Thursday, February 28, 2013

Training day four / disneyland!!!

Hi everyone ! Today was another great day in the life of my boy and i . Our morning started out by goimg to disneyland ! We parked in a lot which was a mile or so from the main gates and boarded the city bus . My boy and i walked on to the bus like we had been doing it for years . We quickly found a seat and off we went . It was crowded so steve instructed me to keep him on a sit rather than a down . We got to the main gate drop off area and got off the bus . When we got off we headed through the security check point and he guided me through with ease . Once through i told him to find left - again he totally rocked it ! We walked to the area where i was going to relieve him before we went im the park . I took his harness off and told him to get busy , two seconds later we had success . After we got busy we headed for the turnstyles and made our way to main street . We headed up main street and he weaved in and out of the crowds with ease . He did amazing ! He guided me perfectly from curb to curb and around crowds , taking me off the path and back on . We went off to the left where we went on a couple of rides . He was very curious on the rides but did very well with them . I was very pleased with his ability to adapt so easily to the craziness of the happiest place on earth . We hung out in the shade and did a lecture and just worked the park in small little bits . Pretty soon it was time to make our way back down main street and back to the bus . On the way out i got kind of turned around , but my boy found the way back to the bus no problem !!! Way to go boy !!!!!! We headed home and talked about a little night workout . We decided i would meet steve tonight for dinner but he would watch from a far to see us go in and order and find our seat . Mission complete , we did it without a hitch . After dinner we headed home and i let my boy run in the barn and chase the ball a little . He really loves to do this every night .
One thing i forgot to mention is that we also went to petsmart today to get him some food . We worked up and down the isles and worked on food distractoions . He did really well with this as well .
My boy is amazing and i absolutely could not be happier ! This has been an amazing journey so far and im looking forward to sharing more with all of you tomorrow , so stay tuned !

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Traning day three

Well today has come and gone in the blink of an eye . My boy continues to amaze me with every step . He is so good and so smart it just makes me smile all day long ! Kudos to his trainer and double kudos to his raisers !
So this morning steve picked us up at 8 and we headed to old town to work a route and eat breakfast. The boy worked like a champ . We worked straight down a sidewalk , weaved around people and objects , and he found every up curb and down curb without a single flaw . After the workout and breakfast , we headed over to the mall to work escilators and do a lecture about moving sidewalks . My boy found the escilators and we went up and down several without an issue . He rides very well . After we did escilator work we found a place to sit and talked about moving sidewalks . Steve and i talked about the safety of the dogs paws and how moving sidewalks were not safe like escilators were . I would never do anything to put my boy in harms way so once it was explained why , i was good with it and it made perfect sense.
In the afternoon we worked in costco and talked about the routes amd trips to come in the next week . I have a fun trip planned for tomorrow that i will tell you all about tomorrow . So stay tuned for that ! Im also looking forward to having chuck come out from the school to try to run us over next week lol . For those of you who think im serious , im not lol . Next week chuck will come help steve set up what they call a traffic check . They set it up like they are the driver who comes out of nowhere and comes around a corner really fast while im in the crosswalk . My dog should pull me out of the way like he has been trained . I know he will do great as he already is very sensitive to traffic :-).
Anyways that was about all for our day . We decided to make it a shorter day because we have a big trip planned tomorrow .
Goodnight all -

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Training day two

Well I have lots to blog about tonight . Let me just start by saying I could not be happier with my boy ! He is an absolutely amazing dog . He is such a good worker , and so very smart .
Our day started off at around 8:30 this morning. Steve picked us up and we headed straight to town . We parked in the lowes parking lot and he explained the route . First we would find the rampway to the sidewalk , and when at the botton we would turn right. After that we would work up a long path making our way through some small street crossings and eventually make it up to the busy intersection and crossing. After we crossed we would find the starbucks and grab a chai tea and chat about the route.
I put my boys harness and away we went . Find the ramp boy - good boy ! We approached the end of the ramp and he took me out to the curb . Right boy / good boy ! Thats it ... We walked with ease getting more conmfortable with each step. We finally came to a street crossing . He took me right to the edge of the curb and stopped - yes! Well done . When we were clear i gave him the forward command . This is a command we give our dogs to tell them we want them to move forward . He moved right across the street and found the up curb. He stopped , let me find it with my foot , and we were off . Forward boy . We did crossings like this until we hit the big busy intersection . I stood at the corner and listened to the traffic around us. There were big loud trucks bustling past and lots of cars going by. As soon as the cars on my left stopped and the traffic on my right went , i knew what was going to come next. I waited until i herd the surge in traffic and once the cars started passing on my left , i gave my boy the command - forward- we stepped out , glided across the intersection and he found the up curb . Again i gave him the forward command . He gladly moved forward and we went on our way. Up another block was the Starbucks where we ended our route. We chatted over chai tea about our workout and what we would do next.
After we finished our teas we worked back to the intersection and whem we got to the up curb we went left this tine . We headed to a neighborhood where we worked on some crossimgs where there were no curbs. My guy was amazing as usual ! We passed a barking dog on the end of a long line , a crazy barking dog behind a fence and a father and his little boy walking and my boy could have cared less . He is a very focused worker .
Half way through the route back to the van we came across a total barricade. This is when there is something blocking the pathway that your dog must figure out how to guide you around . He slowed then stopped . I gave him a reassuring " hop up " command and he did nothing . I reached forward to figure out what it was , and found a car parked right in the middle of the sidewalk . We let him figure out how o get around it, and of course he did !!! Did i mention how much i love this dog ?
We made it back to the lowes parking lot and did sone work inside the building before heading back home.
Steve came back later that day and had me work my boy to the front gate of the property alone . Of course my boy was great ! We worked back to the house and steve met us there . We decided we would do a little obedience in the barn since i would be going to my friend wendis obedience class and playimg games tonight with my dog since it was graduation . We closed both ends of the barn and worked obedience both on and off leash . Do i have to tell you my boy was perfect again ? Steve and i made a plan to meet at wendis class and he left .
Tonight i met steve and worked my boy in class . We played doggie tic tac toe , a game of horse , and a heeling game where you have to hold a big spoon in your left hand and balence a ball on the spoon all while heeling your dog through cones . It was a lot of fun to play games with the boy . He did great ! After class i grabbed dinner and headed home .
My boy is asleep at my bedside on his fluffy costco bed . It was a fantastic day and i cant wait for tomorrow . Stay tuned and thanks for reading :-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Training begins - day 1

Hi everyone ! Well today went great . Steve came this morning and we fit my boy for his harness and played around with the different lengths of harness handles until i found the right length. After that we sat down and came up with a game plan for the day . We decided to go easy today and just do a few things to start the boy off slow. We got in the van and drove to home depot . At home depot we worked on sweeping left and right turns and finding the door in and out . My boy was a champ !!! Then we went over to the bank so i could make a deposit . After i told him find the door inside , he took me right to the door . Good boy ! He went through the line and up to the teller like he had done it a zillion tines ! After that we headed over to the coffee shop and worked on the under . For those wondering what the under is , its a command we give our dogs to go under a table and get completely out of the way of foot traffic . The whole idea behind a good guide or service dog in a restraunt is out of sight . The best compliment you can get as a handler is " i never even saw your dog , i didnt even know he was there " . My boy does a beautiful under :-) gosh ! He really is flawless !!! After the coffee shop we headed home and did some light recall work in the barn . He came when called and loved the praise he got for it . Gosh i just love working with him ... He is so easy !
Tonight we didnt do much . Im not allowed to work him in harness alone yet so we just drove through for dinner . He is always so good about not begging .
Anyways , thats about all for today . More tomorrow ! Thanks for reading !

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last day of our weekend together

Well today went great ! We slept in , hung out all morning and listened to sunday service online . This afternoon we went out to the garden to get the beds ready for spring and to clean up the asparagus boy laid quietly in the sun , shifting every so often into the shade . He is really starting to bond to me , because i went around the corner to turn on the hose and i herd him get up right away as if to say ... Hey where ya goin ? And even though we have not started working yet, i think he knows im his person and keeping me safe is his job ! Well done good boy ! This evening was pretty uneventful , just more bonding .
Denver seems to like the little guy and sig loves him . Phoebe has her nose out of joint , but she will adjust. Fivel kitty does not seem to be bothered in the least by him , which is a great thing. I can always tell when a good dog comes in because fivel wont be disturbed by a good dog .
Tomorrow Steve comes in the morning and we will do our first workout together . I have worked him a couple of times already so at least we kind of know each other there . I will post more tomorrow so stay tuned ! Thanks for reading :-)

Correction from last post

Ok so im tired and camt type lol re read my post . So it ment to say .... For those of you who know me sitting home all day and night isnyt really me , but its crutial we bond and this is the best way .
Double yawn
Thats all - night

Day two of our weekend

Well today was another great day ! I woke up tomy boy politely putting his paw up on the edge of the bed as if to say ... Im excuse me , um i need to pee please ... Then when my eyes opened he started wagging his tail and kissing me in the face !!!! I loved waking up to this :-) i took him out and he went right away . After that was breakfast - the bowl worked ! He ate much slower . After breakfast he came with me to do my outside chores with the horses . He was perfect as usual .
We spent a lot of the morning snuggling and hanging out sippimg coffee and listening to the gac channel . Our afternoom consisted of a walk outside and some more bonding time inside . This evening we loaded all of the dogs up and drove through in n out . My boy rode like a champ and he never once begged for food !!!! Way to go boy !!!! We went home and spent some more time just hanging out together . For most of you who know me , sitting home all day and night , but this is critical i do this to ensure me and my boy form a good solid bond.
He seemed to like the fact that he got to eat two meals today too ! And that he gets a cookie at bedtime too . Hes just so darn cute .
Tonight he also got to go for another run in the barn . He really likes to do this and i think he remembered from lastnights run that the barn is his running spot ! He ran for a while then got tired and ploped down on the barn floor as if to say - ok i give lol .
Its late now and he is sound asleep next to me on his bed while i type this frommy bed .
Anyways thats all for today - stay tuned for another update tomorrow and thanks for reading !

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our first day together

Well today went great ! Steve came and stayed a couple of hours and dropped my boy off . I am not allowed to post his name yet ,so we will just call him my boy for now . The reason the school does this is to protect us as a team and ensure its a good match before we go announcing it to the www .
My boy seemed to gravitate to me pretty well right from the get go . He is super sweet and very affectionate . He will come up to me and rest his head on my lap and let me scratch him behind his ears until he falls asleep ... All while standing up ! We took a little nap together on the floor today too . Hes so good i still cant get over it . He acts like he has always lived here . Later today I took him up to the barn while I put the horses in and he behaved like a perfect angel .
After the horses were in , it was his turn to eat !!! I fed denver and sig and phoebe first to let him know he was low man in the pack and keep him humble lol . When it was his turn , he did a beautiful sit ... Wait ... Ok ... This is what we tell them when we feed them . They must first sit , wait while i set the bowl down and are not allowed to break that sit and eat till I say ok .
I noticed right off he was a typical lab ... A scarfer !!! He demolished 4 cups of food in about 30 seconds no joke !!! So guess where we landed tonight ? Yup ... Off to the feed store for a slow feed bowl we went . The bowl is designed with sections , it makes getting food out take longer , thus allowing them to eat slower . Ive got the food ready for his morning feeding , so stay tuned ! Ive also talked to steve and was given the ok to feed him 2 times a day vs 1 big meal all at once . This will help him gain weight too since steve and I agreed he can use a few extra pounds .
After the pet store we drove through for a taco salad and headed home . More bonding when we got home . And finally to end the night I let him loose in the barn for a few min. Just to get the wiggles out . Man is he a crazy silly boy off leash ! He is identical to how denver was at that age ! He will for sure be the kind of dog who enjoys a good run at the end of the day just to clear his head .

All in all i cant ask for a better more well behaved dog ! He is so good and fits right in . I guess lori bernson at GDA was right when she said to me ... You will love again I promise . And shes right , im falling in love already . Even though it will never be the same love I have for Denver , its love in a new different kind of way ! And i know when its this boys time to retire in ten years I will never love another the way I love him . Not having kids of my own ,i can see now how parents can love all of their kids all in different ways but all the same .
Goodnight from sleepy me , and zonked out puppers asleep on his huge fluffy bed on the floor next to me .

Waiting ....

I rememember the day i got Denver . I sat in the dorm room and listened as they brought dogs up one by one . And now, 9 years later ,i am sitting here at home waiting . Steve just called to say he would be here very soon ! Im excited and nervous and tearful all at the same time . I hope my boy likes it here . Its been a long road and Im ready to get the show going

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homecoming date

Just herd from Steve at GDA ... My boy comes home Friday !!! Its going to be in the afternoon sometime because his puppy raisers are coming to say goodbye to him Friday morning... I can not begin to tell you all how much a puppy raiser means to me ! Without them , I would not have my dog , my eyes . They take these dogs into their homes, love them like their own , and give them back . For a lot of raisers their puppy is like a child ... Imagine having a child and giving it up after a year and a half .
I know from personal experience raising a guide dog puppy Is a lot of work , and . My greg was a tough puppy from the get go ! He was a banshee all through his raising . You turn them in , say a prayer , and hope they make it . You wait and you wait and you wait ! Every time the school calls your heart sinks ... You think did he fail ? Did he pass ? Why are they calling me ? Then someone on the other end of the line says the words you have been waiting to hear ... Your dog has passed and is graduating ! And when the shock of that wears off , the reality sets in that you run the chance of never seeing your beloved friend again . In my case I never hear from Gregs recipent , even though he has my contact info and said he would keep in touch . I know how it feels to have the holidays pass and not even an e mail to say Greg is good . But im ok with that because I know this is the risk I ran when raising the dog .
I can only hope my raisers will want to stay in touch as I know some do not want to have relationships with their recipents . Whatever my raisers involvement is if any though , i promise to be there for them 100% giving them the reins to interact as much or as little as they would like . After all how do you not do this for someone who has given you your independence and your sight back ?
I like this saying ...
1 bag of dog food 35$
One chewed favorite slipper 15$
One bus ride to train the puppy 3$
One graduate walking independently with their guide dog

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting excited !

Bought the boy a new bed at costco today ! It wont be long now until he comes home :-) theres a chance he will come home friday , it just depends if steve gets finished with his other home train in time ! Paws crossed :-)
Heres a pic of his new bed ...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Date for training !!!

Just a quick update I got a call from guide dogs today! Steve Berkman will be doing my training. He called to let me Know that my training will begin on Monday, February 25, 2013 ! I still don't know my dogs name but that's okay whatever his name is he is an amazing amazing dog I know that much !!! I am looking so forward to starting my training with my new guy !