Encouraging Aftercare

I got a call yesterday from the instructor asking if i wanted her to come down today.  I explained that that would be really helpful, and then explained about her stopping loads and all.   She said she would see what Ushi was up to.  Orriginally she was just coming down for a regular aftercare.
So at 10 o’clock this morning, we set out bright eyed and bushy tailed.  We agreed that the instructor would only step in if I really really really needed it.
When we got to our first down kerb, that was when the problems started.  She was very slow to go right.  There is a barking dog we go past all the time, but she is usually grand with it.  When we got to our first road crossing, she wouldn’t go forward at all.  My instructor then came, and told me to really be positive with my voice.  Yes I would correct if she needed it, but basically to be much more positive.  She then quickly got on with it.
The instructor says that when she stops for no apparent reason, to give a little jerk forward on the lead with your right hand, and again talk in a really positive voice.
I found the walk flowed a hell of alot more, and she just walked perfectly.
The instructor says that she was probably stopping because she remembered there was an obsticle.  I didn’t think that would bother her, but apparently they will remember.
The instructor also says that she will pick up if i am frustrated or anything, so just to make sure that the walk is fun for her, but that you are firm at some points if you need to be.
There was one point where I was telling Ushi to “let’s go”,  but you should only use the “forward” after a stop.  It’s either “forward” or “straight on” for when she is moving.
When we got back to the house, I explained that I had baught Ushi a new toy, and that we had a good pull on it loads.  She says that that could also help her when working too.  I explained that I was thinking of going up to Belfast sometime before christmas, but she says that it would be better for Ushi if she was left at home.  She would enjoy that much more than if she had to contend with busy streets of Belfast.  She says that I can start taking Ushi on the lead out to more places in town.  Just to get her used to the area for when we do start working it.   I can either keep the harness on or just have the lead.  I think I will just keep the harness on though.  I must make sure that dad brings me up to the correct kerbs, and that he tells me what way we are turning etc.  (I will be doing it with my dad).  He is not actually teaching me the route, just preparing me for when we work it, and to make Ushi a bit more comfy with doing more work further afield.  The instructor says there is no rush though.  What we can do is I can work Ushi up to the shop, and then take dads arm.  That will be cool.
I can’t believe that all I needed to do was put on a more positive voice!  I was getting really worried over nothing as usual!  I really hope that this week is much more positive than last week.  Last week was deffinetly a rough one.  Thanks so much for all your encouragement.  I know it will come right in time, it’s just getting there that’s the hard part.

7 Comments on “Encouraging Aftercare”

  1. Jen says:

    That's great you had a chance to get the kerb problem sorted quickly enough. Sometimes the solution can be really simple.

  2. Torie says:

    I didn't think it would have been that simple! I always think too much into things though lol. I wonder what other problems she will throw up over the next couple of months. Xxxx.

  3. Carin says:

    I had a similar problem once, and my field rep said "when you say forward, it sounds more like a negotiation. Say it like you mean it!" and once I did that, all was good. It's amazing how simple it can be.

  4. Torie says:

    Well today went good until the stops again! There were some kids playing football across the road too, so I was all prepared for a distraction. I didn't distract until the last minute, as I wanted to see if praise would work. Had to kind of force the lead forward. I don't want a week like last week! Xxx.

  5. Terri says:

    you can always say hup up lets go, when your walking along and she tries to stop as i do and my instructer has never told me off but yes your right when you stop at kerbs it is forward or straight on after that.You can always use the harness handle as well to sort of nudge her back, i do that when Uma sniffs things or you can use the lead as your doing and pull it forward to encourage her on.

  6. Michelle says:

    another thing you could do when you get frustrated is to imagine that Ushi is a three-year-old child. I know that's silly, but when I pretend that Troy is a toddler, it really gets me focused on being positive and firm at more appropriate times, because that's how I'd be with a three-year-old. Also if you treat work time like fun while at the same time emphasising that we're going to the shops and you need to stay safe and all that, then Ushi should listen to you more. Dogs love it when they're constantly motivated with the idea that the next thing is going to be really exciting to participate in! Then if she gets naughty of course being firm will hold more weight because Ushi will realise that you were all exciteable before, so if you're cranky now, it means something has gone wrong. She'll be more likely to understand what you want from her this way. You've sort of got to balance it out: positives and fun for good behaviour and good working, keeping you safe and all that, firm and stern if she's acting up and not working as effectively as she should, but as soon as she reverts back to her lovely guide dog behaviour, back to the positives and praise again! Pretty much if you feel a rough day coming on, jsit on the floor with Ushi, give her a good massage and belly rub, put her harness on and tell her that we're going for a really lovely walk now, all with a nice, calm but fun voice, then just go for a walk and keep that up if you know what I mean? Then show excitement when she does the right things during the walk, encouragement to keep her keeping up the good work, then before you know it the day will fly by on you! You'll end up with the biggest smile on your face and the most waggy dog in the world. No kidding…Michelle

  7. Michelle says:

    Sorry, I keep making spelling mistakes when I write comments lol! I was meanto write "just sit on the floor…" and hopefully there aren't other spelling mistakes that make it hard to understand my comment.

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