A Visit From The District Team Manager

I know that title might sound scarey to some, but it really isn’t….

I said in
A previous post,
That we were having problems with Ushi stopping loads on our route. I decided that enough was enough, and phoned the district team yesterday. I explained what was happening, and the guide dog mobility instructor didn’t know what the problem was. She said she would have a chat to some of her colleagues, to see what was up. She rang me back a couple of minutes later, and said that the district team manager would come out tomorrow (today) to see what the craic was. I was slightly nervous at this fact, but the manager is also a guide dog mobility instructor which is good. It still made me nervous though, since he was the manager and all, and I guess I was worried about what could be happening with Ushi, and that I was just worried in case I was doing something wrong or anything.

So I got up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day today. I got Ushi nice and spruced up too, giving her a really good groom just to make her look lovely. I groomed her last night too, so she must have been wondering what was up, since I usually groom every other day.

So at about half 10, the manager arrived. I will call him the instructor from now on, since he still is an instructor, just one who also happens to manage the team! Ushi got very very hyper, and started jumping up at him (she hasn’t really done that before). He said to just ignore that, but correct her when she did that. I think because he was a man (she reeeeeeally likes men) that that was why she did that.

I told him exactly what the problem was, and he said that some dogs do stop sometimes. He said that it probably wasn’t my fault, (which I was so glad to hear!). She was being a pain though and trying to lie away from me. He said to give her a jerk back, then when she was where I wanted her, just to praise her and ignore her. He then asked what Ushi did when I corrected her, and I said that sometimes she did a little whiny thing. It was hard to explain.

So we decided to actually go for a walk. I didn’t really know how far we would get to be honest, so decided to play it by ear. When we get out of the house, we would usually go to the kerb, but the instructor suggested that we just do a right turn as soon as the path started to widen as this was when we were out of our driveway. So we did our right turn, and we had a stoppage. The instructor suggested that I lengthen the lead, keeping it relaxed, and giving it a flick forward, which got her to go. She had her bounce back in her step. I managed to get her to do the big walk!!!!! I was so happy!!! She did try to stop, but we weren’t waiting as long as we were before!!! I hope though that she doesn’t decide to do that whole stopping thing tomorrow like last week though!

The instructor says that it won’t get better overnight, and that if it continues, then that they might have to encourage me to use maybe a treat or that, just to keep her going, and if she is getting bored. He will discuss it with the other instructors first though which is good. He also said that when I am telling her to “pay attention” I usually flick the handle down. He said that that isn’t really effective on that type of harness. I said to him that I like that harness, and he said they weren’t going to change the type I used which was good. It was just because that handle is at the side of the harness she might not feel it as well. He said though to keep doing what I was doing, and that I could even get her up on to one of the up kerbs, and that I could drop my handle, and get her to come in beside me and really really go to town with the praise. He said that would keep her motivation up too.

I was so pleased though. He is going to chat to my other instructor, and I will see her sometime next week anyway.

I am so pleased with how today went, and that I wasn’t doing anything wrong which was a huge huge relief.

Here’s hoping the next few days are better!!!!

On a side note:we are getting our kitchen done up after christmas. They are basically extending the kitchen, and knocking down a wall and that to do that. I am just worried about how the noise of the men working will effect the pooch. Any ideas? Have any of you had your house worked on with a guide dog? Thanks!

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5 Comments on “A Visit From The District Team Manager”

  1. Jen says:

    That's good you got the manager to come and have a walk with you. Your better getting it sorted out right away, and at least it will stop you thinking its your fault.I don't think you'll have anything to worry about with the noise. You could always just take her out for a bit, maybe go meet a friend or go somewhere you can both relax and she doesn't have to work in an area she's not familiar with, like a cafe or something. You could just go on one of your walks and tire her out then she'll sleep through the noise.

  2. Torie says:

    I hope that tomorrow she doesn't decide to be silly though!!! If there is an obsticle, then she should slow down, not dead stop. Not gonna hold my breath though until after I have done my walk tomorrow.The work men when they come in January are meant to be there from half 8 til 5! Crazy time like. I'm dreading it to be honest. They're knocking down a wall and such, and I need to take Ushi out the back!! Luckily there is a front entrance that I can use to get into the garden at the back though so I might have to use that. Total pain in the arse though!! They apparently have a house to finish which will take 5 weeks so they could do it like 2 weeks before christmas, or in January. I'm hoping it's the latter. Xx.

  3. Jen says:

    If its January you could just come and visit me Problem solved!

  4. Michelle says:

    I think Ushi should be fine. She'll get used to the noise. But if you need to just take her out from time to time, sit at a park, at a cafe or friend's place or something. When I'm out I leave Troy in harness all day and he does fine with it. I have heard of some dogs not coping very well with staying in harness though, so pretty much just keep taking Ushi out all the time until she does get used to the harness on her, and give her some little treats sometimes to make her feel appreciated. I know praising her works because you've written about it, but sometimes the dogs just want more incentive. That's no fault of yours, it's just how dogs work unfortunately. Sometimes I joke that Troy would rather the food than me, but I've just accepted that Troy is a food dog and that my voice just isn't enough for him sometimes.I don't think your dog will need to be retrained, but if the problems continue, they'll probably want to retrain her within six to twelve months, something like that. But if she is retrained, you're better off letting the manager take her for a week sooner rather than later, knowing how hard it is to have a dog taken from you suddenly. It happened to me, but that's because Troy couldn't come on the flight with me when I left for home after training with him. I had to wait until Monday after arriving home on Friday without him. And that wasn't retraining! But all the same, if they have to retrain Ushi, they'll be able to fix problems that might not be fixable later on.Good luck and keep with it, I think the worrying is getting to you. I understand though.XX and big hugs,Michelle

  5. Torie says:

    I always worry lol. I give her little treats sometimes if she comes up to me after she spends, or else on a free run each time she comes up to me. I am very limitted on the treats though-as it might pile on the pounds!!!She doesn't seem to mind the harness-in fact when I pick it up she rushes to the front door!!!! Well not rush but it's like woooooooo! I'm going out!!!! She is still stopping very slightly, but not as majorly as she was!! So mayjor mayjor yayage.She'll probably just notice it at first, but then she won't mind it. She really pays attention to something she can hear but can't see. If I can, I might take her into the kitchen on lead just so she can see what it is that is making that horrible noise! I'm gonna make the most of the no work while i can! Might just be a case of wait and see.Ooooooooooh and Jen i would loooooooooooooove that!!! That would be awesome awesome awesome and she could have a run on the beach and all! I thought I posted that comment but it mustn't have worked.Xxx, and thanks again!


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