Thoughts on… “Did she sign up for this?!”

I know I’ve had very little to say lately.

In part, that’s because I’m sort of processing what’s going on. A couple people have told me that this is not unusual though, so I’m not worrying. Well, not much.

One friend told me that yeah, 18 months old? Yeah, your dog is going to have another round of brains falling out…she’s about due, so don’t worry about it, everything will be fine.

So, yeah, that’s about it. We’re having some regression. It started with not wanting to lie down on the floor of the car. Hilde did this perfectly when we went to Austin, and for a little while after, then a few weeks ago, decided…nah…can’t wanna.

Then, there were portions of some walks where she wouldn’t really want to go. Like she’d do the pokey slow snail crawl. But she’d fly home with all the confidence in the world.

And she’s showing some small fear reactions to some new people who come here. A bit like how she reacted to Sue when we were in Massachusetts. Barking, turning her head so as to not look at them, backing away. Most recently,this happened with Melanie’s grandfather, who is a pretty big guy, and I think maybe she just hasn’t seen many of those, and certainly not in our home. I hope this doesn’t generalize to outside of home, and so far it hasn’t, but it makes me sorry I was unable to get more people over to visit her when she was a puppy. None of that, to tell you the truth, worked out the way I’d hoped. Even for my lack, I think she’s turned out mostly all right anyway.

I should clarify that by “home”, I mean “the place where we are staying/sleeping”, since I guess that’s probably how she’s seeing it. Strange people that look strange in our home? Don’t like it.

So with all of that, I’ve been wondering. Is she already deciding, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this. I think I’d rather do something else.”? Especially when, sometimes, she reacts to the harness like she’d just as soon not be bothered with it, but if I take it off to let her park on our way, she’s perfectly fine with having it put back on.

So I’ve been sort of watching, and thinking that the time might come where she very definitely says, “Nope, didn’t sign up for this, you’re on your own, pal!”

This morning was such a time. Protested at the harness, did the pokey slow walk, with stopping for no very good reason and dnacing around, then going eventually. Brought some treats to encourage for when she picked it up. When she figured we were going in somewhere, she definitely showed me all the doors and was happy to get inside. Overjoyed, in fact. We had our lunch, and she did beautifully going home, well, apart from sort of taking a screwy direction across the parking lot, but we worked that out. Parking lots are hard, as is keeping a straight line and keeping her from veering into ones that are flush with the sidewalk, as she tries to find a building or something to follow, but I digress slightly. Anyway, beautiful trip home. So i’m thinking,OK, she likes going home, but not going out. Is this nearly successful, though failed in the end?

And then we went out this afternoon so I could get a haircut.

Apart from needing a little initial encouragement to keep her pace up, it was perfect. When I asked her to turn right as we were looking for the entrance to a parking lot, she showed me that she couldn’t, several times, until she could. Beautiful work there, even across a parking lot, beautiful work home, apart from running the curb out of the parking lot, but I’ll take it (yes, we reworked it).

True, we haven’t gone out every day, and that’s all on me. We’ll see, and I’ll keep an eye on things.

So with all that, I’d been thinking, and wondering, if maybe Hilde’s decided

Hilda’s First Out of Town Trip

Our trip to Austin for the AccessU conference is nearly over. Well, the conference is definitely over, but Hilda and I are flying home tomorrow, carrying a lot more stuff than we came with. And a lot more other stuff, too.

Interestingly, the flying was no big deal at all. I’m getting a little ahead of myself though.

Riding Uber to the Greyhound to Buffalo was routine. Old hat. No big. Riding the bus to Buffalo was new, as it was Hilda’s first time on a long-distance bus ride. She handled it like a pro. Upon arriving in Buffalo, we learned that there was actually a bus to the airport, which was a lot cheaper than taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab, and it wasn’t a long wait. The bus dropped us, and we had no idea where to go to get to the airport, but eventually, after parking Hilda, we found some assistance.

Hilda had an encounter with the escalator, and she was still nervous about that and backed away. The person walking with us noticed this and pointed it out. I got on anyway, and Hilda followed.

We got lots of compliments on Hilda. Well, there was the one person who told me I needed to give her a good brushing as she was shedding, but I already knew that, and anyway, they shed no matter what. No big deal.

The theme for this trip, at least where guiding is concerned, was distraction. She was very distracted and stimulated by everything. This meant that she really wanted to go everywhere at once. “Forward” might start out forward, but it might as easily mean a shart left or right, or one of those eventually. The good news is that she is both easily distracted by new things or new people (of which there were lots of both), but she’s also very easily redirected. Age and experience should settle her down; it’s done wonders so far. We also need to work on inside walking speed. All of these things got better as the trip progressed.

Flying was no big deal. She did it like a pro, even slept through part of the flights. When we hit Austin, another passenger asked if he could walk us to where we were going, so we had some nice company. He was so impressed with Hilda, and that I was training her, that he wanted my mom and Norman to take his picture with us. That was kind of unusual.

Really, her public behavior was very good. She settled down under or beside chairs at restaurants like she’d done it all her life. She’s getting better about not visiting people in harness. (In fact, I’m starting to see a bit of the GSD aloofness, as she just sometimes didn’t show much interest in some people. Like our niece Lily.) She wasn’t unfriendly, but she was more interested in other things. She’s curling up in the floorboard of the car, again, like an old pro.

Guiding is another matter. While distracted, she’ll go off anywhere, because, well, distracted. But as with other things, once she gets the idea and settles into things, she’s great. She had some touble finding doors sometimes, but again, as time went on, that got better. Clearance errors through doors is becoming a thing, and I’m not sure if it was because she didn’t want to run over whoever was holding the door, but Leno did this for ages while I had him, so I’m not awfully worried.

She is definitely showing the GSD finnicky eating thing. I still have a full gallon Zip Lock bag of dog food, untouched, which would be roughly three full days’ worth of meals. She’s definitely not suffering, and maybe her dietary needs are changing and she doesn’t need as much food, or maybe she’s a bit out of sorts with the changes: new environment, new people, new places, new everything, and she’s stressing a little, and that’s how it expresses. Speaking of expressing, she’s getting used to parking other places, and no loose stools or such like.

Anyway, lots of compliments on her behavior. Lots more on her striking good looks. Many compliments on her work, and lots more people noticing that she is young and energetic and sometimes, a bit distracted. Though lots of people are still impressed given her level of maturity and tender age. A couple of my guide dog using friends said she’s probably the nicest GSD they’ve ever met. Reckon that means I’m doing something right, and more, she’s just a darn good dog.

Tomorrow is a long travel day, and we’re looking forward to meeting some of Hilda’s extended family. We’re also looking forward to getting home.

Adventures With Escalators: Dog Trusts You?

Finally, after only talking about it for ages and ages, I’ve gotten Hilda onto an escalator. My intention was to do it before we went on our trip to Austin for the AccessU conference/seminars, and time started getting short. Amazing how that happens.

Well, we had an adventure even getting there. Missed the first bus we tried to catch, so went to another corner to catch a different bus. This particular corner, it turns out, is kind of icky. It’s all flat, for one, with little to no definition between the sidewalk and the street. It’s also like a five or so way intersection.

So the bus comes, and for some reason, I can’t tell exactly where it is. In part because the engine’s in the back, in part because the street is quite noisy, in part because, I don’t know, because. So we find…something…which I believe is sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, but I had no clue what it was. Next thing I know, there are people coming up and asking if I need help crossing the street. No, I just need to catch this bus. Thought I heard one, where is it? It’s behind me? What the actual hell? Yeah, I think what I found before was the bike rack on the front of the bus. How totally embarrassing. So this person waves the bus to stop, because he’s fixing to leave, and walks me around the front of the bus to get on. I get on and then hear someone calling me. “Hey Buddy! Where you going?!” It’s Sharon, Hilda’s breeder, who just happened by. And she’s going my way and offers us a lift.

We got to the mall, and Hilda zooms up to the door. When we got in, we had to rework racks of clothes that she kept walking me into because this is all so new and exciting. Eventually, I hear an escalator and go that way. We heel on, we heel off, we go back down, and it all goes very well.


“Sir, are you OK?” asks the lady who I assume works there.

“Umm. Yeah, I’m OK.”

“Because the security guard doesn’t want you riding the escalator with your dog. You should really be taking the elevator.”

“Oh really?! Why?”

“He doesn’t want your dog’spaws to get caught in the escalator.”

So I assure her it’s going to be fine, and anyway, better that I teach her on these escalators than on the escalator at the airport between flights. Funny thing, I never heard from that security guard directly, and anyway, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, so we went up and down a couple more times.

Hilda was reluctant to approach the escalator after we got off the first round. She whined a little, too. The important thing, howeger, is that she did it anyway, even though she was clearly a little afraid of the thing, and definitely nervous about it.

And here’s the thing, and it’s a thing you never hear about at guide dog school. You always hear “Follow your dog”, “Trust your dog”, and things like that. Absolutely, all very important. You never hear anything about your dog trusting you, which is just as important.

It hit me like a ton of bricks though. Here’s Hilda, who is definitely afraid of this new thing she hasn’t seen before. It moves. It probably feels funny under her feet. She doesn’t like it. She even whined a little while riding it. But she swallowed her fear and did it anyway. That, dear friends and others, is trust. And it’s really pretty amazing.

The rest of the trip was pretty anticlimactic. Just a lot of walking around the mall, and a hamburger, then a walk home after a bus ride.

This trip to Austin, with her first airplane flight and a long day of traveling, is going to be interesting.

Yesterday’s Day Out

Yesterday, we had a whole day out with Hilda. I was scheduled to do two technology presentations at the Sight Center of Northwest PA, one for kids in the morning, and one for adults in the evening. While the prsentations, or seminars, or whatever they ended up being, went pretty well in my ever so humble opinion, Hilda’s first full day out also went pretty well.

We took Uber there and back, and she found the front door without a problem. Of course, inside the building, which is a little small, she wanted to run, so she would often miss turns, or want to go some direction instead of the direction I wanted her to go or that we were following, but she is really very easy to redirect, requiring very little in the way of leash correction for things like that. Hardly any, to tell the truth. We got all sorts of compliments on how beautiful she is, how friendly, how curious she is about everything around her. One comment was that she looked lik being still was very hard for her, and indeed, I think it is, especially in a new environment with things going on. Still, she did it, even with the supersonic shepherd whine, but she did. And the one time she got up because I didn’t have my foot on her leash and she wandered off to have a little walkabout in the apartment area we were working in, she immediately came back when I called.

She also definitely knows “inside” and “outside”, but backtracking, maybe not so much. We went out to park (she didn’t want or need to as it turned out), and when we went back inside, rather than going back throughthe door that we went out of, she went all the way around to the front door. Which meant another ride in the elevator.

Ah, the elevator. It must have smelled funny, because the first couple times, she stopped to sniff the carpet right inside the door of the elevator. By the third trip in it, she was a pro.

Things to work on are the same things to work on, namely, speed inside and pull. Because she wants to go go go, she would sometimes miss a turn into a door that we wanted. None of this is really unexpected, and everyone seemed impressed with miss Hilda. I’d certainly put her behavior up against many very young, very green guides out there, and maybe even some older more established ones. Although, yes, we definitely need to tone down the Little Miss Social Butterfly action.

All in all, very pleased.

Next report, our first walk with her new harness, which just showed up. Can’t wait.

Brilliant, followed by…what?!

There really isn’t a lot to say about this trip, which of course means that I’ll take forever to say it. Gotta be me.

Hilda for sure needed a walk today, so off we went to nowhere. Just down to 29th and Cascade by the elementary school, up to 36th over to Washington (maybe four very long blocks west), then back home over 32nd. It’s a fair haul, anyway. We’re still working on moderating pull, but that’s getting a lot better.

Distractions, oh yes. First, at 31st and Cascade, we encountered a dog out for a walk with its human, and Hilda was interested, though she didn’t take off to go visit the dog, even though the dog certainly had her attention. We still got across the street OK, but it did take a bit of persuasion, though not much, to get her going.

There was one bit of brilliant reasoning on her part further on. A block before Washington, on 36th, there was something about this curb approach she didn’t like. I’m not sure if they had dug up part, or if we were just by a storm drain, or what exactly. I can tell you she stopped shot of the curb, and I could tell that the pavement went down for some reason, and Hilda didn’t like it. So she went around the corner, got up on the sidewalk from the side, and went on. All on her own, on her own initiative.

There were several times when she thought “Forward” might possibly mean “Left” or “right”, because those were maybe more interesting directions, but fortunately, she is very easy to redirect, and she didn’t really insist. When she did, ultimately she was right about it and ended up going my way anyway.

Another time, we crossed, and she missed the curb and was walking down our parallel street for a few feet. She realized the error on her own and took us back to the right and onto the curb, again on her own and with no prompting from me.

At 33rd and Washington, we hit a snag. I’m not sure exactly how this worked, if she veered onto some other part of the sidewalk, or what, but we hit a curb, and she was very reluctant to step off it. Eventually she did though. … And then the crossing wasn’t quite right. So we turned around to cross back over and rework it, except we diagonaled. Or…umm, well, we did something, anyway. Trying to rework *that* really made things even more confusing, so we eventually just found our way to where we were supposed to be going in the first place and went on with life.

Right before we got back to Raspberry and the left turn to our block at 30th, Hilda very suddenly lunged to the left. Something really, really got her attention. I’m not sure what. Maybe it was one of the kids that I heard a few minutes later commenting on my nice dog. Maybe it was something else entirely, but that was not at all a typical reaction from her. She sprang forward towards something else a bit closer to home, too. I think this was perhaps tired brain. I don’t think it was anything aggressive, certainly if she was trying to visit the kids, they didn’t seem too upset.

Trip Yesterday

Written yesterday…
We took a walk up to the Dollar Tree today. Not a bad trip, on the whole. We’re going to really start working on moderating the pull. Towards the end, I think she started getting the idea that pulling like a freight train really isn’t necessary.

She’s got a little bounce in her step sometimes. I’ve heard ofthis wonderfully smooth GSD gait, and I’m getting that sometimes, but other times? Not so much. I’m not sure what it is she’s doing really. Like maybe she’s thinking about stopping and thinking better of it? Don’t know.

She’s definitely taking initiative though. We found a car blocking our sidewalk. She stopped, I directed her to go around, and she went around. She gave some thought to continuing down the street, then correctly decided to get back around and onto the sidewalk instead. Pretty cool.

We got to do lots of right about, and sometimes she didn’t want to, but mostly because it was to rework something. At this one spot, she wanted to go right instead of forward. The crosswalk was a bit off from the sidewalk, but it was only a slight angle. She wanted to take the right to cross theother stret. We had to do it several times before she got that “Forward” in this case meant “Forward”.

We also need to work on Little Miss Social Butterfly’s social tendencies. She’s perhaps a bit friendlier than is good for her. Or at least, good for me. Definitely a work in progress there.

One thing that I’m really enjoying though is she’s starting to get pretty confident in her decisions. Definitely more decisive in her turns today. Following in the store wasn’t really great, but not worried about that.

Right About, Left About

Today was far too nice a day to be stuck inside for all of it, so even though I have to be stuck inside for most of it, owing to things that need done, I was able to go out for a little walk with the Beast today. Today’s exercise was turns, and the difference between “Right” and “right about”, and “Left” and “Left about”.

Another owner/trainer suggested that teaching a “Right about”, which is a 180-degree right turn, and of course by extension a “Left about”, would be useful. None of my program trained dogs would do this, and in fact turning around involved dropping the harness handle and turning, then picking the harness handle back up and going, or whatevering. Still, even if “Righta bout” and “Left about” were of absolutely no use, and they probably will be of some, though I think “Right about” more than “Left about”, they’re useful in at least one respect: they’ll be something I can ask Hilda to do that’s different from a right or left, and something that she wants to do naturally.

We started by going to the nearest corner and making curb to curb rights and lefts, just as an exercise. I note some reluctance, especially to turn left, and I’m not sure why. Anyway, we then worked out “Right about” and “Left about”, which she seemed to pick up very quickly. Seems “Right about” came more quickly than “Left about”, which is OK, since I think I’d actually use that more. We finally took our actual left, after just doing turns and Hilda probably wondering, “OK, what’s the point?”. Went down the block, took another left, and worked on our weird corner with the offset crosswalks, that is, offset in relation to the sidewalk. We crossed all four ways, and walked to all four crosswalks, although before making the last one to go back the way we came, we took the right and walked up a block, specifically so we could do a “right about”. After doing the offset corners a few times each, that is, and when she got it on her own without extra prompting.

On one block, a block up from my house, we were walking back towards the corner I live on but one block up, and we encountered the back end of a car. Hilda stopped and did her indecision dance. I didn’t direct her around the car, just encouraged her to decide which way to go. She started to go the wrong way, towards the front of the car to go around, then changed her mind and made the correct decision. Went around, and almost kept going up along the other side of the car. Just one little “Hupp-up” reminded her to pick up her line again, and we were off.

This trip had lots of bouncing and looking around and a bit of drifting and speed changes as one thing or another caught her interest. Even so, for the most part she stayed pretty on task, especially considering her age and maturity and how it’s such a lovely spring day.

When we got to the corner just ablock up from home, Hilda decided she was going to immediately take that left to go home. I didn’t necessarily want her to do that, or at least I didn’t want her to get into the habit of makinga decision like that without an OK, so we went up to the curb and worked some more on curb to curb turns. She was quite reluctant to make that left, and she really wanted a left about. I did eventually make two lefts to go the way she wanted, but it was a great opportunity to reinforce, yes, thank you foryour input, now we’re going this way. We’ll definitely be working on these things more.

Brains FAlling Out

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.

A guide dog…already?

No, not really, except…

We had a longer walk than I’d planned.

Actually, we’ve had a walk or two since the last entry, including a trip to the grocery store, where we got to practice lying down in the car, not her favorite thing ever, but she’ll do it, and yes, she can squeeze down amazingly small if she has a mind to. But there really isn’t anything much to say about that. Today’s walk is what we’re concerned with.

First, yeah, I think she’s definitely a fan of the work, or at least of the going. When I put Leno in the crate, she ran around a little, then ran to the front door. Right to the front door, as if to say, “Oh boy!!!! We’re going, let’s go now!!!!”

My plan was to find a convenience store that I thought I remembered, on some block with which Hilda was not familiar. Come to that, I wasn’t exceeding familiar with them either, but they weren’t that out of the way. She required a few more reminders, verbal only, mostly, of what she was about, as she would try to go left down a street instead of continuing forward, or look distractedly off somewhere and get us off track a little, but she was easily redirected. Very easily really. I wasn’t quite sure where this store was, but when I prompted “Inside”, she took us right to a door all right! It was the wrong kind of door, in the wrong place, but by gosh, it was a door, and she did what she was supposed to. Someone took us to the correct door though, and we went in for milk. And we got the “No dog” Indian guy. So here’s the thing. Even though in Pennsylvania, trainers of service dogs also have access rights, and even though I still consider her very much in training as she has a lot yet to learn, I felt absolutely no compunction at all about calling her a guide dog. She got me to the store, clearly understanding and applying what she’s learned to new and unfamiliar areas. Yes, she still needs some work on her social graces, but she’s still quite young and immature, and considering that, she’s doing wonderfully well. Anyway, I didn’t have to argue much, and other customers were telling him, “Yeah, hey, he needs that dog!” and things like that, and the guy was then saying, “Yeah, I know”, and was very helpful after.

Then, we had our adventure.

I’m still not sure how exactly, but instead of going west on 32nd street, we ended up going north, towards downtown, on Cherry street. Best I can figure, I was lined up at the corner a little bit wrong. To Hilda’s credit however, we didn’t diagonal the crossing, but rather went across the wrong street. The only way I found this out was that Hilda took a little side trip into aa parking lot and up to somewhere, not sure where, and we had to backtrack. This is where GPS came in very handy. The other thing is, I’m also not sure how I ended up, eventually, on the wrong side of 29th street, so when I found myself, I then ended up going west instead of east for several blocks. Once I figured that out, we were home free.

The thing is, our getting lost in that way was all my doing, except perhaps the initial error that got us across the wrong street. Hilda kept her line pretty well and, up until we got closer to home, a couple miles or so after we started our walk, stopped at all the curbs.

A couple things. Sometimes, when she’s turning, she’ll do a complete 180, instead of just a 90-degree left or right, or at least to wherever the sidewalk is. That’s really just a matter of getting her to understand what I want, and that’s getting better really.

She’s also learning to look for all kinds of obstacles. There were some small logs on the sidewalk at one point. My foot hit one once, so I back her up and reworked it. She cleared me the next time. This guy commented on it, and I explained what we were doing as he moved the log (after we passed it). He told us there was another one further up, which, if it was still there, Hilda passed without running me over it.

She also encountered someone on a mobility scooter in the sidewalk, so we got to work past her. Hilda was initially hesitant, but after she got a good look and said howdy, I asked the woman to move into the sidewalk more. Hilda worked past, the scooter also went past us and Hilda had no trouble.

A couple other things that required a little verbal redirection. Once, while crossing, Hilda tried to angle over to an idling car to, one supposes, greet her adoring public. It didn’t take much convincing to get her to change her mind. Another time, a “Forward” off the curb, she wanted to instead go right and walk down the street instead. The really great thing about her is that she’s very, very easy to redirect. Mostof the time, she only requires a “No, hupp-up” or some such, and not even very sternly.

I sort of wish I could figure out a good way to get some video of a walk, but I’m not really sure how I’d accomplish such a thing. I’ll have to think on it some more.

More Trips!

We had a couple more outings. Today’s was definitely more brains falling out, but even so, not bad. They can’t all be perfect, after all, but there are good stories to come out of these trips, at least.

Thursday, I had to go to the bank, so Hilda and I rode the bus downtown. As with other bus trips, she was a bit whiny. The good news is that Hilda is very people friendly. The bad news is that Hilda is very people friendly. She definitely would love to greet everybody with a wet nose to somewhere and a schlurpy tongue. Never met a stranger has our Hilda. Even so, we’ve seen a lot of improvement. She’ll sit fairly still for attention, and she’s not jumping on people so much these days.

She’s definitely got the whole curb concept down pretty well, as she stopped at all of them in this area that isn’t home and that she hasn’t been to in at least a couple months. Hilda got distracted on the way by, of all things, a bird. I’d have never known, except this guy was coming up from behind me and told me i could go on ahead, because he was just coming, but then told me that she was distracted by a bird in front of her. I assume standing in front of her, anyway.

She also definitely has the “Inside” and “Outside” concepts for finding a door pretty well, too. We passed my bank, which is right at the corner. I noticed this and cued “Inside”, and she zipped a 180 and marched us right to the door of the bank.

All that must not have been nearly enough adventure for our Hilda though. She wanted more. When we got to the bus stop, I accidentally dropped her leash, and somehow didn’t notice right off. A bus had just pulled up, too (not my bus, as it turned out). Next thing I know, I reach down and there’s no Hilda. I call her. I get her back, and I don’t remember if someone got her or if she came on her own, or a bit of both, but she had gotten on the bus without me. To go heavens only knew where, but I’m sure it would have been an adventure.

Today’s walk was just a routine trip to the drugstore. She missed stopping at exactly one curb, and that was a curb to curb left turn. She stopped at the first one, but when we turned left, she wasn’t going to stop at that one. She also went back to missing upcurb sidewalks by a couple feet again, and in a couple cases decided we needed some cross country experience, even though there were perfectly usable sidewalks that we found with a bit of encouragement. Except the one time. This one was as much my fault as hers. We started walking on some grass and dirt, and I stopped and cued to find the way, which turned out to be just a tiny bit to the left. So I thought. Next thing I know, wait, a curb? On the left? Oh no, you didn’t do what I think you did. Yeah, she did. Crossed the little side streeet we were meant to be walking along. Like I said, at least half my fault, because I thought it was a sidewalk, not a street. No traffic, you know.

On the way there, she showed she’s really starting to geththe funny jog the sidewalks on this one corner take to get to the crosswalk. I barely had to say anything to her to keep her going to the crosswalks correctly.

There was one funny thing that happened today though. We were crossing this tiny side street that dead ends into 29th, which we were walking beside. We’re crossing, and Hilda approaches this car that’s stopped and waiting for us to cross. I mean she seriously veered to the right to find this car. She must have really liked whoever, because she goes up to the driver’s side window, which was down, to say howdy, apparently. The driver sounded like a lovely person, she sounded very friendly as she told us we could go while we were walking around her car, but really, I don’t think that’s exactly the best way to meet people. Especially since she never properly introduced herself.