Sunday, September 14

Sunday morning

Greetings. We made it to Sunday morning, and what a quiet lazy Sunday morning it is. Friday morning we went to a nearby grocery store to see how to work our dogs inside the store. I'm not sure how practical this is for me since up until now, I've done much of my grocery shopping online and have gotten home delivery. However, I am currently between services and am looking for a new service, so I just might be going back to the store soon. Anyway, I saw how my dog can remember where various sections of the store are and how to locate them. Initially she wasn't sure, but she gained confidence each time we went back to the dellie area. I gained confidence as well and saw that I can work my dog in a store, be it a large grocery store or a small convenience store. I happen to go by a fruit counter and hear a woman with a thick New York/Jersey accent say, "Straawberry," which my instructor and I added to our list of New York sounding words.

Friday afternoon we went to a nearby coffee shop and our instructor took us one at a time and we walked through some city streets. The significant thing here is that it was lightly raining. Though walking in the rain isn't one of my favorite things to do, it should be done here at least once to see how the dogs handle the rain. Aside from shaking herself every so often to get the rain out, which didn't make much difference since it was still coming down, my dog did just fine. We did have some trouble with some obsticles and some blended curbs, but she did good over all. I'm slowly learning that since she's a sensative dog, she doesn't need to be scolded very much for things she does wrong. Usually, all that needs to be done is for me to point something out to her, say, "No," or a similar form of correction used, and she remembers for the next time. It's not necessary with my sensative dog to go back and rework things, unless she really runs a curb or bangs me into something very directly. Sometimes this is because she's distracted by something or someone nearby, and sometimes I suppose she's just not thinking. Anyway, she did good in the rain.

Sausage: yes, another sausage incident. This time it was some sausage that we had for breakfast yesterday morning. I asked for another helpig of swausage, and speared one with my fork. Before I could take a bite, my instructor happened by and then he started giggling and brought the female northeastern accented instructor by. They then told me to hold the fork up, we all said, "Swausage," and the female instructor said, "I need an 11 by 14 picture of that!" The day before, this same female instructor stopped us when we were driving back to the school and called out, in her normal thick accent, "Excuse me, do you know where I can get some good swausages?"

Yesterday, we went out to work in a more country setting, one that has no sidewalks and no curbs. When doing this, the dog stays to the left side of the road and the student checks every so often with their cane or a foot to make sure the dog is to the left. My instructor said that this is a tough concept for the dogs, since they treat the street as another sidewalk, and try to walk in the middle. At times when my dog drifted toward the middle, I would tell her left or, "Left, left," to get her to move back to the left side. When we came to a crossing, the dog walks around the corner to the left, a kind of indent, and then the student and og team square off with the edge, and cross the street. When across, the dog walks back out around the corner and is lined up on the left side of the road again. This assumes you're making a straight crossing on the intersecting street. I've heard that the dogs are taught to walk on the left side so they can see and avoid oncoming cars. On the route yesterday, there were several parked cars we had to go around and some barking dogs behind fences we passed. I don't know that I'll be doing a lot of this work in my normal life, but it was a good experience and good exposure.

No training takes place from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. My instructor told us that we should enjoy the bordom this weekend; enjoy the downtime, because the next week will go fast and then we'll be back home and introducing our dogs to our home environment. I've been asked if I'm excited to go home soon, and I've said yes and no. I am looking forward to integrating my new dog in my regular life, but I've also tried to enjoy things as they happen here in training and the environment here. Ideally, a person would be in training for only a few weeks every 10 or so years. That's not very long. The Seeing Eye is a special place, from the new people you meet from around the country, the great staff here, the excellent restaurant quality service and food, and many other things I couldn't even begin to list. In short, they make sure that your time here is memorable in many ways and it's a great place to be, even if it's only for a few weeks. I've entertained the idea of working here, just so I could enjoy that environment, or a portion of it, on a regular basis. However, the thought hasn't gone any further than that. I don't know what I'd do if I did work here, since there's no tech instruction. however, as I've learned before in my life, never say never. I never thought I'd be working in a rehab center when i graduated from high school, and yet here I am working in one now. Go figure I guess.

This coming week proves to be short, sweet, and full of great training opportunities, including going to New York City on Tuesday. And then there's the early wake up on Thursday and trip home. I'll write when i can, but some updates might come after I'm home. Anyway, talk later.

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