Guide Dog Further Assessment

Back at
The Start Of October
I had the guidedog assessment. Well today was the further assessment.

I got picked up at about 10.30. We went up to the main centre here, for me to meet a dog, and actually see how it feels to work with it.

We arrived at about 11 o’clock or something like that. I first got told about the instructors who were there, then met the dog. He was called Val dez. He was very bouncy. He tried to kiss me, and then walked about loads of times, before finally coming over to me again. It was a bit random.

Next, I met another instructor, or a guidedog mobility assistant, who was going to show me some obedience training. I learned to put the dog in the “Sit” position, from lying down, how to get him to “Heel”, how to make sure he’s on the correct side, and at the right angle, the “Down stay” command, and the “Wait”. They were very impressed at how firm I was!! They would rather I was too firm, so that they could correct me. I also learned how to tell the dog “No” by using the lead as well.

Next, I got the opportunity to take the dog back to the office, to practice the commands. He was good for most of the way, but he kept going off, but a firm “Wait/ come” soon corrected that.

Next, we went down to the grooming area. He put his front paws up on to the table straight away!!! Must have knew what was coming.

First, I learned how to do a full body check on him. I checked everything from his nose, to his tail, and everything in between. He didn’t really like me poking about his body alot, and kept standing up. He even got off the table when I was trying to examine him!!!! That put my obeedience training to the test!!!!!!!! I had to grab the lead and try and get him back on to the table. I was told what to look out for, and what to do if I suspected anything wrong while doing this check.
He was much more settled when I groomed him though. First, I used the Zoomgroom, which loosens up the hair in his coat, and gives him sort of like a back massage. Then I used the comb (can’t remember what it’s called). I couldn’t believe how much hair came out of that thing!!!! It was the turn of the dandy brush next, which again got rid of a lot of hair. Finally, it was the shammy, which polishes the coat. This was really good, as it gave me a chance to get to know the dog a bit.

After this, we decided to go out on a walk around the grounds with the dog. This was with no harness, just the lead. Boy, but he was really cheeky!! I was assured that that won’t happen with the actual dog I will be getting. I guess he just wanted to try his luck. He kept getting distracted and going towards bushes and stuff. Thank god I wasn’t at the other end of the harness though.

It was then back for a spot of lunch.

After lunch, we went on a short handle walk. This was to refresh me on the positions and such, before I went out with the dog.

We were off in the car next, with the dog this time. I got to put the harness on, which seemed quite easy. I had a bit of problem remembering how to “Heel” the dog, but I eventually got it.

Well the harness walk was a complete disaster!!! Well most parts were good, until I started to hang back, instead of being at the dogs head and shoulders. I got it into my head that the dog was moving from side to side a lot, so I thought that i’d better follow the dogs commands. Well it turned out it was actually me who was moving from side to side. It’s apparently called a rolling gait. I find it hard to trust the dog. How do you learn to trust it? Is it normal for this to happen? I was just scared that it wouldn’t stop at kerbs and stuff.

We headed home after that.

The instructor has said that I need to be more confident about using the cane, and being out all the time with it. Then about two weeks before the training, I will do pre-class training, with the short handle, and the dog. I’m on the waiting list though!!

I’m just worried about if I can’t trust the dog, and how I can stop pulling back. Do any of you know how to stop this? Is it completely normal for a first time with the dog? How do you learn to trust the dog? So many worries!!!!!!
All in all, though, it was a good day, apart from what happened. I just think it’s just me being stupid when I said about how hard it was with the harness, and trusting the dog.

Thanks for any help with my questions. Please put my mind at rest!!