Soon the desert heat won’t be so oppressive and isolating and I cannot wait! Dave and I were talking about all the stuff we’ll get to show Jayden when it cools off. Nice long walks Jayden doesn’t even know will get to happen. I can’t wait! The timing of getting Jayden was pretty good, but getting home in March meant we didn’t have a whole lot of time to start learning the bigger routes. Luckily there was enough to do to really solidify the bonding that we weren’t at all hindered. I can’t imagine trying to get back with a new guide dog in the hottest part of summer. We would have been immediately isolated and stuck indoors. I’m so glad GDB agreed with me on that and got me in to class as soon as possible. Thank God for that cancellation!
We usually do our outdoor stuff with Dave on Tuesdays since we can get out early, and our indoor stuff on the fifth day of the week. There’s not much indoor stuff left to do so this morning Dave suggested an abbreviated lesson, re-working the street crossing on the route to the store. On Tuesday when we did that crossing, Jayden tried to take me into the middle of a busy street. He had never done that before, and Dave thought it might have been because of all the turmoil with B going out of town and stuff, that threw Jayden off his game. So we drove to the spot since it was too hot to walk it.
Jayden nailed it every time and his pace was even better. Very strange. I guess Tuesday was just an anomoly. I don’t feel like looking up how to spell anomoly lol.
So then Dave asked if I needed anything since the lesson was short. He had just been worried about that crossing since he’s almost ready to sign off on the route so he was glad I agreed to work it. I pondered awhile, not really thinking of anything I needed and then thought mmm ice cream lol! Then the idea occured to me to work the upcurb in the parking lot, which I had never thought to work on with Dave.
When I’m out with friends, which never seems to happen anymore, but in the past when we’d get out of the car and approach the upcurb into a store, Jayden would blow it. I never fell or anything because I could feel him go up. So I was hoping he would do it with Dave so Dave could give me some feedback.
Luckily, Jayden blew it and since I was expecting it, I was able to give a firm NO and have him heel, sit tell him careful, the whole re-work. We went back to the car and he showed me the curb. Dave had said that when we got out of the car, he did like a normal sightie would do and watch me and Jayden and he made eye contact with Jayden. Dave said as soon as we got out of the car, Jayden was actually looking at Dave to follow him and forgot he was working.
So we stood by the car and pretended to chat and then I picked up the harness and told Jayden forward and he showed me the curb. Loud booming praise and kibble.
Then we did the same thing from across the parking lot. Dave acted like a friend and we chatted and Dave got ahead of us and stepped up on the curb to see if Jayden would follow, but he wasn’t fooled. He showed me the curb and got more praise and kibble.
It was a really good experience. I remember in the follow lecture, it said that a dog might start to rely too heavily on following people, so not to over use it. I therefor don’t use it often unless I’m getting help from a store clerk. The thing is, we weren’t really shown too much on what to do when out with friends. I never thought about how Jayden would decide hey, we’re with this person a lot, I’ll follow his or her lead. So now I know to get his focus on me immediately and be sure I’m directing him more than just having him follow.
It’s good to have had Dave see that from the perspective of a sighted friend. Of course a friend is going to be watching to make sure we’re ok, and they’ll look at Jayden, not knowing about the whole eye contact thing.
Since I can’t see the interaction between Jayden and people, I would never have known that. I can put a stop to verbal communication. Plenty of people whether friends or strangers, will talk to Jayden and when I hear that I can stop it. But I won’t notice them making eye contact with him.
I’m really happy with the way today’s lesson went and I sooooooo can’t wait for the weather to cool of so we can go exploring! I was telling Dave the main reason I haven’t done much venturing alone is because if it’s too hot, I could get sick and be totally screwed. So it’s nice to have someone with me. Often times I and others forget that my main disability is not my blindness, it’s the MS. Sometimes I get down on myself for not going out much, but that’s just how the summers have to be. Jayden has been totally fine, as the school assure me he would be as long as we found stuff to do here and there and did plenty of obedience and mind challenging stuff at home. He was just dream wagging on my leg, so I know he’s a happy dog. Just wait till it cools off Jay, you have no idea how much fun we’re gonna have!!!!
Oh yeah, and Jayden said I should get four pints of ice cream at the store as a reward for my hard work. 😉