Doggy Diaries – Mother of all updates

As I was writing the title, I got a nudge from Jayden saying hey, what about me? Haha! He’s so good about letting me know when he wants some love. After some silly affection giving, he’s now curled up next to me. We’re gonna go for a walk in a bit.

Anyway, I haven’t updated in a bit, so I’m just gonna write whatever comes to mind.

Jayden had a big work day yesterday. We were going to the memorial service for the man in the fellowship in the afternoon, so I groomed Jayden in the morning and got some things done around the house. The only appropriate clothing I had was a long dark brown skirt with a brown colored print top. Well, nothing fits anymore, so the skirt was threatening to fall off. About a half hour before we were leaving, I took Jayden out to relieve, and Timmy ended up getting out. The big dog doesn’t scare him away from the door anymore. Luckily a neighbor was outside, and she helped me wrangle Timmy, all the while Jayden thought he was getting a visit, and I was worried about my skirt falling off haha! So I called Lish to see if she had any safety pins but she didn’t, so we left early to stop at Walgreens. I was able to work Jayden the whole time. He was such a champ! I was able to follow Lish because I could hear her shoes. Jayden didn’t get distracted or anything, and the regular clerks got a kick out of watching him.

We got to the church and had to park a ways and Jayden worked like a champ all the way to the door. There was a speed bump though, which he walked right over. We never talked about speed bumps at school. Is he supposed to stop for those?

Once it got crowded, I heeled Jayden and did sighted guide with Lish. An usher found chairs for us in the disability aisle, where Jayden wouldn’t get stepped on or be in the way. I had just told him to lay down when the priest said, please rise. Haha! That was the only time though. We stayed seated for the rest of it. Jayden was really good about laying there quietly, though he kept trying to put his head under the pew in front of us lol.

The service was really beautiful and very comforting. All the scriptures read where ones of peace and letting us know we are not alone. Though I am not religious, I do enjoy sermons like that. It wasn’t at all preachy, just very comforting and very spiritual. The eulogy was lovely, filled with tears and humor, and as a special request from the family, the priest said the Serenity Prayer. You could feel all the members of the fellowship let go at this.

After the service, we waited for everyone to clear out. It was huge, with a lot of people. Jayden stood there wagging at everyone and through sniffles, I heard little exclamations of cuteness. I think he was a comfort to people as they left. The usher came after everyone was gone and said he hadn’t been an usher with a service dog before, so it was a good experience for him.

We went to the reception room which was packed and there was food. Jayden did great. He was calm the whole time, though I just had him on leash. Most of my friends asked if they could pet him and they were all good about doing it calmly. Jayden just ate it up. I had one woman start petting him, and she is a woman I don’t get along with very well. “Please ask me before you pet him.” “Oh, why?” “Well, if he had ben working, that would have been like me grabbing your steering wheel.” “Oh! Clever, you should write an article.” “There’s lots of articles already written.” Lish said, “Yeah, most people just don’t read them.” That was the only ify experience.

We milled around awhile and I saw some of the other oldtimers I love and we talked about why I haven’t been to meetings, to which they were totally understanding, which warmed my heart. Those guys know me well enough to know that I’m filling my life with the program whether I’m in the rooms for an hour or not. It meant a lot to me that they didn’t lecture me about it, and they are men I really admire.

After we got home, Jayden did his usual after work routine of dropping to the floor on his back for a belly rub and romp session. Then he passed out haha. I talked to Carol for a bit before the game.

9-3 Rays over Yankees wooooo hooooooo! David Price was incredible and he got run support. Couldn’t have asked for more. We won the first game against the Yankees last year too, and they came back to win the next two, so we’ll see how today and tomorrow go.

I don’t have a whole lot new to report about Jayden. His work continues to be wonderful. We are having one issue, which will be a gigantic issue if we can’t get it fixed though. I tried calling GDB on Thursday but the phone was busy busy busy. On Tuesday, Dave and I were working on the route out of the complex, which had been a little difficult, because it’s not straight forward. There are two curbs I want him to target, but he was having other ideas. So Tuesday I got out the clicker. Fun! Dave hadn’t really seen clicker training before, and he enjoyed it a lot. After the final back chaining, starting from the beginning, Jayden targeted both curbs without issue. Yay! Then the trouble really started.

After the second curb ends, it’s a country road. That means a long straight road with no sidewalk. Asphalt right next to dirt. Jayden does not want to go down the road. We work it on the left, facing oncoming traffic. He doesn’t want to budge. Dave suggested trying the dirt, that maybe he would see that as safer, but no go. He does not want to go down the road. I wanted to end the day on a good note, so we crossed to the other side. He has no issue on that side. He goes no problem and again, we’re facing oncoming traffic. It’s exactly the same. There isn’t a lot of traffic and it’s not a dangerous road. So I don’t know what the issue is. The country road lesson at school was absolutely horrible, horrible. So bad that when I got back to the dorm I was in tears and had to call Kevin to get me out of a rage. I really tried not to let it transfer to Jayden, but what if it did? I’m afraid that’s why he’s hesitant. But then he’s fine on the other side. I’ve tried the GL and it’s the same. It’s not like he’s sniffing or distracted. Until he masters that, we can’t leave the complex on foot. I’m sure I’ll get through to Grad Services soon, but does anyone have any suggestions?

After we got home after that, I took Jayden’s harness off and let Dave finally say hi. He is definitely a dog person haha! I have never seen Jayden go so crazy hahaha!! Bouncing around and running as far as his long leash would let him. It was really fun.

I did the same after my workout on Wednesday, let Lisa and Glenn say hi to him and he was so happy.

Oh, yesterday Lish said Jayden just looks so happy when he’s working. That made me very happy to know. She said his tail was going the whole time and he was smiling. Yay!

He’s still doing great at home. He’s free except at night, where he’s still in his kennel. He lost his tug rope privilege for awhile though. I had it on a tall dresser, and he actually went and got it down and was chewing on it. Noooo. Haha! So it’s put away for now, and he’s rediscovering his tug ring, goughnut and kong.

He loves to chase after Spinelli. I let him briefly until she starts hissing. After I stop him his heart is racing and he’s panting hehe!

We’ve definitely gotten to the place I’ve heard some handlers say as, he’d crawl into my skin if he could. We are peas in a pod, love to be together. He’s rarely away from me unless he hears something outside and goes to check it out. After I shower he comes into the bathroom like, I knew you were there but I couldn’t see you. Haha!

I just love him and everything about having a guide dog. I can’t wait to go for a walk. We’re just gonna go walk the complex, since he hates the road leading out, so I won’t try that alone yet.

I think that’s about all. Oh wait! I lied!

Thursday was laundry day and I had two loads since I hadn’t done it the previous Thursday. So first thing in the morning I got everything sorted and Jayden and I took the first load down. He did great! I’ve taught him to always target the mailboxes when we go that way, not just so he knows where the mail is, but because it’s a landmark for my orientation. I paid extra attention to my inner distance meter so I’d know when we were close to the laundry. There isn’t always noise of machines and smells of detergent, so I’ve realized I have to know how far we’ve walked in case he misses the door like he did the time we got lost and had to call for help. I put the first load in the wash and we came ack home, no problems. We left again a little later for the second load and the laundry swap, and he did great again. We came back home, I took his harness off and then realized I hadn’t put a washer sheet in the second load. Arg. Harness back on, back to the laundry room, except I use the front load washer and you can’t open it once it’s started. Arg. So my clothes got a good soaking haha! We came back, then went down again, to restart the washer and bring the dry clothes back. No problems, except some neighbors distracted him, but since I’m now getting better about being aware of how far we’ve walked, I cought it quickly and got him back on track. Then we had to go back to swap the load to the dryer, walk back home, then back down to get the last load. It was exhausting hahaha! But I think we’ve got the laundry down hahahaha!!!!

Oh and also on Tuesday after the country road thing, we did the route down to the office which I hadn’t done yet. I wanted Dave there, even though its a pretty straight forward route. Well, we didn’t need him once. As we approached the office, I heard people and a very aggressive sounding dog. So did Jayden. He stopped dead and didn’t move. When he does this, I now know he is checking out a situation. When he’s distracted, his body moves and his head is going back and forth. When he’s concentrating, he doesn’t move a muscle. Once he could tell the dog was contained, he continued. I absolutely love how cautious he is. He does that with cars too, even if they aren’t too close. He won’t move until he knows what they’re doing. I love it. I feel so safe with him.

I told Dave I wasn’t surprised the office route went fine, because it’s straight forward, a sidewalk to follow the whole way. Dave laughed and said, no it’s not. Don’t you remember accidentally following a branching sidewalk into the parking lot with your cane? Oh yeah. I forgot there are a lot of possible paths that Jayden could have taken. But he kept on the straight route, and really that’s how he was trained anyway, not to turn unless I tell him. I still feel good about that walk though. There are lots of flowers and bushes along the way and he didn’t sniff once.

Ok, I think that’s really it. Yeah. Unless I remember something else haha!!!

7 Comments

Filed under baseball, Doggy Diaries, dogs, fellowship, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, laundry, misty eyes, no no sightie, Orientation and Mobility, sobriety, Spinelli, Timmy, transitioning, working dog

7 Responses to Doggy Diaries – Mother of all updates

  1. Wow! That was a big update. I haven’t commented in a while, but it sounds like things are going pretty well with Jayden, other than the country road issue. I hope you are able to get ahold of grad services and get some help. Just a thought, are there any weird surfaces or overhanging trees are anything that might make weird shadows on that one side of the road? I have run into that problem before.

    People were probably really happy to see Jayden at the service…dogs seems to just project a calming influence in those sort of situations.

    Hope you are having a great weekend and have some nice weather!

  2. Hmm. I’m not sure what to tell you for the country road – maybe try some high quality treats and when you get there treat and reward for every step you take where he hasn’t before – associate the road with something good. a.k.a. the treats. I know you used dog cookies before but my puppy raising manager swears by freeze dried liver. She calls it Doggy Crack.

    As for the speed bump, while training Bob I am told he needs to stop and show me everything a blind person could trip on so I stop him at speed bumps and such. Also, Egypt shows Darrell speed bumps so maybe next time stop him, do the bump again and tell him careful while showing it to him. Then reward if he does it right.

  3. Ro

    Hmm I’ll have to have Dave look for shadows. There aren’t any trees. I want to try the high values but haven’t been able to get any. I knew I should have just reworked the speed bump, but it tok me by such surprise, I just kept going lol. I’ll do that next time.

  4. So neat to hear how well things are going. You & Jayden are obviously a perfect match!!

    I agree with Natalie — freeze dried liver is my secret weapon of choice, haha! I’m sure you’ll get that country road figured out…hopefully someone can go along and observe and help you understand what Jayden might be thinking. Sounds like he may be concerned about something since it sounds like he’s a good, cautious guide.

  5. Hmm I’ve never had a problem with James refusing to go down a road because there was no sidewalk or anything, but what if you heeled Jayden and used your cane down the road, stopping every step or so to reward him and show him that yes that road is safe and yes you can navigate it and yes he can successfully go down it and get high value rewards. I would be hesitant to work him down the road in harness if he is nervous about going down it but I would think if you just heeled him and used your cane, that could build some positive associations for the road.

    If you don’t have any “real” dog treats bits of string cheese, hot dog or low salt lunch meat work really well for most dogs.

  6. Ro

    You know, I’ve been thinking about patterning with the cane. We patterned with Dave going sighted guide, but all the other routes, I’ve patterned with the cane. You just reinforced that idea. I don’t have anything for a good treat, but I do have the remains of the Kong cookie bag. I can break those up, and use those. I think we’ll do that. Thank you! If I have a chance I’ll do it beofre Tuesday when Dave is here, or else I’ll wait and do it with him, that way he can look for shadows and things, if that’s an issue. But I think the cane might just be the answer.

  7. L^2

    Yep, Katrin’s suggestion of working it with the cane while heeling Jayden is what I was going to recommend too. He could be remembering your response to the country road in class, so you want to get him to associate country roads with good things instead.
    Also, if you don’t have any other treats, just use kibble. I know it’s not a “high value” reward, but it’s still a good reward to any dog that loves food. 🙂

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