Tag Archives: GuideDog

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

Breakfast was still a little chaotic but I definitely think Ida is grasping the expectations we have for her.
This time she did stay in her bed while I was getting her breakfast ready but that was primarily because Gary was sitting there telling her to stay.
Ida clearly couldn’t contain her excitement because Gary shouted through to me that there was a puddle of drool forming on her bed!

She did speed through to the kitchen at the mention of her being summoned but thankfully she was quicker to settle. I gave her her breakfast and she scoffed it like there was no tomorrow!

I was really excited about today; this was going to be our first walk in our local area together!
Mikyla arrived and as expected Ida was a total whirlwind! She was ecstatic to see her friend again, However Mikyla deliberately didn’t show the same enthusiasm, she wanted Ida to settle and remain calm.
Mikyla explained that this was the process of her withdrawing herself from Ida, Ida needed to learn that Mikyla was no longer in charge, I was,. Because they have spent 3 months together training and being a companionship Ida was more likely to look to Mikyla for guidance and obedience. However when Ida was fully relaxed and content Mikyla did say a quick hello, reinforcing that she wanted Ida to be calm in a visitors presence, but also to make sure Ida was aware she had done nothing wrong.

We chatted about the events of the last few days, she seemed happy with th progress Ida and I had made so fa and happy that Ida was relaxed… Even if she was still jumping at the air-freshener! 😉

Our walk was short and sweet: we walked around the block only once.
We talked, stopped and repeated certain areas of the walk that Mikyla thought Ida needed more help reinforcing, for example indenting at the pavement. Not because Ida or I were doing anything wrong, but to ensure that Ida would indent enough so it was safe for both of us to cross.
Ida did fabulously by locating the up kerb; putting her 2 front paws on it and waiting for me to reach it, and giving the command forward before proceeding.

As this was our first walk together since we arrived home Ida was keen to say the least,: the tension on the harness was probably as strong as it had ever been but thankfully she did steady and slow herself down when I asked her to.




I was so impressed with Ida on the entire route, particularly when I got her to locate the bus stop, she did it slowly but precisely, and put her nose to the seat indicating that she had found an empty space for me to sit.

We repeated the approach to the bus stop again, and Ida executed it perfectly! I couldn’t stop grinning, and Mikyla and I both gave her lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂
On the last stretch of our block route there is a zebra crossing, which Ida located. Even though I wasn’t planning on crossing Ida got a positive response from me for doing so; “
not today, good girl!”

This assures Ida that she did a fantastic job by locating the zebra crossing, however we were not taking that route today.
Training with any dog, especially a Guide Dog is all about positive reinforcement. Congratulating them on a job well done, and communicating this assertively so they will repeat such behaviour. 🙂

On the approach to our house I gave the signal to Ida to find it.

“”Where’s that gate on the left? Find it.”

She found our house beautifully and seemed rather impressed with herself for doing so,wagging her tail happily!
She got lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂

Mikyla and i chatted through what we had just done and how pleased she was with our partnership, and Ida’s intuition for locating things such as the bus stop and zebra crossing.
Mikyla said she wanted to do the block a few more times, and in reverse too before she qualified us on the route, but assured me with our work ethic and ida’s enthusiasm it could be as early as Monday!

Mikyla wasn’t going to return until Monday, and as we were not qualified she did not want me to do the route, however she was more than encouraging for Gary and I to take Ida on a free run on the Sunday together.
This would give Ida a chance to let off steam, Gary and Ida to spend more time together and most importantly a chance for me to test Ida’s recall!

All in all a very positive day, I’m super excited about tomorrow: free run here we come! 🙂




#GuideDogDiaries Day 12

#GuideDogDiaries Day 12

Ida settled really well and seemed very relaxed and content when it came to bed time.
I think I was more worried about her settling and getting a good nights sleep more than she did.
As I live in a one bedroom flat I knew she wouldn’t be too restless because she could hear and smell us from her bed.

When Gary’s alarm went off in the morning she decided to come in and say good morning to us. Ida was very happy to see us both and intruded our space to say her hellos’ and ask for a fuss, it was very cute!

Breakfast was a bit of a dance. Ida decided to follow me everywhere I went; just encase I was making something for her!
When it came to actually getting her breakfast ready she was very enthusiastic.
I wanted her to lie in her bed as I got everything prepared, but the second I walked away she would jump out and follow me!
I had to rope Gary into getting her to stay as I pottered around.
He had no luck, she would lie down for a few seconds but as soon as he moved or stopped looking at her she tried to sneak past him to find me.
We both found it very funny, and couldn’t help but giggle a little, but we knew we couldn’t encourage her excitement, so we tried to be stern telling her to go lie down.

Eventually when I was organised and ready for her to approach, she bounded through to the kitchen, skidded all over the place and finally sat wagging her tail furiously.
The waiting process was probably less than 40 seconds but in this time Ida had formed a pool of drool, that literally sounded like a dripping tap!
Both Gary and I were very disgusted, and said as such to one another!
I got Gary to clear it up… there was no way I was touching her slimy slobber!

When Gary grabbed his jacket and headed for the door, Ida thought it was time for a walk because she stood by the front door, tail wagging. She seemed rather sad that he was leaving, but I made sure to distract her and we had lots of cuddles afterwards.

Because it was our first full day together at home, and due to safety and insurance reasons I was not allowed to leave the house with Ida, we spent the whole day indoors playing lots of games and having lots of cuddles.




Due to the weather being rubbish, I decided to groom her inside. She loves being groomed and took this opportunity to start rolling on the floor and pawing at me. Although very amusing I had to be stern and get her to up stand and stay focused while I groomed her.
She did try her luck a few times but I just kept repeating the obedience training.
She thoroughly enjoyed her grooming and found it very fascinating when I started cleaning up all the fur.
I soon noticed Ida wasn’t a fan of the hoover because she disappeared and ran into a different room every time I was in the same proximity as her.

When Gary came home, Ida got a little confused thinking there was an intruder at the door… She began to bark and rushed up to the front door to investigate the noise.
She didn’t bark for long and with lots of stroking and some obedience I managed to calm her down.
Everything went to pot when Gary came through the door…

Ida bounded up to him excitedly wagging her tail and backing her body into his.
I had tried to hold her by the collar but she managed to wrench out of my grip as her focus was on Gary.
I asked him to ignore her until she settled down, which he did.
When she realised she wasn’t going to get any attention until she calmed down, she just sat in front of Gary wagging her tail and smiling up at him until he eventually said hello.

Dinner time was interesting: although Ida was more relaxed than she was in the morning, she was still very excited and it took Gary and I being a tag team for her to stop wondering through to the kitchen to see what I was doing.

The rest of the evening was spent playing lots of games with Gary and I.
Gary and I love our little pup so much already, she keeps us entertained and on our toes… We couldn’t ask for a better companion! 🙂




#GuideDogDiaries Day 11

#GuideDogDiaries Day 11

I can’t believe it; we’re actually home!
It’s so surreal being at home and having a new addition to the family! 🙂

Today has been a whirlwind, after treating myself to a cooked breakfast: very tasty indeed!
i came back to the hotel room and started to pack. For the most part Ida relaxed but thought it a better use of my time was to play with her…
She became overly curious when I started to pack her things away and the excitement got the better of her when Mikyla arrived and started taking our things to the car.
She started running around like a loon and wouldn’t listen when I tried to get her to sit and wait each time Mikyla came/ left the room.
Ida’s giddiness got the better of her and as she was pulling me Mikyla had to step in and tell her off in order to settle her down.
When she finally settled, with her tail wagging ten to the dozen, I put her gentle leader on her and headed out to the car.

Considering the car was full of our things, she settled quickly.
As it was still early in the morning Mikyla asked if I wanted to work Ida in the shopping center before she dropped us home.

The walk turned out to be a great idea, not only did it give us all a chance to stretch our legs, but it gave me another opportunity to work Ida without Mikyla using her guiding lead.

Ida did a fantastic job, we walked the entirety of the mall complex,going in and out of shops she knew, she even relaxed fully when we sat at a bench.
There were lots of distractions in the form of tiny humans saying “doggy” and lots of cooing from the big humans, aside from wagging that tail, she didn’t let their interest peak hers.

When we arrived home, we unpacked the car and put Ida’s things in her new home before bringing her in.
This was so the smell of her own scent would be welcoming to her, and that way she didn’t get confused or overexcited when coming into a new environment.

I brought her in on her gentle leader because Ida tends to get rather excited in her new surroundings.
When she had settled, I let her off the lead for her to go and explore her new home. 🙂




Mikyla and I couldn’t help but laugh: every time my automatic Air-freshener went off she would jump out of her skin and stare it down!

Before too long it was time for Mikyla to go. She informed me that Ida may be unsettled for the first few days because there has been a lot of change for her in the last few weeks.
Mikyla assured me that if I had any worries or problems I could call her, but she was going to leave us to it and would come back on Saturday morning to do our first route together.

After the initial sadness of Mikyla leaving had worn off, Ida settled nicely. We played lots of games with her toys, and spent the time bonding.

I was looking forward to Gary coming home, I was eager to see him but most importantly I was excited for he and Ida to meet again.

As I expected her to be a little tornado when Gary entered the house, I got him to call me when he had pulled up outside.
This gave me time to put the gentle leader on Ida and settle her down before he entered.
The second she heard the door go she tried to lunge at Gary and shower him with love.

Gary ignored her while I gave Ida lots of obedience getting her to sit and lie down.
Mikyla taught me to do this because it gives your dog another focus, and reminds them that you are in control and they need to settle down.

Ida did beautifully, her tail and entire back end would not stop wagging!

When she was more relaxed I let her off the gentle leader and allowed her to go and say hello to Gary.

It was so cute seeing the two of them together! Clearly Ida recognised Gary, and was very pleased to see him again.
Although Gary was probably just as excited as Ida he stayed very calm and relaxed when saying hello, this encouraged Ida to settled down much quicker and make her feel at ease.

Dinner time was entertaining to say the least.
I got Ida to lie in her bed while I went to get her dinner ready.
Unfortunately because it is Ida, and this is food, she kept running through to the kitchen to investigate.
I kept walking her back into the living room and telling her to get onto her bed.
She just thought it was a fun game and kept jumping out of bed every time i left the living room.

This kept us laughing for a good 10 minutes before Gary and I teamed up and I got him to keep repeating stay as I got her dinner ready.

When I called her to me in the kitchen, she shot out of her bed like a bat out of hell and skidded into the kitchen.
She tried to devour her dinner but I managed to get her to sit and wait until I had blown the whistle 3 times allowing her to go ahead and eat.
Another bed/ dinner saga happened as Gary made our dinner…
Ida wanted to witness it to make sure she wasn’t being left out so kept coming through to the kitchen.
Lots of “come”, “down”,, “stay” and “good girl” continued as we showed her how we wanted her to behave during meals.

She certainly kept us laughing, but i know it’s going to take a lot of time and practice for her to grasp what we want from her.
It’s a learning curve for all of us, but i’m really impressed with how well she has behaved so far.

I just hope when it comes to sleeping she will relax and not be unnerved by her first night in a separate room from me.

Here’s hoping 🙂

Much love, Sassy x




#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 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