#GuideDogDiaries Day 10

#GuideDogDiaries Day 10

Wow, our last full day today… Even today has sped past!

The weather was really miserable this morning, I was aching because of the damp, and due to coming down with a cold I only got a couple of hours sleep last night.

Although this really had nothing to do with my circumstances above, I managed to have the worst case scenario known to a Guide Dod owner as I attempted my first ever bus journey with Ida.

Firstly there was a pigeon right under Ida’s nose, she did do really well until the thing decided to flutter it’s wings and she tried to lunge after it.
Once that was all settled I had a lady try and distract Ida by trying to stroke her.
On her gentle leader there is a sign attached saying: Guide Dog is working, please do not distract or feed me.
The lady came over and as she went to stroke Ida she caught a glimpse of the tag on her harness, at the same time Mikyla said: please don’t distract her, she is working.

The lady got a little flustered and said
“Oh, i’m really sorry.”
“Yes it does say not to distract her.”
Sorry, i’m really sorry.”

Me:
“It’s ok, thanks for apologising, please don’t distract working dogs in future.”

Her:
“Really sorry!”
“What is her name?”

Me:
“Ida.”

Her:
*Calling out*
“Ida!!!”

Bus pulls up.

Mikyla:
“Don’t distract the dog, she is working.”

Lady:
“Oh sorry.”

Mikyla to me:
“Tell her to find the bus.”
There is a small gap but no step up.”

Me:
“Ida, find the bus.”

I trip up on to the bus edge and go flying….

Me:
“SHIT!”

Me to the Driver:
“”See, this is why I need a Guide Dog!”

SILENCE.

The bus is rammed, a wheelchair user, a Mother and pram who’s darling toddler was delightfully screaming down the bus!

We finally got to the first set of priority seats, Ida going first. Which she didn’t like very much!
Talk about making a mess of the situation; I couldn’t find my seat, nearly sat on Ida because she was blocking my seat, and then sat on the harness because it was on the seat.

All the while lovely toddler screams away.

Me:
Christ, that was a mission and a half!!”
I don’t like this very much.”

*Ida wriggling*

Shall I get her to back up into the space, it might make things a bit easier for her?”

Mikyla:
“Yes, good Idea.”

Me to Ida:
“Sorry for making a fool out of us, you did a good job though!”
“Oh look, isn’t that noisy baby just delightful to listen to?”
“You are showing her how to behave and be a good girl. Showing her how it’s done!”

Get off bus, no falling over; point to me!

Lady with screaming toddler gets off too.
“Oh, how lovely Ida, screaming baby has followed us.”

Mikyla:
“Just get her to move over here and sit, and we can discuss the route back.”

Lady 2:
“Ooh doggy!!”
*Making a beeline for us.*

Mikyla:
“Let’s move forward, we shall discuss it on the way.”

Both ladies had learning disabilities, and they were not fully aware of the complications distracting a Guide Dog can have.
Mikyla and I had to giggle, she happily exclaimed that this was the worst case scenario for bus travel… Everything from now on will feel like a breeze!

Ida did fantastically on the route back to the car, it was a longer walk than what we have been doing, and towards the last few minutes of the journey the damp was really affecting my knee.
It became much stiffer and I had to slow down considerably. Lots of love for Ida because she slowed right down and allowed me to walk at a pace that was more comfortable.

The only issue we faced on the way back was at the zebra crossing. She slightly over walked so I had to turn her around and get her to find it after correction.
We settled nicely and I heard a driver coming very fast towards us…
I knew he wasn’t going to slow down so I put my hand up to signal what are you doing?!

But he just drove straight past…
So I shouted after him that he was a bellend!
This made Mikyla laugh and react in a similar manner!

The afternoon was far more carefree, we took our Dogs’ for a free run, sadly not together though.
Ida spotted Hope and barked and whined when she realised what she was doing.

When it was her turn, Ida was clearly excited.
She started to pull on her gentle leader and speed up her pace.
We combatted this by walking away from the free run area, this automatically slows her down.
And when she got too overexcited I got her to sit.
I had to do this several times.

You want your Guide Dog to let off steam, charge around and be a normal dog. The issue is, they are still a working dog and you do not want to get them hyped up and losing control.
By slowing her down and giving her commands such as “steady” and “sit” I was able to calm her down so she entered the free run area much calmer and focused.

When I let her off the lead she went speeding off, running here there and everywhere and even made some doggy friends.

There was a Doberman Puppy and a Spaniel out with their owners.
The owner of the Spaniel was throwing a ball about for his dog, and Ida and the Doberman puppy decided to join in.
Neither were as fast as this Spaniel, but they seemed to be having lots of fun anyway.

The guy with the Spaniel kept walking further and further afield away from us, even though he was fully aware that Ida and the puppy were following.

After a good while I blew my whistle to recall Ida. This failed miserably because the guy threw the ball every time I blew my whistle so Ida was far more interested in what he was doing than what I was wanting her to do.
He kept moving further and further away making it even harder for me to get Ida’s attention.
Even Mikyla wasn’t having any luck blowing the whistle and recalling her.

It took Mikyla to go over and get Ida for her to actually come back.
The reason she was not coming back was because she had somehow managed to get the tennis ball, and refused to let it go.
She is such a cheeky madame!!

When she finally came back, she was panting like a good one, at least chasing the dog and ball has worn her out!

Ida rested all afternoon, and it wasn’t until dinnertime things became a bit chaotic.
I took her out to spend and she became very stubborn, not coming back to me when I called her.

In fairness to her there were a lot of distractions in the form of people using the fire exit and walking past the spending run, but it took me a good 5 minutes to get her to come to me.

When we left the spending run it was like she was spooked, she pulled and pulled on her lead and I even had to get her to sit, in order for her to steady.

When we got down to dinner she headed straight under the table and wouldn’t reverse. I had to physically pull her back by her lead.

Thankfully I got her settled down and the rest of the evening went off without any stress.

When I spoke to Adam about it he did say that high distraction levels, the wind and her gentle leader slipping off her nose may have all contributed to her erratic behaviour.

I’m glad to say she settled quickly and she has been fine ever since.

Adam had mentioned that Hope had watched him pack and her behaviour had changed.
Maybe the dogs can sense something is going on?

All I can say, is i’m glad my little pup is back and I plan to give her lots of fuss and cuddles as soon as i’ve hit publish on this post.




Things I’ve Learned.

•Ida prefers her space after a free run because she has knackered herself out so much.

•Ida really does not like the hairdryer!
I went to use it on her this afternoon from our very wet soppy walk and she literally freaked out.
This has made me very concerned that something has happened to her with a hairdryer and it has spooked her since.

•When the gentle leader is not around her nose, the strength through the lead is far stronger and I feel like she is constantly pulling.

She loves making new doggy friends! 🙂

•She doesn’t like feeling like she is missing out!



I’ve packed the majority of our things, i’m really excited to be going home tomorrow, I just hope Ida settles quickly and doesn’t get too stressed.

Wish me luck!

And as always, i’ll keep you updated 🙂 xxx

#GuideDogDiaries Day9

#GuideDogDiaries Day 9

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since my lovely pup was handed over to me! I am loving learning and experiencing new things with and about Ida everyday! 🙂

In the morning we set off for the same area as the day before to run through traffic awareness.
We covered the same routes and that darned lady in the blue car was still trying to run us over!
Ida was 100% responsive and did not get us maimed or killed: winning! 🙂

Because the morning was so successful and we were close to the shopping centre we decided to head straight there instead of breaking for lunch and coming back again in the afternoon.

We followed the building all the way around, giving Ida plenty of opportunities to steer me through crowds, objects and furniture.

Again I was totally in control of Ida on harness, Mikyla didn’t use the support lead and deliberately followed behind us so Ida would not get distracted by her.

Ida worked very well, listening to me every time I told her “over” “left” and “right”.
She really has been a joy to work with on harness and it’s great that she is very responsive to me now! 🙂

I only had to correct her the once.
A part of the wall had jutted out, and Mikyla got me to stop, tell Ida “watch” and “over”, if Mikyla hadn’t of stopped us, Ida would have caught/ walked me into the wall.
These moments are all learning experiences for both of us, and it makes Ida more aware of the distance between us and the inner shoreline.

Ida successfully took me to the toilets, overshot the cubicle, and when I pointed this out to her she shot in there as if she was the one desperate for the loo!
I even got her to guide me to the sink, handdryer and get me back out into the mall.

We met up with Adam and Hope on the last leg of the journey, and the girls stayed nice and calm until Adam deliberately tried to get Ida’s attention, she held off for a little while, but this girl can’t refuse a fuss!
So naturally I got my own back by distracting Hope! 😉
Once the fun was over we headed back out and towards the car.

Ida made us chuckle; asking her to find the car she decided to head off to the car parking space where the car was parked the day before, instead of looking around at where the car actually was… She found her way eventually! 🙂

The afternoon was spent playing and having lots of down time before we headed down to dinner.

When we first arrived she did try to commando crawl under the table . to pick up a crumb i’m sure… But when I put on my authoritative voice, she settled down very nicely and stayed relaxed for the whole meal.




Things I’ve Learned.

•Ida and I have a great partnership on and off harness, but her obedience is paramount when on harness.

•I too have to be vigilant that if I feel myself getting too close to inner shorelines or objects, a quick flick of the harness and “over” really works wonderfully.

If Ida is trying to turn and I don’t want her to and she may not have registered my commands, stepping right up to her head and using my body to physically block/ push her in the right direction will always work.

She loves finding things even when she is not on harness.
•She is getting so good at finding our hotel room door! 🙂

•She loves playing with me, and especially when her toys are involved.
I even have to ask her to leave her toy dinosaur behind when I put on her gentle leader.
I deliberately leave it near the door, (where I put her lead on), so she heads straight for it as soon as her gentle leader has been removed!
It is the cutest thing!



I cannot believe that it is our last full day at the hotel tomorrow!
I’ve absolutely loved being here at the hotel with her, but I am truly excited to be taking her home and settling her in.

All going well, mostly weather dependant, we are going to be taking our dogs on a free run and doing our first bus journey together! I’m really looking forward to it! 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 8

#GuideDog Diaries Day 8

I can’t believe it’s Monday already! This week has sped past and i’m loving every minute of it!Even when Ida tries to be a little madame! 😉

Last night I had a bit of a scary moment.
At dinner we were not in our usual area for eating so when it came time to leave the cafe I became disorientated.
Not that I realised that at the time…
I ended up heading in the opposite direction to my room and tried to get Ida to “find the way” (don’t do this when your dog is not on harness).
She ended up taking me to a flight of stairs that went down into the bar.
I only knew this when it was too late and i dropped onto the first step. Luckily I caught myself and got Ida to stop.

I took her back over to where we were sitting and set off again.
Again, asking her to find the way.
The same thing happened again.
I will point out here that stairs have always scared me., my arthritis hinders a steady and smooth assent or descent, meaning I can lose my balance quickly, which can then end in disaster.

Ida once again took me over to the steps and walked down them, because I was still totally unaware that i was going the wrong way, I got a shock all over again, and I became very stressed.
Thankfully a member of staff noticed me and came over to offer help, she got us to our corridor and i thanked her and headed to my room.

It wasn’t until I was safely in the room that the terror hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I phoned Gary and started crying, saying I didn’t know how I would cope having a Guide Dog.

I’m truly scared off stairs, and falling down them. So much so that I was reserved about having a Guide Dog and having it pull me down the stairs.
I was so scared and unsettled I didn’t want to train with Ida, encase it happened again and this time one or both of us weren’t so lucky.

Gary helped calm me down and see sense, explaining that I really needed to tackle my fear of stairs with Ida, speak with Mikyla in the morning, and ask her to show me how to manage stairs safely.

I felt better after talking to Gary and gave Ida some cuddles, more so for my own comfort than anything else.

I woke up ready to tackle the day.

I spoke with Mikyla first thing and she reassured me that it’s ok to be scared and stressed, but of course with us both being disorientated Ida took me back to the same place a second time because she wasn’t sure what I was actually asking of her.
All of this is my fault and I took and take full responsibility for it, and I think once I slept on it, and saw just how much I had expected of Ida when she wasn’t on harness and I was steering her in the wrong directions, I would be ok to manage stairs with her as long as I was under the guidance of Mikyla.

I skipped lunch and spent time bonding with Ida, I felt terrible for my behaviour the night before and knew that this gorgeous little pup was the best decision I had made.
Also, not one to be defeated by my own psyche I decided that i was going to take Ida up and down a flight of stairs to ease myself into it, and put a lot of rigidity on the gentle leader so I would not allow her to pull me.
This was successful and made me feel more confident that I could slow her down, or even speed her up if she wasn’t going the right speed for me on the stairs.

In the afternoon after our walk I asked Mikyla if I could do stairs with Ida on harness and under her supervision, which she fully supported.

Having Ida on harness, on the stairs, especially going down, made the world of difference to me and my confidence.
She was far more controlled and because the harness Is a metal handle there is no room for slack, which gave me the perfect walking distance between us when travelling down the stairs!
The relief I felt was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but give my pup the biggest love and fuss she deserved!

Mikyla also said that there was other options of using the stairs with a Guide Dog and she gave me instructions on the different methods available.
I tried them all, but having Ida on harness was definitely the best way for me to travel on stairs safely and confidently! 🙂

As Gary rightly said the night before, i’m going to make mistakes, and doing it while on training is the best time, because I have support in the form of Mikyla to talk things through and find new solutions to each and every challenge I face.
This is exactly why I love him, he knows me better than I know myself and he brings me back to a place of sanity and roundedness! 🙂

The very best part of the day definitely had to be the morning, a day of my life I will never forget!
WE did traffic awareness.
Traffic awareness is when you and your Guide Dog are in a controlled environment, in the form of another GDMI, driving a car at you and your Guide Dog, and wanting/ hoping that they will spot the car and disobey your command to cross the road!

We did near traffic: asking Ida to cross the road right as a car is pulling up in from of you.
You give the command to go; “forward” and you want them to stay stock still/ plant themselves and not go.
I am beyond ecstatic to say that Ida did this perfectly and disobeyed me!

As Ida is such an obedient Guide Dog on harness both Mikyla and I were apprehensive that she would follow my command and try and move.
Mikyla reminded us that we needed to stay as calm as possible, use your normal voice, and if, Ida did move forward, gently correct her and say “no.”

My clever little pup didn’t move a muscle, completely disobeyed me, and shocked me so much that I actually squealed with excitement and gave her massive fuss…
Mikyla had to tell me to calm down haha, and we both laughed about it.

Because this was a controlled environment and Suzie was driving the car, as part of the traffic awareness she deliberately stopped and didn’t pull off straight away. Giving me time to ask Ida to go forward again.
Again she did not move, and i’m happy to report, I managed to keep my composure this time too! 😉

Once I had waved Suzie on, and checked all traffic was clear, I got Ida to cross the road. 🙂

One of our controlled traffic awareness tests was to cross a back alley where Ida’s view was blocked by a wall.
I was to tell her to go forward, and when she saw the car approaching she was to stop.
Again, if she did not, it was a firm no, but not chastising.
We want our Guide Dog to learn through positive
reinforcement, not negative reinforcement.

The other type of traffic awareness we did together was far traffic.
This involved crossing the road and Suzie meeting us in the middle. The goal was for Ida to stop us continuing to cross the road.
We did this twice, and both times she aced it!
Mikyla reassured me that Suzie would be travelling quicker, because she had to time it correctly to meet in the middle.
I will admit when I heard the engine go faster than it had previously I was a bit nervous, but I knew this was a controlled environment, and Ida was amazing!

The last type of traffic awareness we did was being vigilant of a car pulling into a drive. Stopping us continuing, even as we were walking at a steady pace in the middle of the pavement.
She did a cracking job, and I made sure the driveway was 100% clear before I asked her to go on.
This meant she was aware it was safe to continue.

In the afternoon we went back to a familiar area, where we have been doing our walks.
Ida took me through the town, full of human traffic and obstacles. This included bus stops, bollards, A-Boards, wheeliebins, parked cars and the odd dog and pigeon distraction.
She did fabulously!
We also did a number of different crossings including, side streets, driveways, 4 way intersections, zebra, pelican and split pelican crossings.
This was the first time I was out in the area without Mikyla using the support lead to assist me and gently move Ida.
As I had had some practice the day before in the mall, I was far more confident asking Ida to move over if I felt her going too close to anything.

This was also the first time i had done a split crossing with Ida and she did a brilliant job of guiding me!

As I had been getting Ida to move across a lot in our last couple of walks together she was very aware of keeping a safe distance from objects.
This just happened to include the pedestrian crossing button box.
With my little arms and legs I couldn’t quite reach far enough so I got her to come up to my side after I had positioned myself next to the button.




Things I’ve learned.

•How to walk up and down stairs using both the gentle leader and harness.

•What to do in each situation when there is near or far traffic.

•If Ida goes in a different direction to the way i’m asking, and she doesn’t register, then getting her to sit and doing a controlled turn works very well.

•If Ida is not sitting straight before setting off, and she seems to be getting in a pickle correcting herself, putting the gentle leader in your right hand and feeding it around your back, and then swapping back to the left hand will get her straightened up perfectly.

•Ida does not like to be benched: a battle of wills occurred this morning, and after speaking to Mikyla, she said to put her lead on, and this will snap her back into doing what you want.



After my wobble the night before it was great to wake up happy and ready to take on the day.

Ida’s fabulous traffic awareness, smooth and safe stair travel and then having a focused afternoon really reminded me just why this little pup is perfect for me and just how lucky I am to have her!
I’ve known her 5 minutes and I love her so much already! ❤

Bring on tomorrow, round 2 of traffic awareness! 🙂 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 7

#GuideDogDiaries Day 7

With it being Sunday we were able to have a bit of a lazy morning, well Gary did; I still got up with Ida. I did manage to sleep in until 08:00 which was great! 🙂
We headed down for breakfast and decided to treat ourselves to a naughty cooked breakfast.
Because the restaurant is so hectic in the mornings we’ve been asked to leave our dogs’ in the hotel room.

As Ida has been pushing the boundaries and getting onto the bed Mikyla said it was best to bench her.
Benching is where you use a specific lead and tie it around a sturdy surface and attach the dog to it.
This is good because it meant that although the lead itself wasn’t short, it was short enough that Ida could not climb onto the bed, which is exactly what she tried to do before the lead stopped her a foot short.

When we came back we made sure not to give her attention, as to not excite her. After a few minutes I released her from the benching lead and gave her lots of praise for being good.

Gary was invited by Mikyla to join us on our walk. We headed off to the city centre again and headed for the mall.
As it was a Sunday it was a lot less busy than the previous day.

From a mobility standpoint I was actually quite uncomfortable and felt my right foot sticking right out as I was walking.

This was the first time Mikyla relinquished the use of the support lead, giving me more scope to really feel Ida and have more control of her while she was on harness. Unfortunately with my foot pointing outwards at an angle to the right this then encouraged Ida to slightly come across me meaning she too was going slightly at a right angle instead of being straight at my left hand side.
I had to keep telling Ida “over,” giving a flick of the harness off to the left and saying the command.
This made her more aware that she needed to be straighter and more streamlined, rather than following the angle my body was taking us.

Mikyla really insisted I do this because it is good for Ida’s awareness and cements her obedience.
I did feel guilty though because this was the first time I had full control of her on harness by myself, I really had to tug the harness to get her to move across.
Mikyla assured me it wasn’t uncomfortable to Ida, but it didn’t stop me feeling bad.

I did manage to bump into a man slightly and I did say a snooty excuse me, but I was quickly informed that he had tried to manoeuvre out the way but as Ida was so close, and I hadn’t made her move over, it was going to happen. Oops!

We walked through the mall and Mikyla said that we were going to head into M&S, a route that Ida had been learning, so I was to relax and let her take the lead.
We walked through the food and then clothing section, she moved me beautifully and smoothly. I was very impressed! 🙂
It really is great to be able to give them that scope to make decisions and let them lead the way. It enhances their level of concentration as a Guide Dog and shows us how well they learn and remember routes!

In the car on the way back Gary explained how interesting it was to walk behind and watch us together. He did say that he was unnerved at some points where it looked like Ida was going to walk me into someone or something, but right at the last moment she smoothly and successfully managed to guide me around the object in question.
Gary said it gave him a better insight into how important the partnership is between Guide Dog and owner, and how impressed he was with her focus and work ethic! 🙂

With it being a Sunday and both Adam and I having visitors Mikyla gave us the afternoon off.
This gave Gary and ida more chance to bond and have fun together.
I could definitely tell they both had a soft spot for one another! 🙂
It was perfect to see them bonding so well and Ida being so at ease with having Gary around, It makes me more excited for us going home next week 🙂

Gary left after 7 in the evening and because neither of us were sure how Ida would react to him leaving, I made sure to distract her with food not too long after he left.
They did have some playtime not long before he left, but I encouraged Gary to then get her to relax and settle down before he was due to leave, that way Ida wouldn’t be too wound up or overexcited.
I definitely think the food made a perfect distraction! 😉



Things I’ve learned.

•It is a big difference taking full control of Ida in harness in comparison to having Mikyla using the support lead and helping to keep her straight.

•Ida will follow the pattern/ angle of my body as I am walking,. so if I am having a tough day with my leg jutting out I have to keep her as straight as I can.

•Using the word over: giving the verbal command and giving the harness a good flick gesture to move over.
This was tough because I did have to put a lot of arm strength into it because of my awkward body angle.

•When she is familiar with a route, Ida’s concentration is at peek level and she is very steady and careful guiding me through all different types of obstacles.

•having Gary visit was actually really important for their bond and interaction together.
Even though they have only met that once, i’m hoping this will make the transition to going home much smoother.



I’m really ecstatic because I got to see Gary, have some quality time with Ida, and, having him be so calm and gentle with Ida,, and, being on board with obedience made me appreciate them bonding even more.

#GuideDogDiaries Day6

#GuideDogDiaries Day 6

Today is the day that Gary and Ida meet for the first time, I can’t tell who is more excited me or Gary!
Since being in the hotel I have video called Gary, but Ida clearly didn’t understand the concept so wasn’t interested!

In the morning we set off toward some countryside, both girls were having their free run.
A free run is where you take your Guide Dog to a safe and open environment for the dog to run around, let off steam, and really have some down time being a proper dog.

Ida absolutely loved it! Thankfully the weather was dry so it gave me plenty of time to enjoy her wondering around, running and playing with other dogs.
She managed to source out a pond and decided to go for a little splash… So when she came back needless to say she was rather soggy!

Although I was with Mikyla, it’s a good idea to keep walking, that way your dog is very likely to follow because they don’t want to stray too far away from you.

When I wanted Ida to return I gave 3 short sharp blows to my whistle to get her attention and get her to come back to me.
As you use the whistle to signal permission for your Guide Dog to eat their breakfast/ dinner, they will then come back to you on a free run after you have blown the whistle because they associate the whistle with food.

As Guide dogs are on a very controlled diet giving them food every time they do return to you on a free run is not the best idea, but it’s ok to do this once in a while.
Dogs in general feed of praise and positive reinforcement, so giving them fuss and saying good girl when you blow the whistle and they return, they will thrive off that positive response and continue good behaviour and obedience.

I had so much fun watching Ida go a bit crazy, especially playing and chasing other dogs.She really fed off the fun and interactions with them! 🙂

Guide Dogs the charity are against throwing balls or sticks for dogs, as they can choke on either, and the stick could splinter and get lodged in their mouth.
If you want to throw something for your Guide Dog it’s suggested that you bring a toy that is safe and throw that, or bring along the type of toy that they can play tug of war with.
In most instances Guide Dogs have so much energy that they actually prefer just running around and going wild, and of course playing with other dogs. 🙂

After their free run, and with 2 wet dogs in the car, we set off towards the city centre.
The goal was to experience walking through a busy shopping mall, and giving Ida that opportunity to guide me through people and navigate.

Ida and Mikyla have been training in this particular shopping centre, so she has a rough idea of where she is going.
As a Guide Dog owner it’s your duty to give them the correct commands on where you would like them to go.
With this situation Ida had a very clear route in her mind, so it was just a case of her taking the lead and allowing me to relax and give that control over to her.

We walked around in a big block and apart from her wanting to pop into Greggs for some lunch, she pretty much stayed in control and steered me the whole way.
She took me through the crowds with great ease and even took me to the toilet,: the larger cubical of the womens’’ toilets.
I want to emphasise that Ida is a very intelligent dog. but she has been doing this route with Mikyla. She is not some superdog; with a built in Sat Nav, she has had to learn the route, and still take commands from me to steer her in the correct direction.

I was amazed at how smoothly she moved us through the busy mall, avoiding people, buggies and furniture.
It was a Saturday morning, so you can imagine just how hectic it was!

We did have one incident with an idiotic member of the public… As you can guess there was lots of human traffic everywhere, crossing in-front and behind us, so Ida really had to concentrate to get me through it.
There was one woman who decided to walk directly at us. Ida moved left as far as she could without walking us into more people, but this still didn’t stop me walking full pelt into this dozy bint.
Mikyla said she saw the woman clocking us but just didn’t bother stopping or moving across.
When I walked full front into her I gave her a glare and very loudly said: “Excuse me!!”
This made many heads turn and Mikyla giggle.
Maybe next time the dozy git will know not to walk straight at and into a blind person and their Guide Dog!
I would like to clarify that yes, she did see me, and yes she had plenty of space to move across and get out of the way. She just chose not to.
So in all cases I will make a scene and make you look a fool.

Apart from that minor incident we got through the mall unscathed and Ida even managed to take me all the way back to the car.
I couldn’t have been more proud of my little pup!
Her natural intelligence is evident, but I do have to say a massive thank you to the puppy walker, and most importantly Mikyla for their fantastic training, because without them Ida would not be half the Guide Dog she is! 🙂

We had just finished lunch as Gary arrived. Ida instantly got very excited and interested in this new person.
She was on her gentle leader so I got her settled very quickly and then Gary gave her some love and attention.
Gary and I had talked at length beforehand about their first interaction.His very calm and relaxed manner made Ida instantly at ease, and she settled very quickly.
This is very important to any interaction with a Guide Dog, but specifically your first time.

I’m extremely happy to report that Ida dotes on Gary, just as much as I do! 🙂
When we got back to the hotel room, they had a proper chance to spend lots of downtime together. It was so wonderful seeing them play together and have lots of cuddles.
Back in the room I stayed in the background so-to-speak to give them time to bond. It was cute to see Ida looking at me for guidance, or popping to check I was still there. 🙂
Gary did a brilliant job of keeping Ida relaxed, even during play time. He used commands such as “leave it” and “good girl” when they played.
This helped her understand the boundaries and have a respect for him.

They definitely are a match made in heaven, and I can’t wait for us to go home next week and become a proper family unit! 🙂



Things Ive Learned.

•Recall is a great way of encouraging positive behaviour and obedience.
•When I didd blow the whistle and Ida returned, I put her on the lead for about a minute, and walked along with her before letting her off the lead to go and play again.
This is a positive way of communicating to Ida that just because the lead is on, does not mean we are automatically leaving.
This also means that she will keep coming back when recalled because it isn’t the end of her fun.

•When you recall your Guide Dog and they are speeding towards you:: slightly bending your knees, hold your hand out like a stop sign, and, saying steady will get them to slow down so they don’t come crashing into you at full speed.
Ida definitely needs this! 😉

•When a guide Dog is in a familiar area and doing a familiar route, you can relax a lot more and give them that scope to get you around safely and smoothly.

•As long as it is in within their sight, and not in a dangerous place, you can give your Guide Dog the command to “find the car” and they will take you to it! 🙂



I really hope you are enjoying our journey, and that I am giving you some insight into how we are fairing together, and how much of a clever cookie she is! 😉

#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

Today has been full of fun and new adventures,well aside from the 06:00 AM alarm in the form of Ida barking!
I know she isn’t barking to be naughty, she’s either giving the noise a warning or she’s unhappy about the noise.
It wasn’t until I spoke with Adam later on that Ida barking had set off Hope… Ooops!

Our walk this morning was in a shopping centre type building, Ida and Mikyla have been training there so it was a chance for me to see how pro-active she is when she is on harness and knows exactly where she is going!
We walked through a carpark with her stopping at each kerb even if it wasn’t necessary for her to do so.
She veered off to the left and walked through automatic doors. As it was indoors the floor was lovely and smooth so it made the walk even more enjoyable and relaxing for me.

She weaved through people, past objects and furniture, and when she got to the end of the route she went straight to the automatic doors and headed left, back in the direction towards the carpark!
I was seriously impressed! If this is what she is like on a familiar route, I cannot wait for us to do routes together in places I actually know!
She is such a confident dog on harness and i’m so proud of her work ethic and minuscule distractions!

Before we headed back out for our second walk Mikyla taught me how to tackle stairs with Ida.
You get the dog to find the stairs and she put her front 2 paws on the first step and waits. This is so you can find the step, step up and then judge the depth of the step itself.
When you are comfortable you tell the dog to set off and you use the lead to control the speed you want your Guide Dog to go.

On the way down Ida sat at the edge of the stairs and waited, this gave me a chance to find the handrail and stairs.
I then stepped down onto the first step and asked her to come when I was ready for her to join me.
Her pace was fine until we got to the last 3 steps, she decided to go a little faster, and as the handrail stopped 2 steps before the stairs finished this made me really unsteady and uncomfortable.
Mikyla said that this happens with all dogs because they get into a rhythm, and I am just to hold the lead firmly and tell her to steady if I need her to slow down.
She wants to make sure that I am comfortable and confident to use stairs safely.
I’m going to definitely practise with Ida more tomorrow. 🙂

In the afternoon we headed towards the area we have been working in previously, this is so that both you and your Guide Dog can tackle a familiar route together and it gives you time to work the dog.

For this walk Mikyla reduced the tension on her support leader giving me a chance
to really steer ida on my own.
it definitely felt different; there was more tension in the harness as we walked and if I needed to make her steady or pay attention I would do a small jerk of the handle, to add a bit more dominance to her through the harness.
This isn’t painful to the dog, it’s a bit like a friend giving you a nudge if you were to fall asleep in lectures.

I did have to do this twice.
Once because Ida walked me into a wheeliebin.
I corrected her by taking her back to the setting off position and as we approached the bin I did a flick of the harness and said over.
Ida is so switched on that she did automatically move over this time, but it’s good practise for both of us to remind her that she needs to be aware of our width together.

The way Mikyla explained it to me was that Ida is still learning our width together and as this is very different to the width of her and Mikyla, she is having to readjust.
This also happened because Mikyla had allowed me to take full control of Ida on harness instead of steering her gently with the support lead.

The second time happened when we were approaching a down sloping kerb.
Mikyla had previously mentioned if I felt Ida going off to the left or right, I should flick the harness and tell her to go straight on.
As we approached the kerb I felt Ida veering off to the left. I flicked the harness and said no, straight on.She followed my direction and then stopped.
I bent down to give Ida a fuss for listening and as I did so my hood slightly grazed a stone bollard.
The reason Ida was going off to the left was to avoid the bollard and get me to a safe part of the kerb to cross.

Mikyla said she had an inclination to what would happen but she wanted to see what would happen if I would correct her. Which I did.
Immediately I felt terrible, Ida was doing the right thing and I made her go off course.
Mikyla said that sometimes things like that will happen, especially in environments I don’t know. She said I did the right thing by correcting Ida, because I thought she was going wrong, and when it does happen just give Ida praise for paying attention and doing as she was told, even when she knew which way to go.

A massive highlight of the day has to be when Ida took me into the Co-Op.
This is a route she has been learning with Mikyla, and wow was she amazing!
She found he automatic doors, turned right as we got into the shop, found a smaller set of doors and sat by them so I could judge the width and tell her to go.
She then took me through thee aisles without me catching anything. She stopped infant of a queue of people until there was a gap in the crowd and she gently manoeuvred us both through the queue.
She then stopped just after,, by the Irn Bru was, Mikyla has been training her to stop at. And then I gave the command to find the door, and she took us out the doors.
She did it so gracefully it was absolutely easy going and relaxed!
I don’t think i’ll ever forget that moment. It was so beautifully executed; ida was totally in control and utterly confident.
I’ll never forget the calmness that fell over me even though I had absolutely no clue where she was going!

On the way back to the hotel we popped into Pets At Home for a nosey; wow they like to hike up the prices for things don’t they?
But it was good to see the sort of things I can get for Ida. 🙂
Also, we saw a rabbit that was flat out on it’s side and fast asleep, but it looked eerily like it was dead!
And another rabbit who had one floppy ear and one stiff ear sticking straight up!

When we came back I decided to groom Ida, i’m really glad she likes being groomed, it’s good to see her so relaxed and zone out. 🙂

At dinner, Ida was great. There was a few distractions but she listened to me when I wanted her to settle down.

Oh boy, I actually had tears streaming down my face when it was time to go back to the room.
The bit of the harness that sits over her mouth and nose had come loose, and because I was all fingers and thumbs trying to put it back on I removed the lead so I could put it back on correctly.
This was when she decided to wonder off and wouldn’t come back to me when i called her (she was only about 2 foot away but still). I had to go over to her, I tried to get her to sit so I could put the gentle leader back on but the combination of her being on a tiled floor and her not being interested she started slipping about.
I guided her back to the carpet and got her to sit. She was completely uninterested and thought it would be fun to collapse on a heap on the floor.
At this point I was already giggling, but that ramped up to shoulders shaking kind of laughter… I put the gentle leader over my hand and guided it towards her nose, just as I got to her mouth she stuck out her tongue and licked the inside of my hand.
I removed my hand and repeated the process, but she just kept on sticking her little tongue out every time it was about to be placed over her mouth and nose.
After she snuck under the chair I managed to slip it on.
Maybe this isn’t as funny on paper, but honestly at the time I couldn’t stop crying!
Even Adam laughed along with me, telling me to never give up my sense of humour, because it’s good practise for the future when she wants to be be difficult!

As soon as the gentle leader was on, she went back to good dog mode! 🙂
I love her cheeky side, her character is just brilliant.
Her happiness and cheekiness is magnetising 🙂




Things I’ve Learned.

•Learning how to go up and down stairs with a guide dog, I definitely need more practice!

•I cannot leave empty food bags on the bed and then leave the room: ida rips them to shreds!
Clearly the smell of food is far too tempting for her not to jump onto the bed and grab it down.
I think she thinks i’m depriving her of food!

•She is so good at direction and knowing our routine within the hotel she now knows how far away to sit from each door so I can open it to get us both through, not only this but she finds the door when I ask her to.
Technically when a Guide Dog is on a gentle leader she is not guiding you so you shouldn’t ask her to find things but I think it’s good practise for her listening to me, plus she gets a massive fuss every time she is right! 🙂

•She enjoys being mischievous but will snap back into good dog mode when the gentle leader is back on.

•She loves company but also enjoys her own company; every time we come back from somewhere and have had some playtime together she takes herself off to her bed and entertains herself.
It’s great knowing that she’s not needy and will come see me when she wants attention 🙂



I’m so excited for tomorrow, we are heading to a proper shopping centre, AND Gary is coming to visit!
I can’t wait for them to meet, I can tell Ida is going to be a proper little flirt!
And of course, I shall let you know all about it! 🙂




🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

It’s the cutest thing waking up each morning, getting out of bed and Ida noticing; she comes running up to the end of the bed and wags her tail excitedly. How could that not put a smile on your face everyday? 🙂

She’s definitely more relaxed with me now, and has been testing the boundaries in the case of jumping up onto the bed!

I got a shock after turning off my hairdryer and hearing a jingling coming from behind.

I put on my stern voice and told her off. She just sat smiling and wagging her tail!
It wasn’t until I got hold of her collar gently tugging her towards the edge of the bed and saying off that she decided to listen!

I shared this with Mikyla this morning and she gave a little laugh and said yes, she’s pushing the boundaries to see how much she can get away with!
Funnily enough Hope had done the same to Adam this morning too!
I think they had a cheeky conversation the night before and see who could outsmart us first! 😉

The walk this morning was good, the bitter weather made me quite stiff but that didn’t seem to phase Ida, she is so in tune with slowing down when I physically can’t walk at her pace. I’m so incredibly lucky to have her.
I give Ida so much praise when she does this, especially because i’m not even asking her to slow down!

Later on in the morning Morvan from the health and well being team came in to chat to us about caring for our dogs’ health and how to notice behaviours in a dog when they are not feeling quite right.
It was reassuring to know that I can pick up the phone at anytime if i’m worried or have questions.

Ida was a total whirlwind when we first went into the room, new smells and lots of faces, I had to be firm with her to get her to settle, but when she did, I only had to ask her to lie down once.
It’s fab knowing that she is becoming really receptive to me. It’s a pleasure having a charismatic dog that also knows when it’s time to listen. 🙂

In the afternoon we went on a slightly different walk compared to the morning; full of lots of types of road crossings, pelican and zebra crossings and fantastic guiding through lots of people and street furniture.

Ida certainly had her business head on this afternoon, I could tell she was full of energy and really wanted to work.

She got big love and praise throughout our walk but it’s so rewarding to remove her harness and give her so much fuss and attention for being so assertive and hardworking.

The walk obviously hadn’t burned off enough energy for her because as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was sitting on the sofa she came up to me with her toy dinosaur: her way of telling me she wants to play.
I threw it across the room and couldn’t help but laugh as she sped of and skidded around the room retrieving it and having me repeat the process.

She got a little too excited because she thought the bed was another part of the game! The second she jumped up i stood up, cleared my voice, said a firm no and pointed to the ground… instantly she got down!

I can’t explain the feeling I get having that fun with her yet still having that respect for me that she does as she’s told.

As strange as it sounds i’m actually enjoying her pushing the boundaries and being mischievous; she’s always keeping me laughing!

I can’t believe it’s Friday tomorrow, time really does fly when you’re having fun!




Things Ive Learned.

•Ida thrives off working. I can’t put into words how happy that makes me.

•When finding a pelican crossing: Ida takes me to the kerb edge, but right next to the crossing button, this means I can reach out and press the button and wait in a secure place to cross.

•Ida is so tiny she can sit up straight while being under the table. OK not on her best Guide Dog behaviour, but it’s very funny, and not to mention super cute!!

•She is learning the layout of the hotel: knowing to sit at doors and wait, but also how far away she needs to sit so when it opens it won’t catch her.

•Loud noises don’t startle her: we had fire alarms and unexpected bangs happening and she didn’t react.

•Food is even more precious to her than I first thought: as she was scoffing her dinner, a bit flew out of the bowl,, she bolted to it and inhaled it before returning to the bowl to finish it off.
You definitely had to be there to appreciate just how funny it was!!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we are tackling stairs and going to a different area completely to walk new routes 🙂

I hope you are enjoying our journey so far? 🙂

Much love, x




#GuideDogDiaries Day 3

#GuideDogDiaries Day 3

It’s been such a positive day today: breakfast went smoothly, and although she definitely has it sussed what is going on when I go to the wardrobe (i’m either getting her food or grabbing my jacket) she isn’t overbearing with her obvious excitement.
Ida is certainly a character and i’m lucky to have her!

This morning we went for a walk around the area we were in yesterday, however more road crossings, traffic and distractions were in place to test her obedience and our bond together.

Considering it was a new environment for me in the case of uneven paving and more concentration the walk was very smooth and relaxed.

Ida definitely enjoys working, she is certainly a dog that likes purpose! She thrives off of approaching kerbs, she even stops and sits right at the edge without me having to ask!

There was a break between our first walk and lunch so I took this time to groom Ida. It was a lovely moment, Although we had distractions in the form of the cleaners knocking on the door, and her thinking it was time for a belly rub, not grooming, it was aa wonderful experience and i’m so glad she enjoyed it so much!
🙂

In the afternoon we had lunch in the hotel cafe, and this is where Ida’s character made an amusing appearance… She got excited when Mikyla got up to order. This ended inIda standing and attempting to watch just where Mikyla had disappeared to!
She was so giddy she wouldn’t sit for more than a second before getting back up again.
The word down was not in her vocabulary at this moment!
After about the 5th time of asking her to sit, and lie down, I decided to stand. Just at that point Adam suggested I stand and give her the command. This worked! Standing up shows the dog you mean business and it’s time to stop being silly!

After lunch we went out for our second walk of the day. this time accompanied by Caroline, Mikyla’s line manager.
When the boss turns up your dog is either going to show you up or shine like a star.
I was very fortunate that apart from a fumbling harness situation, Ida shined like the little superstar she is!

She took clear instruction from me when crossing roads, even when I stepped out into the road and a car decided to turn the corner at the same point. I pulled her back and said a firm no; she stopped dead in her tracks!

We had a number of obstacles on our second walk; ranging from street furniture, women with prams and even cars parking directly across the pavement that we needed to cross, and get over to.
Ida exceeded expectations and manoeuvred us smoothly and carefully; making sure that she stopped before stepping up onto the pavement!

We had one moment of autopilot were I wanted her to turn left, doing a back left, and she decided to do a forwards left.
I instantly corrected her and she aced it second time around! 🙂
When dogs become familiar with routes, they can clock onto autopilot mode, knowing that you are going to go a specific way, they jump the gun and decide to go with whichever way they have previously been.

I was totally impressed that on the last stretch of our walk she not only slowed down to move me around obstacles but she kept at a steady pace.

Speaking to both Mikyla and Caroline after the walk they both said that they were really impressed by my positive tone and guidance and that I was very good at following ida even when she made the smallest of moves/ turns.
I was blown over when Caroline commented by saying that I have picked up harness walking so well if she didn’t already know i’d never had a guide dog before, let alone a pet dog, she would have thought I was on my 2nd or 3rd Guide Dog!!
How amazing is that? I was totally blown over by these comments! I didn’t even think I was doing that much of a good job!! So to get such positive feedback was a real boost to my confidence! 🙂

Dinner in the restaurant was very positive; Adam and I were on our own for the first time since having our dogs, both Hope and Ida settled down quickly which was fab!
It was only me who was the messy pup, over pouring my glass with water and spilling it everywhere… I bet Ida was hiding under the table in shame! 🙂

I could definitely tell Ida was very tired because the last 5 or so minutes before leaving she became a little restless.
She managed to somehow get her paws stuck in her lead as I was trying to get her to stand, because she was on tiles her little legs started skidding so I had to sit her down to remove the lead before I could get her to stand! Poor little sausage!Adam and I couldn’t help but laugh!

On our way back to our room Ida started to tug and get overexcited, I quickly realised this was because a man was directly infant of her…
Much to my happiness and gratitude the man asked to stroke Ida, rather than just assuming it was OK.
I got her settled and let her have a fuss from the nice man; he even thanked me for allowing him to pet her.
Considering this is my first proper interaction with a member of the public, and she wasn’t on harness I am delighted that the man had the courtesy to ask my permission!
Win for manners!! 🙂

It’s been a long day, but a very good one, i’m loving this special time i’m having with Ida, even if it’s full of excitement!



Things I’ve Learned.

•There are 2 ways in which you can get your Guide Dog to turn left…
*Front left: Standing with your body and feet pointing towards the left, and swing your right arm over your body, in the direction you want to go.
This makes her turn left and then you give the command to go straight on after.
*Back left: Taking a step back with both feet and asking the dog to wait.
Sliding your right foot out to the right and tapping your right leg and saying back.
This makes the Dog turn to the right and walk around you. You pivot as she turns and then tell her straight on.
I’m not gonna lie, she is so fluid in her movements I get a little dizzy!

•Ida really enjoys being on harness. You can tell when she is in full concentration mode because her ears are flat to her head and she is taking a steady pace.

•Ida loves her material toy dinosaur; especially when we play tug of war, or I throw it across the room for her.

•She loves to sit on my feet as I give her back a rub.

•And of course she loves a good old tummy rub!
Which dog doesn’t?




I’m off to bed, it’s actually interesting just how tiring our days are, and how much concentration it takes from both of us! 🙂



#GuideDogDiaries Day 2

#GuideDogDiaries Day 2

I spent my first full day and night with Ida. She slept in the hotel room with me; her own bed set up at the other end.
After her anxiety and whining in the day I was wary that she might be unsettled and not sleep.
I was pleasantly surprised, she crashed out before I did!
I had a nice alarm in the form of her barking at something around 06:40 this morning.
It wasn’t an incessant barking so I left her to it so-to-speak. She isn’t even 2 yet and this was her first night alone with me, with lots of busy sounds going on around her I was pleased she was relaxed.
I took her to the toilet and when we came back in  I started getting myself ready for the day.
Mikyla said that we should busy ourselves after spending our dogs, this way they do not expect food as soon as you walk in the door.
When feeding your Guide Dog it is good practise to hold the bowl high out of reach and repeat leave it while you are sorting it. This way your dog knows not to try and interfere when you are preparing their food.
Ida is a little fatty when it comes to food….. I should have taken this into consideration when I placed her bowl down, asked her to wait and lent over to grab the whistle.
The guzzle chops ignored me completely and dived straight in!
I had to grab her by the collar and pull her back… All the while the little monkey was crunching her food in her mouth and delightedly wagging her tail.
As they say: school boy error.
I corrected her behaviour by making her sit,and wait as I held onto her collar. Once she had settled down I gave her permission to eat by blowing my whistle 3 short sharp times.
At breakfast I explained the situation to Mikyla and she suggested coming back to the room after obedience training to be my support in getting  Ida settled so I could try food obedience.
Adam and I did obedience training with our dogs together out in the corridor..
 Our dogs’ are actually best friends; they were born on the same day, but, from different litters. Their puppy walkers lived very close together, so as little puppies they were taken from the breeding centre together and homed.
They have also been together for the last 12 weeks in kennels, the car and training together.
So having them deliberately being in each others space but on the gentle leaders a good training experience for them.
The training was also good for us as owners because we can see what our dogs’ would be like coming into contact with other dogs outside.
It was really interesting watching them eye each other but having to ignore each other because they were on their leads and because we were giving the verbal instruction of leave it.
There was definitely a few naughty moments which turned out to be quite funny.
The closerIda and Hope got to each other, the more excited they got. We were specifically instructed to have them lie down facing each other, and got them closer and closer.
Ida got a little overexcited; she sat and lay nicely but started commando crawling towards Hope. I had to get her to sit up and lie back down.
At this point Ida thought it would be a great idea to roll onto her back and wriggle about.
Through Mikyla’s instruction I had to get her to sit up and repeat the process again… Unfortunately Ida carried on with her little game twice more, I really couldn’t help but laugh… Which intern made my voice far less controlled, giving little madame even more reason to not listen!
Finally I got her settled and we came
 back to my room and ran through food obedience.
I put a tiny bit of food in her bowl but this time I had the whistle to hand and put my back to Ida as I placed the bowl on the floor. Making sure I asked her to sit, wait, and then gave her permission to eat.
Having Mikyla there as back up,, and, blocking Ida’s path to her bowl, really helped me control the situation. Thankfully she was much more responsive and got big praise for doing the right thing the 2nd and 3rd time around. 🙂
We went out for our first walk together with Ida on harness. I was super impressed with Ida’s guiding; since breaking my leg my walking has been disjointed which means I can sometimes walk quite wide of the harness. Thankfully this did not seem to phase Ida, and she even slowed down naturally when the pavement was more uneven.
She walked me around a block of terraced houses; this included always walking in the middle of the path, avoiding street furniture, guiding me around people and taking me to the road crossings.
In the afternoon we did the same route but in reverse, not only was I more confident but I was in considerably less pain. This made our walk together much smoother and faster. Mikyla commented on how well I walked with Ida on harness and how fluid the second walk was.
It’s really nice to hear some positive feedback from Mikyla, it gives me more confidence to know that i’m doing the right thing.
I’m very happy to report that Ida was so well behaved at dinnertime; having the whistle already around my neck, blocking her path with my back made a whole lot of difference.
This time she sat nicely, even after I moved away from her bowl I continued to make her wait, just to make sure she would not dive for her food like she had done in the morning.
She did not move, and only did after I blew the whistle 3 times.
I’m really pleased with myself for controlling the situation properly this time, but especially to Ida for listening and doing as she was told!



Things i’ve learned.

  • Always correct your dog when they don’t listen/ get overexcited.
    This is good practise for her obedience and your bond together.
  • Up sit: means to get the dog sitting , from the lying down position.
  • Guide Dogs are taught to walk in straight lines so you need to give them the command to turn left or right.
  • How to groom her: Ida has a number of different brushes to be used during grooming.
  • Using the lead when grooming your Guide Dog gives you more control of where they are and what they are doing as you are brushing them.
  • Ida looks like a frog when she lies down. She spreads her hind legs wide. It is very cute!
  • Ida reverses her backside to me when she wants a fuss.
  • Her tail never stops wagging 🙂




    I’ve absolutely loved having her with me all day; we’ve had lots of down time and she gets lots of praise for behaving and following through with  my commands.

I’m excited to say that we are definitely bonding and she enjoys my company 🙂
Looking forward to checking in tomorrow! 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 1

Yesterday was the day I began my journey with my first guide dog Ida!
I put the picture of my gorgeous pup on Instagram at the weekend and got a beautiful response from lots and lots of people, so thank you to everyone who liked or commented!

I wrote a post recently about guide dogs, you can check it out here! 🙂

I Arrived at the hotel at 11:20 with thanks to a volunteer guide dogs’ driver called Jake.
I waited in the reception, where I met Adam, the other person on class. Before long our rooms were ready, we started unpacking, getting a custom to the very spacious room and had orientation around the hotel. This is not only to make you as a visually impaired person feel comfortable getting around the hotel, but necessary for knowing where you are, so you can give these instructions/commands to your dog.

A relaxed lunch and a run through of the week ensued before the real fun began…

My trainer, Mikyla, went to collect the 2 dogs, giving us enough time to get nervously excited for their arrival!

When Ida arrived, I ignored her. When she settled and Mikyla let her off the lead, she was allowed to run around. I stayed quiet and watched her investigate.
This is good practice for allowing your Guide Dog to become accustomed to the new environment: not to be overexcited or overstimulated by you, and most importantly it gives them a chance to explore the new sites and sounds around them which they have not encountered before.
It was cute watching her flit between exploring the hotel room, to her bone, and saying hello to me.
As there are two of us in class, the trainer takes it in turns to spend time with you working with a guide dog, everything from obedience training to going to the toilet.

I was then left alone with Ida and the trainer spent time with Adam and his new guide dog.
This was a chance for Ida and I to bond.
Ida wasn’t much interested in me, she was more sad that her friends were across the hall and she wasn’t getting to spend time with them!

A guy dog always has a good bond with their trainer, and this can make them anxious when The trainer leaves them in a strange place, with a strange person: that would be me.

So whining Occurred.
We were warned by Mikyla that separation anxiety could happen, you just have to be patient with the dog and tell them well done when they come to you or stop whining.

We had some cuddles and play, but things vastly improved when I put her gentle lead on, and later feeding her…
Ida loves wearing her gentle lead so much, she shoves her nose in it without prompting… She does this cute little wriggle to shimmy it up her face which then in turn makes her face go to the ground so you have to coax her back up to finish putting on the rest of the lead. This part clips towards the back of the head and the lead rests gently behind her ears… The lead is designed specifically to lay on top of the pressure points at her ears, when they are stimulated it releases in dauphins, making the dog happy and excited to be wearing it.

We started off with some general obedience walking up and down the corridor. A Guide Dog on a gentle lead is very different to a dog in harness.
A Guide Dog on harness knows that she is working and is guiding you. When the dog is wearing a gentle lead this is you walking alongside the dog and keep them from being distracted.

I learned a number of ways to keep her attention and obedience.
I gave her her dinner, under the supervision of Mikyla. Ida decided that she was too hungry to wait for me to give her the signal to eat. Luckily my trainer intervened, and gave me some tips on what to do if it happens again.
What a little guzzle chops she is! 😉

I took her to the toilet, then it was time for us to go eat dinner… She was very much well-behaved, impressively so considering her four-legged friend was sitting opposite her!

Overall, I would say it has been a good first day, The more time she and I spend working together, the more she understands my quirks, and I hers, And the progress we are beginning to make.
I can’t wait to see what The next two weeks will bring! 🙂




Things I learnt:
•Come put on: another way of saying forward when off harness.
•Off: to stop the dog jumping, licking, essentially discouraging that behavior.
•Wait: Makes her stop and wait until she gets the command to continue (come).
•Steady: saying this very slowly gets the dog to slowdown.
•Down: gets the dog to lie down.
•write up: gets the dog to move closer to the object.
•Leave it: encouraging the dog to not let her scratch or be distracted by something.
•Spending: means to go to the toilet.
•Saying busy encourages her to go to the toilet
•Benching: using the dogs lead to tie to the chair leg or similar object, making sure she cant move from under the table.




I hope you enjoyed reading my first day with my gorgeous girl! I also hope you learn something new 🙂
See you for the next update! 🙂

Much love, sassy x




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