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.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tonight, I finally took Rockwell to school with me. I am exhausted. But it was a qualified success.

Peter is away overnight and so I thought it was now or never to take Rockwell to work because I've been saying I'll do it but haven't and he's almost a year old already. I packed his small kong, water bowl and a bottle of water from home in my backpack, put him in his jacket and off we went. Things were going well until he spotted what sure looked like a ball of horse manure by Centrepointe Theatre and went for it. I couldn't think what horse poop was doing there but that's what it looked like.

We got sorted out and continued over to the college. I picked up my folder at the continuing ed office in one building and then proceeded to the building I teach in. He was pretty darned good this whole time. When I got to my classroom, there was one student there already but Rockwell didn't seem to want to rush over to smell her so I was happy with that. A few other students started showing up and he was very interested in them but I coached them not to speak to him or make eye contact. That worked pretty well and he ignored them after a while.

I had brought the blue nylon leash and roped it around the leg of the desk so he wouldn't wander off. I put his water bowl under the desk where he wouldn't knock it over so easily and set out his kong. As students arrived before class started, we talked about him and his future and he lay there just as good as gold. I got two pictures before things -- changed, shall we say.
Rockwell's first day at school
Soon I was lecturing and he got bored perhaps and started chewing on the leash. That's another reason I didn't tie him up with the leather leash - it would have been chewed through in minutes. He did manage to fray the nylon one but it wasn't too bad. So I undid him. It turns out he was more interested in chewing the leash than in being free. It took him a while (after I took the leash away) to realize he could roam around the room.

I asked the students to try to ignore him and not make eye contact and they were very good about it. He went from student to student, sometimes pausing to lick at bare toes or sniff a backpack but the students were very cooperative and he just wandered around without getting into anyone's lap or anything (except for one girl near the end of the session who had him as a lap dog for a moment). He found a paper clip and chewed on it until I took it away. Some other times, a student reported that he had found a tic tac or some gum but I let him have those. At one point, he stood up at the back of the room where the windows are and put his paws on the windowsill so he could watch someone walking by.

So I say it was a qualified success because he didn't lie at the front of the class the whole time, snoozing at my feet. But the students were charmed by him and he didn't pee in the room so while we are both exhausted by the experience, it was pretty good all around.
Rockwell's first day at school


At 10:52 p.m., June 05, 2006, Blogger Patience said...

Congratulations Rockwell on your visit to school, and to Julia for taking you.

Calvin and Patience wish that they were allowed to explore the classroom too. I guess that's the advantage of being a teacher's dog rather than a student's.

Sam, Calvin, and Patience

At 11:18 p.m., June 05, 2006, Blogger IndyPindy said...

Yay for Rockwell! He'll get there, he's already pretty close!

At 8:27 a.m., June 06, 2006, Anonymous Jarapets said...

Always the first day at school is hard. I think that it was well and I hope he learnt a lot :)


At 10:09 a.m., June 06, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Yes Patience, being a teacher certainly has its advantages. I did ask my students if they were okay with letting him roam around and they gave their approval. At the end (it's a long 3 hour class), I took his jacket off and they were allowed to pet him if they wanted. Everybody was happy about that part, especially Rockwell.

Indy, I do see gradual improvement in Rockwell but I can't see him being ready any time before Fall.

Jarapets, one thing Rockwell did learn was that there is gum under the desks!

At 9:04 a.m., June 07, 2006, Blogger Sandy said...

What a grand success! Lying quietly for 3 hours would have been very tough for a dog of his age.

At 12:01 p.m., June 07, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Yes Sandy, I didn't expect him to lie quietly. But that chewing on the leash was annoying. I even brought his Kong for him so he would have something to play with and he ignored it.


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