10th Day Of Home Training

It was quite a crisp morning outside today when I took Ushi out for her morning spend.

The instructors rang me at about 10 o’clock, just to say that they had left the harness outside the door. This was so that Ushi wouldn’t see them, and to give me a bit of confidence in myself and the route, and my confidence in her.

As I was heading out the door, I stepped on the harness lol. Oops. I was sort of dreading the walk a bit because I wouldn’t have the instructors, but as soon as I gave that “forward” command, we were off.

There was one point where she got really really distracted by a little dog running about on the grassy bit beside me. She was really wild. I told her to “pay attention” and corrected her with the harness. She still was pritty out of control, so I took the lead, and chucked back on the lead, telling her to “leave it” and “straight on”. I held the lead in my right hand for a while afterwards, just to make sure that she didn’t get distracted again. My instructor told me after the walk that that will be as distracted as she will get, where she is really excited and pulling and that, but she won’t be any more distracted if you know what I mean. That was good to know.

The rest of the walk carried on as normal, until she got a bit more distracted by something, but it wasn’t as major as the first distraction.

We just walked on as normal after that, and I even got offered sighted assistance at one point. It is this part further up from a roundabout. I was just standing there, waiting for it to go quiet. A woman with a buggy came up and asked if i needed to get help crossing the road. I just said that I was just waiting for it to go quiet, but thanks anyway. As I walked across the road, I thanked her again, and went on my way.

At this next part, I think I told Ushi to go too far “In”, as i could feel the edge of the wall with my foot. I then just walked on, and we found our straight line.

I got to the shop shortly afterwards. I went in and found the counter, and then waited a minute until I was sure that the instructors weren’t there wanting me to stay in the shop or whatever, and then told Ushi to “find the door”. We then headed back the way we came, with no incident whatsoever.

The only thing was that when we were near home, Ushi couldn’t find it, even though I asked her to “find home” and “where was it” and all. We went round the corner again, so i stopped, and did a “back” turn, while still asking her to “find home”. She stopped outside a door, so I encouraged her to “find the door”, only to realise that there was a fence or something to the side of the door. I thought that maybe the instructors had put something there, but they told me later they hadn’t. So I did a “back” turn, and went up to the kerb. I was so tempted to ask the instructors for help, but I thought “No i’ll work this out”. So I did a “left in front” which is where you stand facing her and do the “over” command, and then told her to “find home” again. We eventually found it lol. The instructors said that if mum pokes her head out to let me know if i am going past the door or something. She is also going to get me windchimes for the door, so that I will know if that is ours. No one else has windchimes up, so that will be good. They say to give her a treat each time we get to “Home”, and then she will deffinetly get me there.

It was an awesome walk, and they said that I handled Ushi perfectly, and that I was able to keep her moving after the distractions, which was good.

I chilled for a bit, until about 12 o’clock when we were heading out for our second walk. The harness was left on the door again. I managed not to step on it this time lol.

We just did the matching walk again. It went without a hitch, and I remembered to do my “left behind” that I forgot yesterday! On this mornings walk, she went up a path that I didn’t want her to go up, but she didn’t do this on the second walk which was great.

I phoned mum once I was on our road just to let her know that I was on the way, and could she stick her head out. We found it no problem!!

It was a really great walk again. They said that technically they could qualify me today, but want me to do those two routes again for a couple more days just to make sure I am totally comfy with everything. So hopefully by Wednesday they said that I should be qualified!! Oh yeah! At the start of the walks I felt kind of worried, but now i’m like “let’s go”! It’s so hard to beliee how far I have come since the start of class to now! I have Ushi for nearly 4 weeks already!

When we got back to the house, the instructor showed me how to put the Halty on. Basically, you put the spongy part on her nose, then clip it round her neck like a collar. You then clip it to her collar, and finally you take the lead off her collar and attach it to the halty. This means that she can’t really pull when she is going for a free run. I only use it until we get to wherever I am free running her. They have allowed me to free run her over the weekend. I am going to have someone sighted with me for the first while, just to make sure that i am cool with getting to where we free run etc. We are going to change the route slightly as we pass the park on our matching walk, so we don’t want her thinking that she is going for a free run each time we do that walk.

I am going to take her for a run on Saturday or sunday. I am thinking more Sunday, so that she is nice and relaxed before work on Monday. Plus it’s great getting in touch with nature on a Sunday!

It was a great end to a week, and I still can’t believe how far I have come. From those very early days, to now. I am not saying that Ushi is perfect, but as I get more confident, I find she doesn’t get so distracted, and whenever she is distracted, I can handle it. Each day our partnership is growing I feel. Maybe i’m wrong by saying this so early on, but I am not as nervous about qualifying as I was before. It prob will be the first time I do it on my own, but tecnically I am doing it already!

Maybe once I am qualified, Ushi can introduce herself on the blog! Depends if she is a good girl lol.

Have a good weekend, and hopefully the weather stays good for the free run!


11 Comments on “10th Day Of Home Training”

  1. Michelle says:

    Hey, you're not wrong at all. It's actually to be rare to be wrong in thinking that your partnership will grow and stuff like that. Things would have to be really out of proportion, like Ushi not learning from her mistakes and the same for you, and stuff like that. So honestly, you're both doing great! The fact that you handled her on your own today! My God Torie this is like your first time with your own guide dog without an instructor at home to help you and to think that you could work it out without help, all those other mistakes and somewhat bad knocks really paid off! I can't wait till you're qualified now. after that, do whatever comes to mind, go out and everything like that. You'll most likely make mistakes and so will Ushi for sure, but all you have to do is pretend that an instructor is behind you lol! But this time, be the instructor and think "Hey didn't I teach you to tell the dog to sit when she's pulling towards someone?" etc. It really works lol! It won't feel so strange to be like this after a while, and then the day will come when you will realise that you've spent the whole day doing your own thing and it'll dawn on you that you and Ushi have done a day's work without a second thought. That's hard to explain, you'll just have to experience it for yourself! Oh, and please let us know about that day when it comes? It's fascinating to hear a new dog team say that they didn't even realise that six hours have gone by and they've been working without even having to think of putting one foot in front of the other. It's actually like knowing how to walk, is the best way to explain it.Sorry for the rambles here, I'm sooooooooo bloody fricken excited for you!XOXOXOMichelle

  2. Carin says:

    Wow. You're almost there. It seems like yesterday that you arrived in the hotel. Have a peaceful weekend.

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Torie, I've been trying to find a blogger by the name of terri, because when I clicked on her link it only showed up as her profile but there was no link to her blog. Are you able to give me the blog address or is it a private blog? Thanks,Michelle

  4. Torie says:

    I know!!! Class seems so far away now!!! I will have been working with her for four weeks on Friday!! Wow.Michelle don't worry about the ramblement-I love it!!! I found I could play with my voice alot more when the instructors weren't behind me, and really go way out on the "good girls!". If someone had even mentioned that I would be qualified by this Wednesday, I would have been saying "are you mad?" but now….bring it on! Providing there are no more things I need help with!! I think the more confident I get, the easier it will be. I was worried when they said that they were going to leave the harness outside my door, but I told myself that I needed to do it eventually, and now look at me! Hopefully the next couple of days will go alright.Take care, and i'm nearly finished reading your posts! Xxxxx.

  5. Torie says:

    Terry did have a blog, but she deleted it, and only has her profile now. Wish she kept up with her blog though!! Hope this helps. Xxx

  6. Terri says:

    Hi Michelle, Sorry i no longer have a blog. I got some lovely comments from people but also some nasty ones, it took up alot of my time so i stopped blogging this was some time last year.Feel free to add me to facebook on Terri O'Shaughnessy as far as i know i'm the only one but if not then let me know and i can add you instead.I have a yellow golden retriever x lab called Uma and i trained last August.

  7. Ro says:

    Dude, I totally teared up when I read this!! Then I had to go get caught up. Wow. You and Ushi are doing amazing!!! I think it's great that things are clicking already. I remember when I started feeling that confidence. It's like, oh, yeah, totally. It's all good now lol! Wow, I'm just so thrilled to read how great you're doing! And man, do I get confused. Your commands and such are so different from ours. But you know what? I really like how they do it. I really like that you have home training. I am very lucky to have an instructor to help me at home and with new routes and stuff. I would have been lost without him. So I really like that you get the instructors at home. How awesome to get trained and build your confidence in an area you're familiar with. I'm so happy for you! Jayden can't wait to hear from his Irish cousin Ushi. 🙂

  8. Michelle says:

    Message to teri: It's good that you're doing very well with your guide dog! unfortunately, I used to use Facebook but don't use it anymore, because Jaws isn't working with it as well as it used to because of the site layout changes and stuff.Torie, I'm glad you're getting it as a guide dog handler! I knew you'd get there. It always feels like you're never going to make it when you're having a bad moment, but when you're there it's like oh my God am I really a guide dog user now? It took me a little while to get used to the fact that I'd be guided by Ushi's Australian cousin Troy for the next eight to ten years. This is really my guide dog lol! Actually, Troy is a New zealander, but he's an Australian citizen now. He became one at eight weeks old.I'm sure when you qualify there'll be a bit of disbelief at first, like, what the hell just happened. I was dreaming of getting a guide dog, now is this mine? Six months later you'll still have Ushi with you and it'll click like, ok! I'm stuck with her now, but she's my guide dog and this is what I've dreamt of for years! Now it's no longer a dream. It's an amazing experience I say.I remember when I used to fantasise about my guide dog: He or she would be really fluffy and soft, and I'd be like the rest of the guide dog handlers who sit with their dogs at their feet with cups of coffee in their hands or in front of them. For me, it would be my idea of sitting next to my dog with whatever drink I felt like, whether soft drink, coffee or whatever, then I'd be drinking and cuddling and patting my dog at the same time! And guess what? I'm now living that fantasy! Unbelievable but it's the truth. A couple of days ago I sat on the floor, and I held my cup of coffee with my right hand while patting Troy with my left hand, and then I'd lay my left arm over his back and stroke along his flank. I'd put the cup on the floor, give him a good hug and that's how it was for the next half an hour. My guide dog is the best present I've ever received, and when it dawns on you that Ushi is yours, well. It's your imagination of how you'll react to this realisation.

  9. Torie says:

    Awwww ro, i didn't mean to make you cry lol. I can't imagine life without a guide dog! Is this normal?I mean if you need someone to talk to on your route, you can just talk to the dog! Whereas if you talked to the cane……people would be calling the men in the white coats.I am so glad that we get the instructors too. Don't know what I would do if i found out that i qualified as soon as i left the hotel! I would have crapped myself!Take care, xxx

  10. Ro says:

    That's not weird at all that you can't imagine life without a guide dog hehe. I can't either. Looking back on it, since we qualified when we left school, I wasn't scared, because I knew I had a great O & M here who did training at the guide dog school. So I knew I wouldn't be alone once I got home. I was excited to get home lol. But if I hadn't had him? If I was coming home from school to no one? Yikes! And I misted up because I was happy for you hehe.

  11. Torie says:

    Oh that's grand. I would hate if i caused you to cry sad tears!I remember one of the days at the hotel, my instructors took Ushi to get weighed, and it was so empty!! It was only for about half an hour, but it really did feel hugely empty!I think we oe alot to our instructors, and everyone involved with the guide dog. Especially the puppy walkers and all. Without them…….we'd have no guide dogs!Take care, xx

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