I thought this would be a fun and interesting post for people, even if you are a guide dog owner. You’ll all probably know this, but even if you don’t own a guide dog I hope you’ll enjoy!
From my first day of class, i’ve always got up at about 7 o’clock to feed Ushi. We were told to feed the dogs before 8 o’clock, especially as they need an hour before they can do any work. I have always stuck to this routine, as it means it’s done and dusted then.
At about 7 o’clock, I pluck myself out of bed to go get things ready for Ushi. She is usually fed between 7 and 8 although I remember one day I didn’t feed her until 20 past 9 I think it was. I felt terrible, but she didn’t care and was still asleep! Anyway I first of all put Ushi’s collar on, as I take it off before I go to bed because I know where she is, and know she’s not going to move! I then go over and get her waterbowl to fill up. I bring that in, get my whistle out of my bag where most of Ushi’s things are, pick up her food bowl from my table with a baked bean tin in it to measure out her food. This usually gets Ushi up off her bed lol. I then go out of my room to the “spare room” where her food is stored. Ushi is usually stretching along the hall, leaning against the wall, snorting scratching and shaking, usually in that order. I then emerge with her food, and she’ll follow me into my room again. I usually stand beside her with my hand on her back, and she will sit down. She’s so good now that I don’t even have to tell her to sit! I then place her food down and give three short toots on the whistle to signify that it’s time to eat. (The dogs are taught that they can’t eat until the whistle is blown). I then sit down and get my trousers and shoes on while she eats.
After I hear those long slurps of the bowl which mean that she is finished, I wait a minute before washing the bowl. I then place it down on my table and head down stairs. Ushi tends to suddenly need a scratch along the carpet just at the top of the stairs lol. I let her and Ash (pet dog) outside together, telling Ushi to “busy busy” which is the command to get her to go do her business. After a few seconds I tell her “good girl to busy” and wait a bit longer. By this point mum comes down to get my brother ready for school.
After a short chat, Ushi comes sauntering in. We head upstairs, where Ushi promptly takes a drink of her water, before returning to her bed. If I have nothing on, I will join her for a couple of hours.
Whenever I decided to drag myself out of bed (which i do find hard sometimes), I will properly get ready for the day. I usually bring Ushi down to busy while i’m eating my breakfast so i’m not standing around waiting for her to come in. (she likes to take her time sometimes). If i manage to get up early enough, I will do two walks a day, but if not, I will do only one. (I need to get up more lol.)
In the middle of the afternoon I usually head out to get my brother from school with my dad and sis, and head into town. I don’t take Ushi since she is very excited around children, and I would feel terrible if she bounced a little and ended up jumping on one of them lol. So Ushi usually goes to bed. (as soon as I turn the radio on for her she goes onto her bed).
I come back from town and that at about half 5 or earlier. It’s then a walk with the girl and my sister sometimes walks Ash. The two of them don’t care about each other although sometimes Ushi will rush a little to get in front of Ash.
After our walk, I wait about 10 minutes before feeding her. (I was told to do this as otherwise she will rush home expecting food). The evening routine for food is much more lively. If we haven’t been for a walk in the evening but have had one during the day, she will sit beside me from about 5 o’clock onwards (I feed about half five unless we’re not back from a walk, then it’s usually 6). As soon as I move, she is up and heading to the wall outside my room to roll around a bit and wait for her food. I prepare the food again from the spare room, and when I emerge, Ushi does a little shuffle backwards after bounding about a little. She then comes in like a lamb, and will usually sit although sometimes she’ll bounce up just as i’m setting the food down, in which case I have to get her to sit again and tell her to “wait”. I then do three toots again, before sitting down to check emails etc. I’ll then wash her bowl again, then take her out to busy, then it’s back upstairs where she’ll chew on a nylabone or look for her stuffed elephant. (I don’t give this to her until at least half an hour after food as I don’t want to risk twisty stomachs!). She is deffinetly much more lively in the evenings.
After about an hour she’ll get up and come over for some loving. We don’t do much apart from maybe playing, grooming every two or three days (or sometimes four, but never more), and just being around each other. It’s then last busy at about 9.30, then she’ll usually potter around downstairs until we decide to go up again.
She’ll usually take herself off to bed at about 10 o’clock. I’ve never told her to go to bed at that time, she just chooses to. (I sometimes tell her to go to bed when i’m eating my dinner upstairs. Sometimes I even have to say to my sister “will I put the missus onto her bed?” and she’s there before I can finish the sentence lol.).
I empty her water at about 12 o’clock, take her collar off, and give her a nice stroke (which gets a little sigh) before heading to bed myself. (her water used to be emptied after her last toilet break but sometimes she wants it just before bed).
The routine will change ever so slightly depending on the day, but that’s a basic summary of what a guide dogs routine will be like. It’s alot when you think about it, and when I was on class it sure felt like quite alot to remember as well as “working” commands, but once you get into the swing of it, it’s grand!
I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this, and it might help people who are considering a guide dog! (I don’t want to put anyone off by the way). I’m off to bed!