#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! 🙂

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