Final Day Of Guide Dog Class

These two weeks have just flown in. It seems like months since we have been home lol.

While Ushi was eating her morning food, I started to take some of the stuff into the lounge that belonged to guide dogs. These were things like the talking clock they had put in our bedrooms, a funky new liquid level indicator which had a magnet on the back, and vibrated. (I was tempted to make that a sto away in my bag lol, but thought that they might notice). I also braught in a CD player, and a packet of paper towels that we had been given too. I also braught out all my bags, so that they could just be put in the car.

At breakfast, we said to everyone about how much we enjoyed their service (especially their disability awareness training which guide dogs had provided for them I think. It was good that they put that into practice!). We didn’t know how we would manage going back to our meals at home after being spoilt at the hotel! They said that we were “welcome back at any time” which was nice too.

We went upstairs to finish the rest of our packing.

When we came into the lounge, the instructors were like “Oh bad news torie, we have to stay another week.” Which I thought was cool!!! They were only joking though. We gave back our cards and that, and just sat for a while and chilled until it was about half 9.

I said good bye to the other client, and gave him a hug. We had said that we would all keep in touch, which was good.

Me, my instructor and one doggy headed up the road then shortly afterwards. We did a walk first before we headed for home. My instructor kept asking me if i wanted to do yesterdays walk, which I said no, and that I would rather do another walk. She kept trying to coinvince me by saying that yesterdays walk was brilliant, and the other walk had more distractions on it. I stood my ground though, and explained that I wanted to end on a high, and didn’t want to get upset again. So it was the second walk that we eventually agreed on.

It was a good walk, and Yes, I did end on a high, which was good. The instructor said that I could have done the other walk, and would have coped with it no problem. We eventually agreed to disagree lol.

We called at a cash point so that I could get money for my dog bed, bowls and squeaky toy. We also decided to get some nibbles for going up the road.

We just chatted about everything really in the car, from how class went, to just more general things, and being at home.

At about 11 o’clock or so, we arrived home. We got me and all my gear in first before bringing Ushi in. My little brother took an instant liking to her, which was good. We got her to spend in the garden, before mixing the two dogs.

We mixed them both on lead first, as we would then have control of them. Well our current dog was very very very very boysterous, and Ushi didn’t really want to bother with it. We then thought that maybe they should meet off lead, and then they might be calmer. That was not successful either, as Ushi just ran and hid. She then came up to me and really leaned into me.

We got the other dog in the house, before discussing what to do. They recommended that we keep the two dogs separate, at least for the weekend anyway, because our other dog was quite hyper, and was very very dominant towards Ushi. Basically, I would text mum each time I wanted to take her to spend, so that they could get our other dog in the living room or where ever. I also decided to feed upstairs, which I am still doing lol.

After the stress of introducing the two dogs, we went into the living room to chill for a bit. Ushi was very fixed on the guinny pigs lol. They kept squeaking, and she kept going over and going “what are they” lol.

I took Ushi upstairs after that, and set her bed down and water down. My instructor left shortly after this, when we were settled. She was coming out on Monday anyway as she was going to do the “home training”.

It felt very strange being at home. I laid down the ground rules right from the start, telling them the food had to be lifted, and that I tookmost of the responsibility. Everyone seemed cool with it. The only thing that I have le mum do is to lift up Ushi’s businesses, as she would be doing the other dogs anyway. I do everything else though.

I felt a bit jealous though when everyone else was playing with her, and was thinking that the bonding wouldn’t be that good with me and her. I wasn’t massively jealous though.

I just chilled for the weekend and made sure that Ushi spent and all. I only left her in the house for an hour on her own on Sunday, but that was because I was bored.

It was actually easier than I thought being at home. I was expecting it to be really hard, but Ushi fits right in!

Thank you so much to the instructors over class. Also thanks to the other clients who were great!!!

The real work starts on Monday, including the instructors coming out to see what can be done with Ushi and our pet dog.

I will write the “home training” part tomorrow, that is if you aren’t all bored!!! Thanks again so much for reading, and I really appreciated the comments. You all reassured me no end!!! Thank you!


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!!!


10th Day Of Guide Dog Class

We’re deffinetly on the “home straight” now. Hard to believe!! It was another nice morning today as I took Ushi out for her first spending opportunity of the day.

Again, I had cornflakes with an orange juice for breakfast, which was lovely. We had the pleasure of listening to a bit of opera while we ate, which was different, but nice and relaxing.

Again, I wasn’t needed until about 11 o’clock, so I just chilled again, and had a doze. One of the “house keeping” staff came in just before I had a doze and just chatted for a while to me as they changed my bedding and got me fresh towels. It was gorgious just lying there afterwards.

I didn’t have Ushi for the morning though, as she was getting her routine weighing, that all the dogs get before they go home after class. The room felt really empty while she was away, so I just had that doze.

It was weird not having to take Ushi out to spend at about 11 o’clock though.

My instructor was going to meet us down where our walk was going to be, so the other instructor came and got me.

I found out what her weight is (Ushi’s, not the instructors!), and it is 29 Kilograms, which apparently is well within her normal weight which is good. Because Ushi was rather distracted over the past couple of days, we decided to try something around her nose called a “Halty”. This is like a little strip that clips onto the collar, and you put the lead on the collar I think. It is sort of just like part of a horses bridle. It is just a strip of cloth that goes over her nose. The only thing you have to be careful with is that you don’t pull as hard when correcting, and when you use the harness, you lengthen the lead a bit to give her more room when she has it on.

We put it on for her first walk, but she would hardly move lol, so we took it off again. She went at her normal speed after that.

We did some more “traffic training”, and went into a busier area with lots of shops and people. There was one point where we stopped at a rounded kerb. Well I missed it, so got Ushi to come back so that we could re do it. I could sense that there was a bin to my right which was were we were going, so I was a bit hesitant. I thought that it would have been an “off kerb” obsticle, but they said that you don’t want to be doing them unless you really need to. So I just got her to go right, and then told her “over” by pointing m arm to the left and saying “over”, and then “up to the kerb”. If we had kept going right on down the street, and didn’t find the kerb so close to the bins, we would have been way way way down the street lol.

It was a good walk, apart from me missing that kerb.

It was off for lunch after this. I had a chicken sandwich again and a glass of orrange juice.

I wasn’t needed until about 3 o’clock again, so just chilled again.

We did a similar walk to the morning, only we didn’t do “traffic training”. Just business and people. We also had to “find” some crossings, and that was really all. Also just making sure I stopped when Ushi stopped.

It was quite a good walk again, and only needed to be told when to turn which was good.

It was about 5 o’clock when we got back. We just chilled until about half 5 for evening spending.

I decided to have battered chicken goosions and chips for dinner tonight. I had a chocolate fudge cake and ice cream again which was gorgious.

We had our nightly chats after dinner.

I took Ushi out for her last spend, and when she came back in, I had to give her a massive correction. There are stairs just as you come in from where the spending pen is. She rushed over to them, and her head was down. She normally wouldn’t do that. I stood there and gave her a big chuck back on the lead, and told her “No” and “leave it”. We then walked back to our room. I felt terrible. As soon as we got into the room, she just went and lay on her bed. That made me feel even worse lol. I stroked her for a while after a bit, and she was grand. I think she was just having a huff though lol.

I think I just felt worse than she did lol.

She didn’t rush or sniff after that though which was good.

I can’t believe it’s the last full day tomorrow.


9th Day Of Guide Dog Class

I didn’t feel as tired this morning as I did yesterday morning.&bsp; I think that early night helped heaps.

Up at the break of day again, so that we could prepare for the day, and get the food ready for morning feeding.

It seemed like a glorious morning when I took Ushi out to spend, which was great after yesterday!

I went down for breakfast again at about 8 o’clock.  On our way down, we came across a misterious sofa parked in our path.  I think I might have veered a bit though, as it was kind of behind the door lol.  Oops.  Oh well.  We got to the restaurant anyway which was good.

I wasn’t needed until about 11 again, so decided to do an obedience session with Ushi.  She did great, and we walked almost up to reception, with me getting her to sit ocasionally along the way.  She was grand, which was good.  We just headed back to our room after that, and waited until about 10 minutes to 11, where I took Ushi out again for her spend before the walk.

We just did the same as yesterday really. I found it a bit more busier this morning though. It went relatively straight forward, apart from me needing to point out a couple of obsticles, telling her to “watch” as we passed them. This was just to make sure she didn’t get away with walking me into something, or brushing me against something.

It felt like there were loads of obsticles lol!!! I think there was!!

We headed back to lunch after this.

I just had chicken sandwiches with orrange juice.  Two of the admin staff had popped down, just to see how we were getting on, and have a general chit chat. The woman who writes the facebook page was telling me what a wonderful response it is having, and how everyone seems to love it.  That was great to hear.  She was also telling me that the marketing department are going to use it, and that it has been sent to the chief executive of the whole organisation, as nobody had written a blog about class before, and they apparently liked what they saw!!  I must have been doing something right!!! Lol.  I only started doing it because I was writing on my personal blog anyway!! Who’d have thought that I would have got such a fantastic response!!!

I went up to my room with a little spring in my step after that lol.  I just chilled until about half 2, as I wasn’t needed until then.

When I took her out for her last spend before we would go on our second walk, something rather strange happened. As I was going to get Ushi out of the run, I heard this strange humming noise.  I just loosened the gate of the run, and as soon as i did that, I heard this really loud noise, which sounded like a plane or something. I then heard the noise of helicopter blades. I sort of hugged the gate of the run, and bent down a little. I didn’t fancy getting decapitated!!! Once it was gone, I just stood there for a while wondering what had just happened. Apparently, I found out from my instructors that there was a wedding and they must have hired a helicopter. It was rather funny afterwards!!

 
We learnt something new today.  It was called “traffic training”.  I won’t go into too much detail, as I wouldn’t want to scare anyone who is on class, or who is on the waiting list.  Basically, you tell the dog to go forward when there is a car in front of you on the road.  You are safe because you are on the kerb.  When the dog waits, you praise it, then tell it to go forward again.  It is to teach the dog not to go if there is a car on the road in front of the kerb, which it should do.  This got easier as we did it, although it sounded really really really scarey when it was explained to me!  That is why I am not going into details of it.  I would appreciate if when you comment, you don’t mention too much about “traffic training” if you have already done it.  The last thing I would want would be to scare someone!!
 
We went back to the hotel after that, as it was time for feeding and spending.
 
I decided to have chicken supreme with champ, followed by a bowl of natural yogurt with fruit.  It was nice, only the bowl was one of those really wide bowls at the top, and then it went to like a cup shape at the bottom.  I dug in to get at the fruit, and spilt half of my yogurt!  It was practically only us in the restaurant, which was nice and quiet.
 
We had to make a rather urgent trip to the human spending pen after dinner, before we headed into the lounge for our nightly chat.
 
It was off to bed shortly after that.  It was another good day, even if we did get a little worried about the “traffic training!”.

8th Day Of Guide Dog Class

It was back to the old routine this morning. No sleeping in at all lol. Not that there is when you have a doggy wondering around and around your bed waiting for you to get up! I was woken by a big waggy tale lol. As soon as I got up, Ushi’s tail was wagging away!!!

Breakfast was again at 8 o’clock, and I had cornflakes and orange juice as usual.

I felt unusually tired this morning. I think it was just everything just catching up to me.

I wasn’t needed again this morning until about 11 o’clock, but I always popped in just to say hi. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, I mentioned that Ushi still hadn’t actually lay on her bed. My instructor went and got her bed from my room, and really coaxed her up onto it, just to see if she would lie on it for a while, at least. She was talking in a really really silly voice and all lol. Eventually Ushi did lie on her bed, which was good.

I was going to do some obedience when the instructors left, but went back to my room and just lay on my bed. I figured that if i was freshened up, that would be more benificial than doing obedience with her. I didn’t actually sleep, but just lay and listened to the radio. It felt much better when I got up.

I had to eventually get up though, as it was nearly 11 o’clock. I set the alarm for about 10 minutes before I had to get up, just in case the instructors came early. It had started raining a bit when I went out to the spending run though.

We just did more of the same, with some “T junctions” and just rounded kerbs and that. It was good, although right in the middle of the walk, it bucketed down. It was a right pain in the bum.

Ushi didn’t really like it either, as it took her longer to sit, and at one point she had a massive pee in the middle of the pavement lol. I think she was holding it in all the time since it was raining. The instructor just said that you just keep going, and not to make too much of a deal of it. After all, I had given her the opportunity to spend before we left, so she shouldn’t have gone really. I suppose when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go!

We headed for lunch after that. I got changed first though, as it felt like I had wet myself, as it rained that hard. As i was leaving my room, however, I forgot all my cards for my room and the lounge, so after lunch I had to go and get a new card lol.

I had a lovely veggie soup, which really warmed me up.

After lunch, I stopped off at reception to get a new card for my room.

It was still really pelting down when we all got back to the lounge, so we had a choice of going out again for another walk, or staying in and going through the paperwork. We chose the latter option lol. One of the instructors went to the pet shop for us to get us some bowls for feeding and water. We just were borrowing the bowls that they had given us last week though just for the hotel. We just stayed while the other instructor went through the “guide dog owner agreement” which is the contract we will sign once we qualify. We went through each section to make sure that we understood it. By this point, the other instructor had returned with two bowls for each of us, along with a little squeaky toy to attract the dogs attention with. We would never leave this with the dogs, as they could take the squeaker out. I got a big stainless steel food bowl, as well as a small water bowl, which is really easy to transport! I also got a little squeaky elephant lol.

The third client left at about half 2. By about 3 o’clock, it had brightened up a bit, so we decided to go for a walk. We went into a slightly busier area today. They wanted to test our following and how the dogs and us would cope with people. We also learnt how to “find a crossing” and how to accept sighted assistance with a guide dog.

Again, it was quite a good walk. I jokingly said that it wasn’t complicated enough!!! The instructors just said that there was loads of obsticles, and that you won’t have to turn all the time when you are alone walking, and that most routes will only have a couple of turns. I was thinking that because we had learnt the turns, we would have did them loads on a busy route, but they said that you wouldn’t.

I’m so glad it decided to brighten up!

It was back to the hotel for us, where we chilled until evening spending as usual.

We went down for dinner at about 6 o’clock, as usual. I decided to be wild and daring, and have something different for dinner. I had chicken in a honey chili sauce, with egg noodles. It was surprisingly nice! Of course I had a glass of the old orrange juice too. I really enjoyed the company as usual.

We just went up to the lounge after that just to chill and chat really.

After that, we just went to bed. It was rather an early night, I think for both of us. The rain really takes it out of you!!!

Oh, and I used Ushi’s new bowls, and she had no bother with them, which was good. I didn’t think she would, though.


Seventh Day Of Guide Dog Class

Hard to believe that I have been at the hotel a week now!!!

We weren’t going to be collected until about 10 o’clock, so we decided to have breakfast at about half 8. We still had to get up early though for morning feeding and spending.

After breakfast, we all met in the lounge. We had to get our “Play collars” organised, as we were going to take the dogs for a “free run”, which means that they can just be a dog in a park for a while off lead and harness.

We had to put our bells on, and a little disk which basically had something about “Not feeding” the dog. It was like the ring of a keyring, so it was really hard to put everything on. One of the other clients helped me though which was good. We weren’t going to put the collars on yet-as we wanted them in the car, and they needed to be spent before we went. I liked the way on the “play collar” there is like a loittle raised rectangle, so that you know which collar is which, I presume.

We braught a towel with us, as if the dogs got wet they would need to be dried off a bit. We braught our whistles, and a little thing that looked like a film canister, which had treats in it for when they came back to us. It was to encourage them back, so that they would know that coming back was a good thing.

We jumped in the car after that.

When we got to the park, the dogs were super excited! They had been loads of times for a free run, so knew exactly where they were going. It took me about 10 minutes to actually get into the gates of the park, as Ushi was being such a madam. She kept pulling, and I nearly got pulled off my feet! I got her to sit every couple of steps just to calm her down. When we actually got in, we were ready to begin.

It was actually like a wooded area that we went to, rather than an actual “park” with swings and that. We first did an “Obedience” session where we got the dogs to do a “sit wait”. This was where we just got the dogs on a long lead, as if we were doing obedience in the hotel. We walked in front of the dogs, telling them to “wait”, and then we stepped to the left, then “wait” then back to the centre, then to the right, and finally back in beside her.

We were then told to slip the “play collar” on, so that we would hear where the dog was. We then took off the other collar with the lead still attached. Next, was the bit where we had to trust the dogs. We took a step away from them, making sure they “waited”. We then counted to a certain number, before we told the dogs to go and play. We told each person what we were going to count to. We would very it each time, so that the dogs wouldn’t just go if you always got to three, for example. You have to tell them “off you go” quietly, as they might not come back if you shouted it.

While they were running, they still seemed to stay quite close. It is important that you don’t just call them back when the run is finished, as they won’t come back as easily. You have to very it. Like you could do it twice on one walk, and 4 times on another, for example.

To call the dogs back, you just blow the whistle three times, and shout the dogs name. When the dogs are coming towards you, you have to bend your knees, and make sure that your legs are apart. This means that as the dogs are running, they are less likely to knock you over. Also when they are coming towards you, you tell them to “steady” so that if they do knock you over, it won’t be that bad.

One of the clients got knocked onto his bum though, as there were two dogs coming towards him. He was alright though.

When we were coming out of the park, the dogs just walked nice and quietly, and there was no pulling or anything. When we got back to the car, we gave them a good dry off with an old towel.

It was a really nice walk, and we could just chill really, apart from the obedience at the start. I am glad they were better behaved at the end though! I don’t think I could have handled her with all that pulling all the time!

We came back and had the rest of the day free. We got back at about 20 past 12, so just chilled until about 20 to one, when we went down to the restaurant for a carvary. The rehab worker who had stayed a few nights ago took us down, as it was quite busy, and so that she could help us get what we wanted.

For starters, I had a vegetable soup. It was gorgious.

For the main course, I had a lovely piece of chicken, with roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, and yorkshire puddings. It was gorgious. I wasn’t sure if i could squeeze in dessert, but somehow I managed it. I had a big bowl of trifle with fresh cream.

It was a nice relaxing lunch. We just took our time eating and chatting. We decided that during lunch we wouldn’t talk about guide dogs. So we were casually eating, when I managed to ask a tiny question about guide dogs. One of the clients was like “Oh, we seem to be drifting onto guide dog talk” lol. There wasn’t anything wrong with talking about guide dogs, we just were relaxing, and I just wanted to know more, as always.

After lunch, the third client just went home, so we both went back to our rooms. The rehab worker also left.

We were allowed visitors, but nobody was able to come up, just because of the time of day it was and all. I was grand though. The time whizzed by. I went down to reception at one point to ask if there was a table booked in the bar for about half 6, as we had decided just to have something light.

Apart form that, I just chilled and relaxed in my room until about half 5, for evening feeding and spending.

I had the old favourite again for dinner-cod, chips and mushy peas. So much for not being able to eat it, as I had first thought.

We just chatted in the lounge for a while, before heading off to our rooms, and for the last spend of the night.

I think we needed that chilled out day, so that we were ready and fresh for the morning. I was surprised at how quickly the day went!

It was brilliant, and good to just relax.


Sixth Day Of Guide Dog Class

There’s no rest for the wicked when you’re on class, which is just the way I like it! It was an early start again, for morning feeding and spending. I completely forggot about the alarm. Well i had set it, but must have dozed off again, because when I next looked at the time, it was 20 past 7 i think. I panicked a bit as I thought this would affect her feeding, but I had 10 minutes before her normal feeding time so that was alright.

Breakfast was again at 8 o’clock, which was gorgious as always.

I chilled again until about half 10, which was good. My friend phoned me, so we had a great gab until it was time for me to take Ushi out for her spending opportunity before we went out on our first walk of the day.

We were doing “off kerb” obsticles today. The instructors had braught “artificial obsticles” just to practice doing them. Basically, the dog will stop if there is an obsticle in front of her that she couldn’t get us both through. This could be a bin, or just loads of people. The dog will bring you to the “side kerb” which is the kerb that is sort of to the right or left of you. You would either go right or left depending on where the obsticle was. If she still couldn’t get through, she would then bring you back to the “side kerb”. You would then tell her “forward”, and take a couple of steps, then tell her “over” and “find the step”, or “in and find the step” depending on where the obsticle was. You can then carry on on your way. We did a couple of them, and it got easier the more we did them.

Sometimes an obsticle could be a crowd of people standing having a chat on the pavement. You would approach it the same way, but as you told the dog “forward” and “over or in” the obsticle could have gone away. This is called a “moving obsticle”. We also covered what would happen if, for example, there was a hedge on your left, and a car on your right and something possibly in front of you, that this is called a “trap obsticle”. You would do a “back” turn, and to to the “side kerb”. You would then do it as if it was an “Off kerb” obsticle. I think this is right anyway. All these obsticles got easier as they went on.

There was one point though where there was a cat across the road. She really focused on that cat, and I couldn’t get her to move forward. My instructor had a cross word with her though, and she went on fine. My instructor just needed to let her know that that was unacceptable, as my attempts weren’t really working. It was a really harsh correction she had to give, and I thought “i’m glad that’s not me on the end of that lead!”.

We went back to the car shortly after that. It was a really good walk, apart from Ushi being a pain with the cat!

We had lunch after this. I had chicken sandwiches again, and a glass of orange juice. Gorgious again, as usual. We decided to pre order our dinner, as we were going out bowling, and needed to leave by a quarter past 7. I ordered the old favourite, cod, chips, and mushy peas with a glass of orange and a pavlova.

I wasn’t needed until about 3 o’clock, so I just chilled with Ushi again.

We were building on what we had already learnt with the “off kerb” obsticles, only these obsticles would be totally natural, if we came across any. We also did lots of “rounded kerbs”, which are kerbs which you have to indent around the corner, then ask the dog to go “up to the kerb”. Again, it was a really good walk.

We did a couple of “T junctions” as well.

We headed back at about half 4. I sat in the lounge and chilled with the instructors for a while before they left. We would be seeing them later again, which would be good.

It was normal evening feeding at half 5, followed by us going to the restaurant to eat. The food was right on time too, which was great. Good job we had pre ordered! The dessert menu was also read out when we got there, where I had the pavlova. It was gorgious, and was nice and light.

We got the dogs spent and left them in our rooms, while we headed out. I stuck the radio on for her, so she wouldn’t be lonely.

The bowling alley was only about 10 minutes away. I traveled up in the car with the instructor and her little girl. She was very bright for a kid that young! I asked her about guide dogs, and she knew that when the harness was on, that the dog was working. She was also telling me that her teacher boarded guide dogs which was great!!!! She even wanted to guide me when we got in! Too cute!!!

We got our bowling shoes, and then we went off to get our lanes. As we were passing through another alley to get to the quieter bit that we were in, there was a DJ doing a disco in the alley lol. Thank goodnes we were in the quieter part!

Alot of the gang from the team were there. The puppy walking supervisor was there, as well as the other rehab worker, the two instructors, and an admin person. It was all great craic. The instructors little girl was making sure I was alright throughout the night. She kept offering me drinks of her pepsy and that. I said to her at one point that if i drank any more, I would have to stop at the ladies alot, and she was like “I’ll take you to them if you need to go!”.

I ended the night with a score of 90 I think. The night was great craic, and a good chance to chill after a hard week. Thanks guys for taking us! Loved it!

We got back at about 20 past 9, which was just in time for evening spending! After we did that, the instructors left, and me and one of the clients and his son decided to go down to the bar as we’d heard that there was live music being played, so we thought we would check it out. While the music was good, we didn’t really go down for that. It wasn’t too busy, so we mainly went for the chat. We had a fabulous discussion, and it was nice just to chat and chill. We went up to our rooms again at about half 11.

It was quite a nice day as usual, apart from Ushi’s major correction that she needed! She needed to know who was boss though.

Oh, and I forgot to say. Last night, I had to do a little educating on behalf of guide dogs. Well I didn’t have to, but I chose to. When I was taking Ushi out for her last spend, a man was standing having a smoke. He asked me if that was where the dog was going to go (think he thought she was going to stay in there lol). I just said that this was where she would go to the toilet (hadn’t got her in yet). His wife shortly joined us, and we spent a good 20 minutes or so just chatting about guide dogs, and the different stages there was. It was great, and they seemed genuinly interested, which is always good. Ushi just lay down as if to say “While you three are chatting, i’ll just go to sleep.”. It was good to educate-heaven knows, i’ll be doing enough of that soon lol.

The district team manager also came up yesterday on our last walk of the day (before we got the new beds). He was saying how well I was doing, and he mentioned the blog that I was doing for the facebook page of our team. I thought “Oh god he doesn’t like it, i’ve given too much information, i’ll stop”, but he was grand and basically told me to keep going. He said that I can’t learn everything in one week, and that I’m kind of like a sponge at the minute wanting to absorb as much information as possible and that lol. I just told him I wanted to get it right.

I will eventually get around to responding to comments again-i just want to get all the posts done first.

Oh and by the way, for those who wanted to know what the “guiding road” was, it is the road which travels along side the pavement where you are travelling. It can even be a busy road, as long as it is on your left or right. I hope this explanation helps!


Fifth Day Of Guide Dog Class

I can’t believe it’s the fifth day already. Hard to believe!

It turned out that I didn’t need the rehab worker at all last night, but it was good to have that security.

It was a 7 o’clock start once again, for breakfast at 8.

I had some wheatabix this morning. Again, it was wonderful.

I wasn’t going out again until about half 10, so I just stayed and chatted to the rehab worker until about 10 o’clock. I just groomed Ushi then, so that she was nice and shiney and presentable for her first walk of the day.

We worked more on approaching rounded kerbs, and getting her to go straight on, and not making her go across my body.

There was a “T junction” at one point, and we needed to really work on that, as I didn’t really understand why when you turned left you got to another kerb, but this was because you were going on to the top bit of the T, but when you went right, you were starting a new straight line coming out from the T. I learnt that each time you turn, you start a new straight line. If you indent, it’s just a bend in the line, but you don’t start a new line until you do a turn.

We came back shortly after half 12 for lunch. We had no visitors this time though.

I chilled again until about half 2, before our second walk.

Again, we just worked on the “T junction” stuff, and our turns and that.

On the way back from our walk, the instructor called into the pet shop, as we were looking to get some beds. We decided to get them there and then, as they were the last in stock. I chose a bed with a star in the middle, and it was purple. It is just like a big massive cushion really, which can be washed, and it has three sections to it. It felt very comfy!

I decided to use this new bed for her so that she would get used to it.

The third client and his son were staying for the weekend, so it was good to have the company.

We met one of the instructors little girls, who came up with her mum for about 10 minutes. She was so cute! We talked a while before the instructors left.

I was a bit hessitant to not have the instructors, but they assured me that everything would be fine, and that I just needed to have confidence in myself. Plus if I was really really stuck, I could always ask one of the other clients. I was happy with that.

We just chilled until evening feeding time at half 5.

We all went down at 6 o’clock as usual. I had the cod, chips and mushy peas again, followed by the warm chocolate fudge cake that I had on the first night. It was gorgious, and the craic was good too.

We all just chatted afterwards, until about half 9, where it was spending time again.

Ushi is now starting to spend straight away, whereas before she would only do it for the instructors. She only did that low growl once too.

Again, another good days work, followed by a good nights craic. And I didn’t need the instructors at all. I was grand! They left me their number if i needed to call, but they were grand!

Thanks for the comments still. I still love them, and read each one!-and Terry-It was fun talking for that long!


Fourth Day Of Guide Dog Class

I am starting to get used to this getting up at 7 o’clock lark lol. I fed and watered my woman at about half 7.

Breakfast was again at 8 o’clock. I had another bowl of porrige and again, it was gorgious.

We met the instructors again at 9 o’clock. I wasn’t going out until about half 10. I was planning to do an obiedence session and that, but it ended up that I just sat and had a gab on the phone with another guide dog owner until about a quarter past 10 lol. It was nice to just relax. So I quickly took Ushi out to spend before our walk at half 10.

The walk was just more turns and stuff. There was a bin at one point though that the dog had to walk round. When you are walking with a guide dog, you have to make sure your hand is at your leg. I thought that i was going to fall off the side kerb, so I started to hang back, resulting in a brush with that bin. The instructor says that the dog can’t guide if you are behind it.

There was another point on the walk where you had to turn right, and then go straight on emmediatly to get to another kerb. The two down kerbs were really close to each other. There were a couple of points where she went to go on round me and behind me, so I just had to be a bit firmer.

Apart from walking into the bin, It went okay. I still wasn’t putting on the harness yet though.

At about half 11, we headed vack to the hotel. The dog care and welfare advisor was visiting northern ireland, as he often does. He is in charge of Scotland and Northern ireland. He chatted to us about what his role was, and how he is the main man that all the vet invoices go to, and he is the one we call if the dog is getting a non routine test that she may not need. Next, he explained about the “health book”, which basically has all her medical records. The vet fills in the top sheet, and sends that off to the health and welfare advisor. You take the health book with you all the time when ever you go to the Vets.

He next explained about when to worm and when to give her flee and tick treatment. Worming should take place every 3 months, but the tablet doesn’t prevent the dog getting worms, cause if it comes in contact with another dog with worms, for example, it has to be re wormed. Once every 6 months you should go for a regular checkup and vaxinations, if you need them.

Next, was a very serious subject. We were talking about obesity in dogs. That is why it is important not to be giving the dog any tidbits, or treats, and to keep her food measured the same way each time you feed the dog. The dog care and welfare advisor can actually take the dog away, if the owner doesn’t improve the dogs diet on advice from guide dogs and the vets. It was quite a scarey subject. We also learnt that each dog will have an “Optimum” weight, that it goes up to, like 30 killograms if the dog is 27, for example. The dog will get a bit fatter once it settles at home, but it won’t be anything major.

After that, he just summerised everything. It was quite an important and informative.

After this, was lunch. We had two visitors as well as the dog care advisor. one was a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor who was about to go off for training to become an instructor, so he was just here to observe. The other person was a guy who was assessing the instructors to make sure they were doing their job. We also had a guide dog mobility assistant, who I had met before, to teach us how to groom our dogs. So it was quite a busy table.

I was going out for my next walk at around half two, so while I was waiting, the guide dog mobility assistant showed me how to groom Ushi. First of all, we went into the lounge with my grooming stuff. She explained what each piece of equipment did, and explained how to use it. We then went into the bathroom, where the “grooming table” was. This was just a low table really, but if you don’t have one at home, you can do it outside or something. As long as it is quiet for just you and her. The grooming is a good way to bond with your dog.

I told her to “Jump up” onto the table first of all. I was then shown how to use the “zoom groom” which is like a massager, and loosens all that dead skin and fur. Next, we used the comb. You hold this flat against the skin, like you are spreading butter. This is the most comfortable way to use it, as it doesn’t hurt her. Next, was the “dandy brush”. This is just to get rid of more hair. It is exactly like a horses brush. Finally, I polished off her coat with a shammy. This makes the coat look gorgious. You just have it damp. and then rub it all over her. There was very little came off her. If she is groomed every day, not alot will come off. It doesn’t matter what time you do it at as long as you do it every day, or every other day.

The person who was assessing the instructors stayed to watch us groom.

By the time I had finished that, it was time to go out for my second walk. Again, this walk was just about following the dog, and controlling her. I didn’t get brushed by any obsticles lol. I learnt what the “guiding road” was, which is either on your right or left, and is a very good orientation clue. If it is on the wrong side, then you are going the wrong direction.

I also learnt how to put on the harness. You basically hold the dog under her chin, and then slide the harness over her head. You then pull the lead from the chest part of the harness, and then buckle your “Girth strap” which should always be on the side of the harness. This is so you can take it off quickly if needed.

This walk went surprisingly well.

After this, we went back to the hotel. The other rehab worker arrived, that i had asked to stay. We all just sat and chatted for a while, until the instructors left.

I fed Ushi at about half 5, as usual. I then took her out to the spending run, before we went down to dinner.

I decided to have codd, chips and mushy peas again lol. It was gorgious as usual.

We were heading back up to the lounge, when we came across the receptionist giving a man a bit of a lecture. He was a rugby player, and had celebrated a bit too much. He had kind of been a bit naughty, and thought he had just come out of the bathroom if you know what I mean. Me and the rehab worker decided not to go swimming, as we both would have felt rather uncomfortable, particularly as they had been drinking and that. So we chatted for a while, and then went off to our rooms, where we just chilled, before the last spend of the night.

It was off to bed shortly afterwards. It was another good day though!


Third Day Of Guide Dog Class

I got up at about 7 o’clock again this morning. The instructor and i had agreed to feed Ushi at about half 7 each morning. Or at least between half 7 or 8, but no later than 8 o’clock.

I got myself ready first, and then got Ushi fed. I realised however, that as she was half way through her food, that I had forgotten to add a bit of water to her food. I panicked and had to phone my instructor lol, as she stayed last night. She said that it was grand, and that as long as she had water near by, she would be grand, which she was. I just needed that reassurance.

After Ushi was fed and watered, I took her out to spend. She was being a little madam again, and didn’t do anything. She would only do it for the instructor.

Again, I went down for breakfast at about 8 o’clock. I had a nice bowl of cornflakes, and a glass of orange juice. I met the others down there, and the lovely restaurant manager assisted me to my table, as I still don’t get the angle of that right lol. We had a nice chat until the others arrived.

We went up to get ready for the day after that.

At about 9 o’clock, the other instructor arrived, as my instructor and the rehab worker stayed last night.

While we were waiting for the third client to come, my instructor showed me how to do more obedience. I think it is called “Basic obedience” but I’m not sure. I stood in the middle of the room with Ushi. I got her to sit, then lengthened the lead, and then was told to stand in front of her while telling her to “Wait”. With my hand, I pointed it down towards her head, with my hand nice and straight and flat. I went as far back as i could go on the lead, all the while telling her to wait. I then moved left a bit, and right a bit, before going back to the centre, and back beside her again. This is called a “Sit wait”. This is to gain her respect, and if you are carrying something, it’s to stop her knocking into you, and making you spill whatever you were carrying.

Next, I got her to lie down, by telling her “down” in a firm voice. Yesterday I had to tell her loads to go down, but today I only had to tell her a few times. This command is called the “Down stay”. You do exactly the same thing as in the sit wait, but you keep her lying down. Again this is to gain her respect. They said to only do about a 10 minute session, and not where her bed is, as her bed is a sanctuary, and not a place for working. You only do about 10 minutes, just to stop her getting bored.

While the others were being shown the obedience, I went out to the corridor, and just walked up it with my instructor, getting Ushi to sit every so often. This is to get her to sit if when we are working, I need to stop for some reason. It could be something really crazy like blowing my nose, or even stopping to chat to someone. You can then carry on your walk afterwards. We then turned back down the corridor, and went back to the lounge. We also practiced how to slow her down if she was rushing. Basically you tell her to “Steady” and really drag it out. I have to slow down too when i say that. When I am comfy with her speed, I can just go for it as usual.

After this, we just went back to the lounge for a while.

Since I wasn’t needed for a bit, the rehab worker who was staying took me down to show me the layout of the ladies changing room, and to give me an idea of the size of the pool.

When we got into the changing room, we decided that if i was ever going to come down to the pool, that as soon as I went into the changing room, I would turn left, and then walk straight forward until I either came to a bench or came to some wooden lockers. They were really easy to identify, as you just had to feel each door, which was great. The doors were really easy to identify, which was good.

The actual swimming pool was like a big rectangle, with what were described as “two ears” attached. The “ears” were like a little minny jakoozie. There was another bigger jacoozie that looked over the pool, although i later learnt that it had big massive steps down into it.

I wasn’t sure if i wanted someone to stay on the Thursday night as they only stay up until the Wednesday usually. They said if i needed anyone to stay they would be happy to do it, and the rehab worker offered to go swimming with me tomorrow, so I decided to have her stay. Plus, if I needed anything, there would be someone there.

After a while, when we came back from the pool, we went to do some “short handle” work. We took our harnesses just, and went into a more quieter part of the hotel, which had more space. We started off from the basics. By this i mean we started off as if we had never actually used the short handle. I was about to slide my foot into the “forward” position, as I had remembered how to do it, but the instructor didn’t want me to remember, and she wanted me to start from scratch. So I got back into the “Number 1” position, which is where you stand up beside the dogs shoulders, with your two feet together. Your left arm should fall back, as if you are too far forward, you will pull the dog forward. To go forward, you slide your right foot back, so that your right shoe is kind of just at the side of your heel on your left shoe. You then move your arm like you are throwing a ball, and say “forward”. It is important that you make sure that the harness is roughly in line with your leg, as I later learned that if it’s not, the dog can’t guide you propperly. I will explain that on tomorrows entry though.

We then went through turns and getting the dog to sit.

After this, it was lunch, which was a lovely tomato and spring onion soup and a glass of orange.

After lunch, I just chilled for a while, until it was time for me to go out on my first harness walk. The instructors took the third client first.

When it was my turn, we first of all met in the lounge, as the instructors needed to get my harness. The other clients had come back at this point. Before the instructors had come in, I was getting the client who had had guide dogs before to make sure my harness handle was on right. So I got Ushi to stay, and walked over to the client. He picked up my harness, and was inspecting it, when the instructors walked in. I just randomly picked up the lead, thinking it was Ushi. After all, why else would I think that it wasn’t her! The instructors were like “check your dogs”. I thought to myself “Is there something wrong with the collar?” so i checked that. That seemed to be normal. She then said again to check our dogs. I was starting to wonder what she was on about, when I realised that my dog was a bit bigger than usual. I then realised that my dog had wondered over to the other client, and his had wondered over to me. Once we found the correct dogs, I had to get my Sam Brown belt fixed, as it was totally up the creek. We then headed out to the spending pen after that, as this was where the instructors cars were.

Once we got to the car, we told the dogs to “jump” into the boot of the car. (They have those cars where the boot is massive and has seats in it). We then set off.

We just did a short walk, to see if i could follow the dog, and put into practice the turns and foot positions that I had practiced earlier. We didn’t do any obsticle work or anything. We just practiced following her. It was only about 10 or 20 minutes. I found it good, although was a bit hesitant just in case she didn’t stop. Overall, it was good though.

We got back at about 4 o’clock, or maybe half 4. We just chatted in the lounge for a bit, before it was feeding time, and one of the retired office staff came to stay the night.

Dinner was at 6 o’clock again. I went wild and had the old favourite, cod, chips, and mushy peas. It was so nice, that I have had it nearly every night since lol.

The retired member of the office staff asked if I would like to go swimming. Of course I said yes! We got into the swimming pool first. She pushed a button to make the jets come, and it was massive! Afer about an hour, we went into the main jacoozie. I was told to step down, so thinking it was a normal step, I did just that, only to realise that they were slightly deeper than I thought lol. It was just nice to sit and relax and chat.

Before we went down for our swim, I took Ushi out to spend. There was a woman standing at her car. Ushi gave a very low growl. I told her no, of course. I was very very worried though about saying to the instructors in the morning. I knew this shouldn’t happen, and I was concerned in case they took the dog or something. They just said that it was just her being a little unsure, and I was right to tell her no. That was a relief.
After my swim, I took Ushi out for her last spend, with no growling, and then I just wrote more of the blog, before going to bed.

Remember, keep those comments coming-I love them!