The Past Few DaysPosted: October 8, 2010
I haven’t updated in a while, as I was just doing the same old thing. I’ll write it all in one post though.
On Monday morning, the instructors came out at about 10 o’clock. I said that I wanted to do the route to the shop, as I still felt a bit unsure of the crossings and that. So we agreed and off we went.
The walk went alright. When we got back to the house, they told me they wanted to see it “flow” a bit more. Basically because i stopped before getting her to go “over” and continue on the same straight line (for outdenting for example), I stopped as if it was a propper turn. This could cause her to get distracted, the longer I stood there. They also said that they want to leave me for a few days just until I got my confidence up. The only way I would get confident doing the shop route would be to actually do it. They wanted it to flow, and they wanted me to gain confidence. They said they couldn’t really progress if I wasn’t confident on the basic routes.
Apart from that, the walk was great.
Before we went on the walk,however, Ushi was being a total madam. I had put her back on the lead for spending, as over the weekend, she had started to dig again. Well she just stood there. I don’t think she had gone for her last spend on Sunday night either, as at about 5 o’clock that morning, she was up pacing around loads. I just pretended that I didn’t know she was up, and she soon lay down. The instructors don’t want me to get up with her in the middle of the night, as they will quickly learn that they will get up at that time. This will then cause them to start to hold on until that time. So unless she has the runs or something, she shouldn’t really go out to spend after her last opportunity at night, which is at around half 9.
So I was panicking in case she did an accident on the walk, but she was clean.
I mentioned the digging and all to the instructors, and they have said there is nothing really they can do, apart from just really shouting at her when she does try to dig. I have also started to actually walk her down on the lead to where the grass of our garden starts (it’s concrete for quite a long part, and then the grass is at the bottom). This way I can catch her more easily, whereas before I let her off from the house, so she could go behind the hedge and start to dig. As soon as I let her off the lead she went no problem!! Total madam!
The instructors also suggested that she is worked at least twice a day. It doesn’t matter if she is only worked once a day, but it would need to be a good leg stretch of a route, rather than just a 10 minute walk. That might help her to get rid of her built up energy, which means less digging, and a more relaxed doggy. A free run would also do that, but they say that you shouldn’t really free run the dog more than once a week for the free run, as they will then be only thinking about when they will get their next run.
So I chilled for a while, until the next walk. I just decided to do the matching walk.
Our walk was alright, until the corner at the church, opposite the park, where she usually dawdles along. She was nearly at a complete stop. I had to really hold the lead out in front of me to get her to go. I didn’t have to drag her, but it was close to that point. Of course she happened to see a dog across the road, so I could hardly get her moving at all! A kind gentleman came across the road, and offered to help me. I got Ushi to sit, and explained that she was very distracted. He then said that he would let me know when the dog was in the park, so that I could keep going. That was nice of him. I just kept Ushi sitting and waiting until she had calmed down. His little kid must have been a bit scared of Ushi though, as she kept asking her dad to take her across the road. So I said that Ushi was a special dog, and she wouldn’t hurt her. I then went on my way.
Ushi decided to be rather distracted for most of the way home after that, so I really had to get onto her. She was just being a total madam!!!
I don’t think she seems to like Mondays lol, as they seem to be our worst days lol. The past couple of weeks, all the bad things seem to happen on a Monday lol.
I just chilled for the rest of the evening.
On Tuesday, I decided to do the route to the shop again. It was grand, and as I crossed over my zebra crossings, I thought “I just crossed those with no problem! Yay!”. We had no problems again until we got to near the church. There is quite a bit of rough ground, with some slopes down. I stumbled a bit at one part, and stepped on one of Ushi’s paws. She scooted to the right, so I got her to wait, and dropped my handle, to reapproach it, all the while telling her it was okay. I felt awful! Luckily we weren’t far from a down kerb, so when we reached it, I bent down and gave Ushi a big pat. Poor girl.
I put on a more excited voice when I got to the corner where she always dawdles. She soon quickened her step!!! I just told her to “find the way” in that “find home” voice. She was a little distracted on the way home, but it was manageable.
I only did the one walk for the rest of the week-I know i was a slacker!
On Tuesday night at about half 2 in the morning (I was in bed), my sister said that Ushi was at the door of my room (I share with my sister), looking at it, and whining. Why was she doing this I wonder? I didn’t hear her at all. Normally she paces when she needs to spend, which I ignore unless she would happen to be ill, but she apparently just whined. Pritty strange.
Wednesday was “bin day”, so lots of obsticles to avoid. It was probably the best day of the week. She avoided loads of obsticles, and stopped at each one. Good girl!! She even slowed down at each bit of rough ground or slope lol since i stumbled yesterday. I didn’t think it would have affected her so much. So it was like “straight on”, “good girl to wait”. This went on for a while, as there are rough bits of ground for quite a few steps. Poor girl. At least she was being cautious though which was good.
Ushi was hardly distracted today too!!! It felt awesomely awesome. I really enjoyed it. I enjoy all my walks, but this one was special.
At one point I was all prepared to do an “off kerb” obsticle. There was a car parked, so I couldn’t go forward. I had just got Ushi up to the kerb, when the driver of the car decided to start the thing!! Damn it, I was all ready for an off kerb!! I got help around it, which I appreciated.
I didn’t do much for the rest of the day, apart from depriing my girl of water! I have a pair of slipper socks, which sit on the table next to where Ushi’s water is. I went to empty the water, as I always do just after the night time spend. I picked up the water bowl, and found my socks sticking out of the top of it! What was worse was that they were like sponges, and they just absorbed all the water! Damn it!!! No wonder I hadn’t heard her drinking at all. I felt absolutely horrible! I filled her a bowl just to ease my mind, but she didn’t drink it at all. I felt like a terrible mother!!
Yesterday wasn’t as good though. First of all she got distracted by a little puppy half way down our street on the route to the shop. I was able to sort that out, then a guy came over and said “my car is here”. That was grand as Ushi had stopped. So I quietly told her straight on, but then the guy was like “straight on, straight on, come on.”. I knew she couldn’t go straight on, as we were close to the kerb. He then was like “maybe if i walk away she’ll do it”, so I said she might. I think he was having a huff then, cause i heard his door close lol. I got her round the other side of it no problem. It kind of pissed me off though. She was slightly distracted today. She still hesitated at every little slope though which was good!! Nice to see she was being cautious!
Today the other instructor arrived just to check how we were getting on. It was my last day on Monday seeing my instructor until after christmas, as she is off to do more of her training to become a fully qualified guide dog mobility instructor. We just did the matching walk again. I told the instructor about how we were getting on, and about how Ushi would hesitate at each slope and rough piece of ground. I also told her about what I was trying on the corner opposite the park, and she said that was fine. She wanted me to try different things.
Ushi must have known that the instructors were about, as on our second last down kerb, she would normally go straight across the road. Instead, she took me into another estate! I thought I was in the guiding road, but I wasn’t. I just stood there after trying to get her to go “in”, but then realised i was lost. I phoned my instructor, or was about to, when she came over. She explained that it could have been that there was a cat or anything that had distracted her ever so slightly. She was very slow to sit at the down kerb too, so that wasn’t good. When we got to the kerb again, we found out that there is a speed bump. I want to cross just in the middle of the bump, as crossing to the right would take me across the guiding road, and crossing to the left would take me into another estate. When we got back to my house, we put her in the car, and did the part on the short handle. Wow how useful that thing is. We went through it loads of times, as we wanted to get it right. We also did if we had gone too far and that round the corner. If we had done that loads with Ushi, it could have confused her alot, so she got to lie on a nice new bed lol in the back of the car.
The instructor says she can see improvements in my confidence, but wants to leave me for a couple of weeks, just to make sure i’m totally totally comfy with the three routes. Then she will come back and we will learn a route to a coffee shop so that I can meet my friends for a chat and lunch maybe!
So hopefully nothing too terrible happens. The instructor says that if i have any problems, I shouldn’t be afraid to text her or anything.
I have just been chilling ever since. I was quite tired today for some reason. Let’s hope next week won’t be too bad!