Monday, March 4, 2013

Training day eight - almost done

Well today was another great day ! Steve picked me up a half an hour early so we could stop by the school and see the vet before we went to do platform work in south Pasadena . We were going to go to union station , but decided to go to Pasadena instead .
We worked a route from a little ways away from the school and down to the kennels . Dodger did great ! I just love how focused he stays on guiding us and keeping us safe . He is such an intense worker !
Once at the vet department at the school . He was looked over and Steve was given the heads up to sign him over to me tomorrow . When you leave class at guide dogs of america you own your dogs , same thing with home training . Some other schools retain ownership for a year and some forever , it just depends on the program . I really like having sole ownership of my dogs .
After that was all taken care of , Yvonne came and got me and we took my picture for my ID and a few other pictures of my handsome boy .
We stopped at the admin building on the way out so i could say hi to Andi and Lori before i left . Just before i went in the door i herd my friend Denise's voice ! She is a puppy raiser for GDA and was there to pick something up for her puppy Pismo . She had an envelope for me that she was going to leave , but it worked out and i was able to get it from her . Here is what i found in my envelope :-)

Okay so hopefully that Picture posted above this and not below it but if it did, we will call it and I failure LOL. After Stephen I left the school we made our way to downtown Pasadena. We parked on the side of the street and I unloaded dodger from the van. Dodger , find left- good Boy ! We came to a busy crossing, dodger forward. Good boy !!! Steve then instructed me to tell him to find the ramp . Dodger, find the ramp. My boy found it with ease of course :-) We zigzagged back and forth down the ramp until we wound up at the bottom on the platform. Once we We're at the bottom of the platform Steve asked me to drop my harness handle and told me he was going to give me a brief lecture about safety and platform work. After the lecture, he asked me to pick up my harness handle and ask dodger for the forward command. Dodger forward- Good boy. Then he told me to ask dodger for the Hault dodger Hault -good boy! Then he asked me to ask dodger for the left command. Dodger left , But this time dodger would not do as I instructed. He gently pulled me off to the right away from the platform. This is what they call intelligent disobedience. Intelligent disobedience is where a dog refuses a command because they know it is not safe. This is a critical part of becoming a guide dog. If we tell our dogs left and it is not safe and Vago left anyways we could get seriously injured. If we tell our dogs left and they do not go left we are taught to follow our dogs. . This is where trust comes into play. You have to have 100% trust that your dog is making the right decision and knows better because they can see and you cannot. They are taking you away from an unsafe situation. My dodger boy was doing just that. Way to go big D !!! I praised him after he took me away from the edge and continued down the walkway. I walked about 10 feet and ask him to go left again. My boy or refused the left turn again, pulling me a little harder to the right this time as if to say no mom stay away from there it's dangerous . We reversed directions this time me on the same side as the platform dodger on my outside. We walked about 10 feet and I asked him for the right - Dodger right- Dodger refused the right command and immediately made a U-turn putting me back on the other side, and him on the platform side. . WAY TO GO MY SMART BOY ! And thank you for keeping me safe. Although this was a set up, just because the trainers leave does not mean dodger would not do this for me again . He has this so dialed into his brain, he will never forget. We will always be a safe team walking by platforms and drop offs . Stephen I D cited the exercise was over, and to end on a great note. We worked back to the van. Steve took me home and gave me an evening assignment To do on my own. I was supposed to put booties on dodger so that he could get used to them. A lot of guide dog teams use booties when the pavement is hot so that their dogs feet do not burn. We also use them in rough terrain or snowy and icy conditions . Later this evening I slipped the booties on him for what I think might have been the first time? He was absolutely hilarious !he was like a fish out of water flailing his feet everywhere. . At first he did not want anything to do with them, trying to get them off of his feet. After a a while though he accepted the booties and joyfully played in the barn with the other dogs. I love how willing this dog is to please, and how willing he is . I just want to end this post by saying I love my dog ! I also included a picture of him in his booties - enjoy !

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