Fortunately, we recover from brains falling out.
Friday morning, Hilda and I took a walk down to the CVS. I think the nice weather may have been getting the better of our Miss Missy, because…yeah…brains were definitely falling out on the way there.
We still haven’t quite figured out the crosswalks offset from the sidewalks at 29th and Elmwood. We’ll work that a bit more, as we did on Saturday, more on that later. Anyway, there were a couple times on that intersection where she didn’t want to pick up our line of travel again, but we worked it out.
It felt like she was sort of all over the place! And so she was, because when we got to the four-way stop at 29th and Washongton, just four blocks from home, most of the way to the CVS (many of these blocks are quite long), she really screwed up the crossing! Seriously. I don’t know what she was doing, but I found myself walking down the street we were meant to be walking beside…yeah, that crossing felt awfully long! So we got up on the curb, and we crossed back over. We did this about three times before she got it well enough. On our second trip, this guy walks up and asks if he can help me, because my dog “looks confused”. No, thanks, we’re OK. Nope, nothing to see here.
During one part of our trip, Hilda was trying to avoid an obstacle way way way before the obstacle. SHe stopped, and she was sort of dancing around, and her head was going every which way, and I had no idea what she was on about. Encouraged her to go forward some more, eventually found the car she wanted to go around that she wasn’t sure about how to get around (I guess she didn’t think there was enough clearance, but there was, as it turned out). We got around, and it was all good.
When we got to CVS, she decided that pulling to the door like a freight train was definitley the thing to do, so we had to discuss that.
Fortunately, she started collecting her brains again when we got into the store. One thing I’m working on is keeping her on task while walking, as she’s very social and wants to visit with people she sees as we’re walking. She tried to visit a couple people on our way to the pharmacy counter. On our way up to the front counter for some other stuff, I thought she was going around someone, and maybe she was, but next thing I know, I hear a surprised squawk from this lady to our left. Apparently Hilda has now scared her first human. You know, I thought having a black sable GSD might be at least a little intimidating to someone, but…no, no such luck. I reckon Hilda’s just got too friendly a face, because I have, correctly, gotten nothing but compliments on her. Not counting Mr. Russian Guy several months ago and her first scared human Friday. While looking for a few other things, Hilda did a really pretty nice job of following, something we haven’t done a lot of, and when we have, she’s tried to follow too closely, because she wants to follow from the front. This time though, she did better, although perhaps still a little close. Still, she kept track of the person we were following really well.
The trip home was much better, and she only ran one curb as I recall.
Saturday, we worked mostly on those offset crosswalks, which we still need to work through some more. We also need to work on not making 180 degree turns, which she wants to do sometimes instead of just turning to hit the sidewalk.
I have to be honest here, you certainly have more patience and drive than I do to not only tackle the process of actually training your own guide, but to field all the questions, comments and otherwise absurdities from the general public as you do so, I’m pretty certain my head would explode. Having said that, all things considered, it really does sound as if the pair of you are off to a great start. Hilda has picked up so much already, and as to those offset crossings, they’re just a bear anyway. 🙂 Keep up the great work!
It isn’t so much the crossing that’s offset, but the crosswalks from the main sidewalk. So it’s like this. You’re walking down the sidewalk, which ends in about 3-4 feet of grass to the curb. If you take a little jog to the rightor left, depending on which part of the intersection and which way you’re coming, and go just a couple feet, the crosswalk going your direction is right there. So you’d essentially take a right and then an almost immediate left to hit the wheelchair ramp, for example. As for actual offset crossings, we don’t have any that I could reliably walk her through, and they screw me up anyway.
I have read this with great interest as I have trained my 2 guide dogs. My first dog Inga, lived for 14.5 years and Bella is my guide now. I recognize the things you are going through… You will get there…