Second Day Of Guide Dog Class

I woke up bright and early today to have a nice long shower to wake me up. The shower was more like a hose in that the jets were so strong! It was cool though.

I headed into our “Lounge” for about 20 to 8. We were all meeting in there to go down to breakfast together. I was beginning to wonder if we were in fact actually meant to meet in the lounge, but the guide dog mobility instructor who stayed last night, and the other rehab worker soon came in.

We headed down at about 8 o’clock for breakfast. I am now beginning to feel a bit more confident moving about the hotel which is good. Yesterday I wanted to make sure I was going the right way all the time lol.

I had a nice bowl of porridge and a glass of orange juice this morning. We met the restaurant manager this morning, who will be there to help us, whenever there are no instructors staying. He was very pleasant and helpful. I was a bit curious as to how I would find the door from where I was sitting in the restaurant, as whenever you are coming into the restaurant, you have to position your feet at one o’clock. The other rehab worker said that if I always sat in the same chair, and just headed straight from there I would find a change of surface, and the door would be to the left of that. I managed not to kill myself this time, as I had done last night.

At about 20 past 9, we all met in the lounge again. The main instructor who would be supervising the other instructor soon arrived, along with the client who was going to be doing just the daily sessions.

After this, we got handed bags which had all our equipment in it. First we got the main piece of the harness out, which is called the “body” of the harness. There was a strap attached to it, so we just first of all threaded that one through a buckle. It doesn’t look much like a harness at this point. Next, was the “girth” strap, or the “quick release” strap. We put this through another buckle, and fassened the strap. This goes around the dogs belly. This would probably be the only part we would need to open, but we were learning how to put the harness together so that if we needed spare parts, then we would be able to put them together ourselves. Next, we put a reflective slieve over the first belt that we had buckled. This said on it”please do not distract me” or something like that. This bit goes around the dogs chest. It is starting to look like a normal harness now. Next, we were given our handles. We discovered that this clips on the side of the harness. It is attached to two “D” rings. This is basically all of the harness. It is brand new, so we were told to bend it a bit to soften it up.

We next got the lead out of our bags. There are two clips on it. One at the top, and one at the bottom. There are also two “G” rings on it. You put the top clip on the first ring for relieving, if you are somewhere where there is no spending pen, to make the lead longer. I found out too that you can do it too when you are just sitting there, and the dog is settled to give her more room. When you are working or just going around the hotel, you put the clip to the furtheest ring. You clip the bottom clip to her collar. I thought this was quite useful.

We then put a reflective slieve on to the lead which says something like “Please do not feed me” or something like that.

The next thing we looked at were all the grooming stuff. This was was the “zoom groom” which is like a massager for the dog, a comb, a “dandy” brush I think, and a shammy. We also got a Sam brown belt, which seems rather weird, a tube of tooth paste, a pair of arm bands which are reflective, a little thingie that you slip over your finger for brushing the dogs teeth, a jar of saddle soap to clean the harness and lead if it gets wet, the play collar and the normal collar, otherwise known as the “half check” collar. It has like a chain on it, and when you give a correction it releases really quickly, whereas the play collar wouldn’t. We also got bells for the collar, and a whistle, for food and free running.

After we had looked at all our equipment, we got to see some of the toys that are sometimes recommended. I discovered that Ushi likes a stuffed elephant that they use with her. We will be buying toys for ourselves, but really these are just while we are on class.

After we looked at the toys, we practiced what is known as “House obedience “ from our room to the “Lounge”, and back, and to the spending pen. We were told what way you would go through doors and such too. Basically, you would get the dog to go “Up to the door” where the dogs should sit. As you pull a door towards you, the dog will move so that it doesn’t get hit by the door. You tell the dog to “wait” as you go through each door, and you would sort of stand with your back to the door if it was a push door while telling the dog to wait. You would then tell the dog to “come”, then repeat the process for however many doors there were.

When out at the spending pen, you would say “busy busy” to make the dog go to the loo.

It was lunch after this.

Lunch was a gorgeous tomato and spring onion soup, followed by a glass of orange juice. It was gorgeous.

After lunch we went back to our rooms until about a quarter to two. While I was waiting, I just started to write up this blog.

At a quarter to two, the instructors came with our dogs. Ushi was on the lead when I got her, as we had all left our equipment in the “lounge”. We are allowed to take the dog off the lead when in the room, as this is where she will relax, but when we are not in the room we are meant to keep the dogs on lead, so that we can control them better.

We were left for about 20 minutes to get to know our dogs. I got down in front of Ushi while the instructor was there, and then the instructor called Ushi over. She just stood there lol. The instructor quietly slipped out, while Ushi just stood in front of me for about 10 minutes before just moving around a bit. Her favourite spot seems to be under the table. She also likes going to the window lol. What a nosey woman!

Shortly after this, my instructor came back with Ushi’s bed, which is like a pillow with three sections. I put this under the table. She also braught Ushi’s stuffed elephant, and a rope which looks like a rope with two balls at the end. They avoid using balls for the dogs, as they will look for them whenever they are free running. I also got a Nylobone which is a rubbery bone that you would leave with the dogs all the time. The toys have to be supervised though.

I had a play with Ushi for a while. I played with her elephant. She sat on it at one point so that I couldn’t get it off her.

After this, we practiced the earlier obedience that we had learnt. Before we just had an instructor on the lead, but this time we had the dogs. Ushi kept pulling a bit, so I had to really tell her to “wait”. I also had to tell her to “Steady” as she was wanting to rush through the doors all the time.

After this, we practiced taking the dogs back to the lounge. We had to get the dogs to sit when we were in there, and then tell them “down” to make them lie down. I had to say it a few times before Ushi listened though lol. We found out that if there was no one else coming in, that we could lengthen the lead.

We were told to say that we were coming in to the lounge and that we had a dog, just to let someone know who was in there with their dog.

It was nearly the end of the day by the time we had all that done. We just chatted for a while, until it was feeding time.

We feed the dogs at about half 5 each evening. We would prepare the food for the morning too, so that we wouldn’t have to be going into the lounge in the morning. We were given a baked bean tin to measure the food in. When feeding Ushi in the evenings, the food only goes up to the last ridge in the tin. This is to stop her putting on weight. In the mornings she gets a lot more though.

I took Ushi out to the run then after that.

It was dinner after this. I had a lovely steak, and butter and chips. It was gorgeous. I didn’t bother with a dessert though.

We just basically chilled for the rest of the night until the nightly spend. My girl took an age to do anything. She would only go whenever my instructor told her too. They have said that it will come in time though, and that it will just take her a while to get her used to the routine.

I went to bed shortly afterwards.

Sorry about the length of these posts, but I hope it gives people an insight into the sort of days you will have on class. It might help someone.

Will write more tomorrow. I have only finished the entry from Tuesday, as I was just too tired to write before.