart from at that obsticle.

I got really hung up on that fact, as I could hear the instructors talking behind me whenever I hesitated. I thought that they were saying something really bad lol. As soon as I got back to the car, I burst into tears, as I thought that because I hesitated, it could have really bad implications for me. I explained that I wanted to get everything right and all. The instructor was great. She explained that I can always slow Ushi down, and tell her to “wait” until I catch my breath. She said that Ushi’s job was to walk me around obsticles, and that It wasn’t my fault that she was a bit stubborn at times. She also said how good I was, and that I listened to every instruction. I eventually cheered up until I got to where we were going to free run the dogs. I just burst into tears again, because on Sunday when we took the dogs, she went really mad, and I found it really hard to control her. My instructor was going to put a “halty” on her, which is like a little thing that goes over her nose, to stop her pulling. She asked if I wanted to go free running, and I said yes. I wanted to do it because I enjoyed it, and that I just found it really relaxing. The instructor also said that I had only been working with her for a week, so not to be too hard on myself.

Once I had composed myself, we got out of the car. The other instructor came over and gave me a hug and all. I thought I was going to start crying again lol.

We walked along to the park, and Ushi was grand. It took us about 10 minutes to get into the park on Sunday, but she just walked nicely even though the other client was in front of me. I liked it alot! She walked nicely because we had the “Halty” on her, that I mentioned the other day.

We spent a good hour roughly at the park. The dogs had a wonderful time, and I found myself brightening up too.

We got back to the car, and instead of putting the dogs in the boot, we learnt how to get in and out of cars with the dogs. Basically, you open the door, and put your right leg and bum in first. You tell the dog to “wait” as you are getting in. You keep your left leg outside the car, and encourage the dog to “come”. You then get your left leg in behind her, and encourage her to “sit”. That is all you do. When getting out, you would put your left leg out first, while telling the dog to wait. You would then tell the dog to “come” and wait as you got out. That would again be all you would do.

I learnt that if you go for a free run, you must wait at least two hours before you feed her, as if you feed her straight away, then her stomach can twist, which can be fatal. You have to wait two hours after feeding her too before a free run.

When we got back to the hotel, I stuck her in my room, and then went down to the lounge for a chill. The instructors were packing some of the stuff away that they had braught with them. They gave me my “health book” and a fleese for her to lie on during the day, like down stairs, or at college or something. It is just like a mat. They said to let her lie on it during the day, or have it as an option as well as her bed.

I just had dinner, which again was codd, chips and mushy peas, followed by a chocolate fudge cake. We both were ready to bust after that lol.

I fed Ushi and spent her, and have been just sitting in my room since really writing todays blog. Hard to believe that It is our last night! I really really really enjoyed the company and craic, and the awesomeness of the district team!

We are all going home tomorrow morning at about half 9. We might do a walk first though.

I thought I would write this now, and then write the other days later. I am going to pack up the computer now. I will save this in draft until I post the other days, as it might be confusing then. I have really enjoyed class, and hope you have enjoyed reading my experiences too. Sorry if this was boring. I will post tomorrows half day tomorrow!!!

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