Highlights From Guide Dog School # 3

March 10, 2011 Maiden Voyage

Hello everyone, I thought I would give you an idea of what our days are like. We get up at 6:30am to take the dogs out and feed them. Sophie sleeps in my room with me and she did great last night-no whining. Breakfast is at 7:30 and then we load up in the vans to go to local areas to train with the dogs in harness. The locations will get increasingly more busy and active with traffic and obstacles. In between trips out in the community, we eat all our meals with the dogs, and attend classes with them-always on leash and they are all so well behaved! Our classes include obedience, grooming, and today we had one on “T-touch” which is how to give your dog a massage of sorts! It was amazing to see the affect it had on the dogs! They all turned into butter as we rubbed them in a certain way. They told us this was our way to calm them and thank them for their hard work. We are also trying to learn our GPS devices in class. Sophie is a “star pupil”. She is doing everything right and the trainer is very proud of her! So am I! It feels so fantastic to walk with her and when I feel her taking me around an obstacle or puddle I always say “Thank you Sophie!” She just glides me around things so gracefully. She is an aero-dynamic traveler 🙂 At meal time, she lies quietly at my feet and she is very good at our obedience lessons. Everyone comments on her! So today it was a bit rainy which melted some of the snow away. I am so focused on learning that I really don’t even notice the weather much while I am out in it. This was a great time to come because the class is small and we are getting lots of instruction. And I think that this has been an unusually talented group of dogs-so i have heard the staff say. Well, Sophie is asleep at my feet. I think I better go tuck her in for the night. I locked myself out of my room and will have to go get help at the desk….so good night to all…love you much, Mom, Audrey ps.-Sophie means “wise one”
March 11, 2011 She Saved My Life Today!
Today was blustery cold with new snow fall. We did an exercise called “traffic checking” and Sophie was amazing! Three times while out walking, they drove vans suddenly in our paths and she stopped dead in her tracks all three times. In fact, she sort of stepped in front of me to protect me further. Oh she is a great girl! When the test was over, i actually did have someone pull in front of us to turn into a parking lot and Sophie did her job on cue! it was so good to see this and I am so proud of her!!
Tonight we talked about “good play, bad play”. They avoid any kind of play that brings out bad habits or the retriever in them; no balls, no throwing anything for them to retrieve. No dog park visits because it is too unstructured and they pick up rough play and possible injuries. We can play with them of course, but it is intentional, safe and supervised. The only toys recommended are Nyla Bones and Kongs. But hey-she can’t complain cuz she is going to get doggie massages everyday, right??? Ha-the point is she is a “service dog” and so the rules are a bit different.Okay, gotta go for now…more later…Love, Audrey and Sophie

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