It’s the Assistance dog blog carnival again, and i think i will get this in just in time as the deadline is later on today. The topic for this round is
I hmmed and hawed about posting as i really don’t know what i would regret, but i suppose this would be the closest thing to a regret as i think of. My only regret with Ushi apart from applying for a dog earlier is…her stopping.
When i got Ushi, everything was grand until about a week after we qualified. She first of all started standing at her kerbs instead of sitting, and then the stopping started. We’d just be walking down the street, and bamb, she wouldn’t move. There were no obsticles, no reason for her to stop. I even called my dad to come look at her paws which were grand. I did not want to go to the guide dog instructors, as i thought i had caused Ushi’s stopages but eventually i had to. The instructor said i should be a bit more positive, which worked for a few days, then she stopped again. They said i needed to be more firmer with her this time, so that worked for a few days and then she stopped again. Each time she stopped, we were getting closer and closer to the house. My dad said to just walk on and she would eventually have to come with me, but i couldn’t physically do that as i didn’t want to choke her.
The district team manager came out when i called again, which put the willies up me. He was the head instructor if you will. I really thought i was in major trouble. During this time of stopping, i wanted, or had thought of giving her back. I never told anyone this until long after Ushi was sorted as i thought they would come and take her away immediately.
When the head instructor came out, i was very nervous. I would have kept Ushi on the lead when i knew people were coming. Now, when he came, Ushi jumped up all 4 paws on his chest. I really thought i was scuppered, but he just ignored her. Now, she probably wouldn’t have done this if i hadn’t kept her on the lead. This was the first and last time she ever did this.
As for the stopping, he told me that Ushi was just being a madam and i just had to tell her to get on with it and make her go forward. I was so so relieved.
During all this stopping, i only worked Ushi once a day. I think that if i had kept working her twice a day if i could, she wouldn’t have put on weight which i couldn’t get off, which would have meant she wouldn’t have had to change foods. On the other hand, she had started to eventually refuse her food she came with, and she seems to enjoy her Burnes food that she is on now. For my next dog, i plan to have her on Burnes because it is a really good food. It is not just a food saying it’s more natural but it isn’t really, it really is a decent food. The food she was on before was very greasy and smelly. It also had lots of things i did not understand when i looked up what was in it. Thankfully the Burnes, while having some additives, these are mainly vitamins and minerals. Plus it feels nicer.
Anyway, we still have the issue of stopages, but i know how to manage them now. I do find myself over annalising them though since she is 6. I really do hope she will let me know when she doesn’t want to work any more.
My secondary regret would be that i am not so nervous with my next dog since i know the ropes, but i just wanted to get everything right.
This has been my entry for the 17th ADBC. I’ll post the submissions when they are compiled.
Thanks to Brook from
Ruled by paws
for the topic idea.
I’m finally catching up on all those blog posts i was writing over the past couple of days.
We had a visit from the
District team manager
Last year. I was so nervous since he was the manager and thought i had done someting to make her stop.
Ushi jumped up on the manager when he came to the house which i was mortified about! Thankfully he was okay with it and she hasn’t really done it since.
He discovered her little whines she used to do but doesn’t do any more while working.
We didn’t go straight up to the kerb outside our house and sometimes we don’t do that since she will stop if we do go up to the kerb and turn right sometimes.
Thankfully the stopping did stop and when she does it now i know how to deal with it and just tell her to get on with it. I sometimes sound like i want to kill her!
In the next post in this series, Ushi decides to leave a little something behind when we go shopping. I was mortified that day!
This time last year
The stops seemed to be getting worse
In fact i was even considering giving up because we weren’t getting anywhere.
I had tried being really positive but it didn’t really work. I discovered that when we went shopping though in a new place she didn’t stop at all.
I was still spending ushi on her lead in the garden but now she goes on her own since i don’t have to chase her or anything any more and she will come straight up again.
My rehab worker had told me that i must persevere with Ushi and to ring the team if i had any problems. I didn’t want to ring them all the time though.
I think it was this time last year when my dad and sister commented on how i walked much faster with Ushi than i did when i was being guided. My sister even suggested that i was walking quicker so i would be matched quicker. That had really annoyed me at the time. Number one i couldn’t really keep that up throughout the whole process, and number two the instructors would have noticed straight on class. They are cool now though.
Her stopping was that bad last year that i wanted to give her back, and i really felt horrible for saying that.
Ushi still stops now, but in my next entry i’ll explain how it stopped. I know she does it now because she is bored.
I’m sorry for so many posts.
I thought that this time last year
The problems i was experiencing
Were sorted since i had aftercare. It did sort it out for a while.
The instructor who came to see me said i just needed to be really positive, and that should hopefully stop the stopping. She said that i would be firm if i needed to be, but to try and be a bit more positive. (When she had stopped i had just corrected her).
Unfortunately the stops continued for a while after. I think my next entry is when the district team manager had to come out and see why Ushi was stopping.
Today we had two very good walks. We only had one sniff and she indicated that there was an obsticle at one point (it was a stick), but i thought that Ushi was just being Ushi. I don’t think she liked the wind though as she kept slowing way down. We mostly had normal speeds though which was good. Sometimes she’ll slow way down and kind of crawl along.
In other news my wee brother got his cast off today. He was orriginally meant to stay in for two or three days but the physio theropist says that because he has been so active they are letting him out tonight. He will have to basically learn to walk again propperly though. He is still very nervous to stand but they said that will just take time for him to get his confidence back.
I’m writing this in a notepad document since we don’t have internet. I’ll probably post this tomorrow.
I’m gonna go now and find something else to do.
Oh by the way this is my 400th post!
I am glad to say that Ushi is totally back to her old self and wasn’t sick since Wednesday morning. So god knows what she got into!
This time last year,
Started. Again i thought i had done something terribly wrong.
Thankfully back then the stopping wasn’t as major as it did get. It was still really strange though. I actually thought the reason she stopped the first time was that she couldn’t see in the dark!
I also had a couple of annoying kids. They are still annoying today but thankfully i manage to do my walks when they are not around. They don’t try to feed her now but are still very ignorant and if i do come across them they continue to walk in front of Ushi. They are the type that will never learn.
I can’t remember when the next post will be, but October last year was quite a bad month. Thankfully now i’ve sorted out those kinks.
Over the last couple of days we’ve had loads and loads of rain.
Ushi never used to be a fan of rain, and would dawdle along, trying to go into every driveway until we got out of our estate. Then she would just get on with the journey. I had to allow an extra 10 minutes to our journey when it was raining, to allow for her dawdles. I could handle this. I just told her to “get on with it!” a few times in a firm voice and eventually she got the picture. That was until today.
On Monday night we were about to go on our walk, when it started to rain really heavily as well as some thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure. I spent Ushi anyway thinking that she would be grand. She came in, and I got her harnessed up. We got to the top of our path before it started to thunder. We went into get better coats, and went out again. We got to the top of the path before we had a stop and lots of trembling from Ushi. I tried to get her going again before I thought that it just wasn’t worth it. So we turned and just went back into the house. She went up stairs as normal, and her tail was wagging. She was quite alert whenever there was more thunder, but then she just went off to her bed, not bothered. She didn’t tremble for the rest of the time that there was thunder.
When we were out, I just got to the top of our path which isn’t that long, and I only tried to get her to go twice before I noticed she was trembling and took her back inside.
She was grand the rest of the night and didn’t care about the thunder outside.
When it was time for her last spend of the night, it decided to chuck it down again. Ushi just stood there, then went out to the hall and just stood there. I tried to get our pet dog to go out to see if Ushi would follow her, but she didn’t. I stood trying to persuade her, before going and getting her lead and a treat. (I don’t use the lead now for spending, and just let her go out on her own). I attached her lead, and she really dug her heels in. I had to drag her practically and actually go out with her, as well as bribe her with a treat for her to actually go out. She came back in very quickly! I wasn’t sure if she had actually done anything though, so when the rain finally stopped i let her out again to make sure she had gone.
Yesterday it was just windy really and we managed to miss the showers which was good.
Today however was a different story. We walked grand to the quilting which was today instead of the usual monday. Well she almost did. She was very distracted at one point, and I thought there was someone with a dog or something as it was that kind of distraction. I don’t know if it was a dog or if it was just her. Then just as we were about to head into the shopping centre where I quilt, she got very bouncey, and not the “oh i’m excited about going somewhere new” kind of bounce. Then this woman was like “Hello boy”, which made her really exciteable which isn’t really like her. She will usually just wag her tail, but this was like she used to do in the early days. (She used to jump whenever someone ran up to us, for example). I just said to the woman if they could please not pet her as she was working, and the woman just walked off. (I thought that was pritty good of me cause I usually just can’t manage to say not to pet her). She was grand when we got into the shopping centre though!
On the way home it was a huge stop when we were trying to get out of the door of the shopping centre. There was nothing there, but I eventually got sighted assistance and got out of the door in the end as we had wondered on a bit as i thought maybe there was a way around the obsticle I thought was there. Then it was another stop, and after a while we got her going again. It was another stop further on down the street, and then at the point where she got distracted this morning by the possible non existent dog, she stopped dead. This was just as the heavens decided to open! As soon as the drops hit her, she kept backing up a little. I tried to even do an “sit/wait” to see if that would maybe focus her, but she would not go and hung her head and her tail was down. Being firm wasn’t working, so I tried being positive and eventually she decided to go! She then wouldn’t go forward if we had to cross roads after cars had driven past. I had to step out in the road when it was quiet to get her gonig, but she was going to stop again in the middle of the road, but I just got on to her and she kept going. It seemed to be when the cars sprayed the water they had driven through all over the road she was reluctant to move.
She has never done this before, and usually once I get her going she will keep going. But today was the worst she has been. (There wasn’t even any thunder).
So I don’t know what’s up. I think she doesn’t like water on her paws. Well I would presume not as she will do anything in her power not to walk through puddles, for example.
It was bareable when she would dawdle at the start of our route, because then I knew I just had to persevere and she would eventually go. But today wasn’t good at all. This has been the heaviest rain we’ve had and that she’s been used to though. When I got her, we had one really bad day on class, and mostly it was just drizzles since then. It hasn’t chucked it down before now.
When my Guide dog mobility instructor had Ushi for her advanced training last year it was during the summer, so we didn’t have that much rain, so she wasn’t used to Ushi being so stubborn about it.
I want to know what to do about it though. I mean we can’t just not work in case it rains, or just get a taxi home when it does rain. If we’re out and we get caught in a shower, we will just have to keep going. Was I maybe not firm enough/positive enough? Is there anything I can do if she is going to be like this from now on when it rains? (It’s going to be a long frustrating summer if this is going to be what she will do when it rains heavily).
My friend suggested I should get a rain coat for her lol, but that wouldn’t protect the princess paws.
Have any of you ever had a dog who hates the rain? I think the district team won’t know anything much to do apart from maybe being more firm or positive, but knowing me she would be an angel when they came out! (She was
When I mentioned that she was stopping again).
Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want to get soaked when it rains, and would like to get home at some point!
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!
On Tuesday I was feeling quite positive, and decided to do the big church route again, just to make sure we were both comfy and that we would have no stops. We got along fine, until we reached our usual stopping point, and wham, a stoppage. So instead of being all gruff and cross with her, I got my really positive voice on, and tried to get her to carry on. Meanwhile across the road, there were kids playing football, and
Those Kids Who tried to feed Ushi
Came running towards me. So I quickly tried to get her to go straight on. Another girl came up and asked if she could pet Ushi, which I said yes, then heard those other kids coming. So I just said that Ushi was being a bad girl and had to keep her moving. (she does this wee dance thing on her back legs when she gets distracted by kids and other dogs). We got further on, and she decided to keep going up a persons driveway, so I kept having to correct her for that. She was still very hesitant at her kerbs though. When we got to one kerb, I decided to put my foot into the gutter (would never never do this with traffic but it was quiet), just to see if she would go forward. She eventually went forward which was good.
On the part of the route where we would be opposite the park, Ushi kept seeing another dog, and was like “Ooooooh that looks interesting!”, so I had to keep telling her to “Leave it!”. An elerdly woman who had the other dog was like “my dog is being a bad boy too. Can we go past?”. I didn’t fancy Ushi getting distracted in the road, so asked her if it was okay for me to go across first. She said that was fine, and it meant that me and Ushi would be further along in the opposite direction from the woman who was going to the park.
We had no further problems. I was a bit puzzled about why she was still so hesitant at her kerbs, but put it down to my praise not being that good.
On Wednesday when we went out for our walk, it was bucketing down. Ushi kept wanting to go back inside, but I tried to keep her moving, but she just kept heading for the house. So we went back inside until it stopped raining.
After it stopped, I got her out and up to our first kerb outside our house. I tried to get her to turn right, but she just stopped. She eventually went when she saw someone walking ahead of us. I thought nothing really of it, until she stopped again at the corner of our estate where there is usually a big dog who barks at us. It was shortly after this actually when she stopped. We have passed that dog loads of times before, so I don’t know what the problem was. It took me ages to finally get her up to her down kerb where we would cross for going to the shop and most other routes lol. I decided that there was no point going any further, and that we would just do the block route around our estate, since she was just stopping. I mean she has never stopped at that point before. I don’t know what had happened. I met my dad, and he went in front of me. I then told him to stay behind me where Ushi wouldn’t see him. We did eventually get around that little route, but it was rather strange!!!
Thursday was no better really. I could barely get her to go right after our first down kerb. I turned round, to see if she would go the other way around the block, and she did up until she saw a cat. I kept correcting her, but all she was interested in was that cat. I eventually got her past the cat, but then we had a stoppage again. There has been no obsticles at all when she has stopped. I would have no problem if it was an “off kerb” obsticle for instance. Usually though she sort of slows down before those though, whereas when she stopped it was just a dead stop. I just did a “back” turn then, and took her back home. I was starting to get a bit worried about why this was happening. My dad was saying that she could need to be retrained because she was so distracted and all, but I said that all guide dogs get distracted and all, and I didn’t want to admit that she could need retrained. But my friend said that I wouldn’t have been qualified if she did need to be retrained.
The bonus was though that my friend was up doing hotel orientation, as she is going off on class soon. My rehab worker was going to pop in to see me, and my friend wanted to see Ushi, so it was awesome! So at about 4 o’clock, they came round.
I braught Ushi down, and gave the lead to my friend to hold. I was so pleased with Ushi. There was a bit of waggy tails, but she just lay down at my friends feet! I was expecting her not to settle as she just loves people, but she was grand!!! I took Ushi back upstairs again, after my friend had said her hellos, as my little brother wanted to hold one of our guinny pigs. (the team said that Ushi might not really like them, so not to hold them in front of her).
My rehab worker asked me how I was getting on, and I said about the stops. He said that it is hard, but to keep persivereing with her. I said about not wanting to run to the team all the time, but he said that was their job. He just said to keep at it. I said that I felt as though I didn’t want to be qualified because this week was kind of bad, but my rehab worker says that of course I should be qualified, and that it wasn’t bad at all. He said to ring the team if it didn’t get any better.
My friend and my rehab worker soon left after that.
On Friday, I spent ages on the small block route trying my hardest to get Ushi going. I managed to get her to the corner with the barking dog, but no further. So I did a “back” turn, and only got her so far. There was a car, and she spent ages at it, so I thought that it was maybe going to be a “Off kerb” obsticle. But she wouldn’t go off the kerb, so I kept getting her to go back up to the car, and she eventually went around it (there was space at the other side of it). I told her to find home, then tried to do the route again, but she wouldn’t go. But it was gradual progress. I was still quite worried though.
On Friday night, I took her downstairs. For some reason the guinny pigs were extremely noisy. Ushi normally doesn’t bother with them, but was right at the cage whining a little. I thought they were maybe annoying her, so was going to put her on the long lead, but she eventually came over and just lay down. My sister said that she couldn’t see what was making the noise, so that was probably what was annoying her.
Yesterday I think we made huge strides with the stops. I managed to get her halfway round the little block which was great. She was more crawling than actually stopping, which was good. I would have kept going on the block route, but we got to where the
Were that I encountered after I qualified. There was a car parked, and I figured that we might have been too close for comfort to where the dogs were, and didn’t want Ushi getting agitated or anything. So I just casually did a “back” turn. A few minutes later, the owner of the dogs came up, and explained that there was a tube lying on the ground (Ushi had stopped again). I said that the dogs were a bit scary, but then felt terrible as these were her dogs! I appologised for saying that they were scary, and she completely understood. She explained that they bark at everyone, but that there were too many for Ushi, and that was why she was maybe scared. She was a lovely woman. I really enjoyed talking to her. We went on our way after that.
Ushi was taking me around a car, and I sort of took the lead just gently. These kids were like “what are you doing?”, and I just said that she was taking me around a car. I felt like saying inside though “what does it look like!” but refrained lol. As I went home, they casually came up on the road on their little scooters, and started making dog noises! I just told Ushi to “Pay attention!” and to find home. The kids eventually got bored I think. I wasn’t as worried yesterday.
Today was really good. I decided to take Ushi into town with my dad guiding me. I put her harness on, but just held dads arm and the harness was on her back. I just held the lead. I wanted to get her used to being in town, without actually having to work it. She was fabulous!!! She only ocasionally looked at children (she loves children), and people, but didn’t get massively distracted. Even when we took her into our local Tescos (it was a little one), she was grand. We decided to sit on a bench and eat some chocolate (we do this every day just to kill time really). I was going to have her sit in front of us, but then thought cause we were eating it would be better to have her lie down. She just lay there! I didn’t take her harness off cause we were only there for about 5 minutes. She did look around, but stayed lying down which was fab. I felt so proud of her!!!
I don’t think she liked the wooden floor in Waterstones though, as she kind of rushed over it lol. I think because it made a different sound than the tiles and such, and it was shiney wood. She was grand though the whole day!!!!!
I didn’t actually work her today, but I wanted her to get used to town while it was quiet, and so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of working it.
I am so pleased with today. I hope it will help her with her stops. I will still ring the team tomorrow just to get some advice really in case the stops continue. Hopefully they won’t though!!
She is lying behind me now as I type lol. Earlier mum said she was just watching me type earlier. I thought that was cute lol.
We had our first major frost this morning. I thought Ushi wouldn’t spend, but she was grand. I think she wanted to chase it afterwards though as she did a little run around. I corrected her though. I don’t want to jinx it, but when I have let her off lead around the garden, she hasn’t dug, or played chasies with me. I got her a tug toy last week and bring it out, and when she sees it, she comes running!!! I have decided to keep her on lead for her first spend and last spend (as in the morning i’m not really awake lol). But if it is raining, then I keep her on all the time just so she doesn’t play silly billies.
I’ll let you know what the team say tomorrow though. I hope you don’t get bored of these entries. I just thought i’d let you all know how everything is going.