Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sleeping by the door
Today, Rocky got his guide dog jacket. As it turned out, we didn’t do anything but practise not pulling at the leash but he did pretty well at that for such a young puppy. Guide Dogs are very strict about the protocol when Rocky is wearing the jacket. After all, he is an ambassador for the program and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves either. If he is wearing the jacket, he is WORKING. Since he is still very young, we don’t want to work him much each day (ten minutes is lots to begin with). So for now, we will go on longer walks and explore more of the ‘hood. When he seems settled and paying attention, I will put the jacket on him and we will practise “walk” and “leave”. Pretty soon, he will think his name is “RockyLeave”. If he gets distracted and acts like a puppy, I take the jacket off. If he pees or poops while wearing the jacket, I take it off. So we’re also going to have to learn to relieve ourselves before we leave the house (or the yard, in his case). Reminds me of road trips when we were kids and Mum would call out as we were leaving, “has everybody gone!?”

When I think he is ready (and I think that will be soon), I will start taking him into the foyers of places like the bank across the street and maybe the pub. Just to get him used to the idea. He is very distracted by people when he meets them on our walks around the ‘hood and he has to learn to ignore all people and dogs and everything else so that’s going to be tough. I have a feeling that when he is confronted by a gang of people all at once, he will find it easier to concentrate on me and not bother with all those other folks. I was really looking forward to going to the deli and having coffee and having people admire Rocky lying at my feet (ha!) but now I think that would be expecting too much too soon. Thinking about the possibilities, I might want to forego the coffee entirely.


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