Howdy folks! 🙂
Today was another great day. I am not a morning person as most of you all know so waking up at 6:30 is NO easy task. At the beginning of the trip, I was doing fine at waking up but each day I get more and more exhausted and each day it becomes harder and harder to wake up, haha. But I’m doing it fine.. it just takes some self-convincing. 🙂
Wake-up, feed, water, relieve at 7am. Breakfast at 7:30 was a “skillet” but it was essentially an omelette. No lecture after breakfast. Instead, we went directly outside to relieve our dogs and then loaded the vans for Portland. On the way to the van we had another big dog distraction, to again, teach “time-out.” On the way there we learned more material and quizzed. My partner went first and then I went second. We did the normal route so that I can keep working on it since I’m rather familiar with it now and know what we SHOULD be doing so I can figure out when we’re not doing how we should be doing. We stopped at a Starbucks too but I didn’t have any money on me this time.. darn! 😛
We then went back, had lunch (yummy penne salad), went out on another route again and did great. Then my instructor taught me how to go with her on revolving doors. THAT is an interesting task, let me tell ya.
A little kid asked to pet the doggy and then somebody asked us if I was training the dog. My instructor cleverly responded, “No we’re training her! Haha.” I got interviewed by a reporter guy from Alaskan Airlines because he was doing an article on service dogs. I was the only one interviewed which was interesting. He then decided to follow on my route and that made me nervous so my instructor made him go away. 🙂
After my second route, I learned how to put on dog booties. They are so cute. They are meant for when it is really cold, really hot, there might be dangerous sharp objects or the like on the ground or when there are chemicals on the ground like to melt the snow/ice or whatnot. We drove back to our dorm area and learned how to use the Gentle Leader. It is used when there are situations when you really need to know what the dog’s head is doing and/or when there is a high chance of a lot of distractions. This can be in a food court, when there are a lot of dogs around, etc. Those things are kind of complicated because of all the different pieces, especially for those with visually impairments. After that, we learned clicker training. To the dog, this is a game and actually it’s quite fun. It’s a way to train the dog to find something. We can use back-chaining, which I have explained before, to do this but say I was at a hotel for a conference for the weekend or something of the like and I needed to teach Makiko to find our room pretty fast we could use that. There is a specific method to doing that but I don’t think I’m gonna explain it here, it’s kind of hard to explain without seeing it.
After that was dinner time for Makiko, watering, relieving, and then we hung out for a bit.. we had about 25 minutes until it was dinner time for me. I kept Makiko in harness. Well, apparently I fell asleep. Dinner is at 5:30 and at 5:40 somebody came knocking on my door asking if I was coming. Oops. All I did was pop out of bed, grab Makiko’s harness and leash and head out the door. No brushing hair, no nada. Oh well it wasn’t that bad. 🙂 We had Macaroni and cheese and a salad– delicious!
After dinner we learned how to properly clean our dog’s ears out. We then watered our dogs and then learned how to brush their teeth. This is the only thing that Makiko hasn’t been absolutely perfect for but she hasn’t been exposed to it that much. She likes the flavor of the toothpaste but moves her head around a little which makes it a bit difficult/silly to brush her teeth. Mission accomplished and the teacher said I did great. 🙂 We groom our dog, everyday. It doesn’t really take that long, it’s a great opportunity to bond to your dog, and we have to make our dogs look really nice all the time since they are service dogs and can go anywhere we can go. So grooming our dog is once a dog, teeth brushing is ideally once a day, ear cleaning is once a week, and bathing is as needed but around three times a year. That all together sounds like a lot but it’s really not. For what she does for me, I owe it to her to keep her feeling and looking great. We then went back to the room for a bit and played and then I groomed her. At 8:30 we went out to relieve and then finally it was time that I could settle in for the evening. I did some stuff on my computer, played with Makiko more, talked to my family and boyfriend, and now it’s time to go to bed.
Tomorrow we are only doing a half-day in Portland and then doing some stuff around campus, I’m pretty excited about that. A few things that I wanted to mention. Until yesterday, we weren’t allowed to work our dogs in the buildings. We hadn’t learned all the proper ways to work her in buildings. Also until yesterday we had to heel Makiko out (without a harness) and use our canes when relieving her outside. Yesterday we were allowed to start working her out to the relieving grounds. Once we get there, we take the harness off, let her do her business, put it back on and then work our way inside. We are doing GREAT!
Tomorrow night we will be able to start relieving on our patios. We have two patios, one connected to our living room area in our room and one connected to the bedroom area. The bedroom area patio is just to chill and hangout and the other patio is for relieving. They have poop bags out there that we can clean up the poop in and then they have a bucket. The instructors or the housekeeping staff then hose off the patios for our next use. I am looking forward to relieving on the patios so I can go out there still in my pajama’s and a hoodie, especially in the evening, and not have to trek all the way outside with the group again, haha.
Makiko and I are already super close and she is a great dog. I can’t believe we have accomplished this much in only 4-5 days. Our program is 2 weeks long total.. can you imagine what you can accomplish in the 4 week long programs?! However, this length of program is perfect for me and my life right now and then when we go home we’ll just have to keep up things. They say it takes a solid 6 months to really cement things but of course you always have to keep working with her, motivating her, etc.
A few other random notes:
- I’m not sure if it’s the shampoo or Oregon climate but my hair does all this whacky style stuff here and I’m none too fond of it, haha.
- Before Dad passed, I promised him that I would start working out to keep my lungs and body healthy. Because I’ve been so busy and still grieving Dad and whatnot, I hadn’t made it to the gym yet. However, I definitely think this is considered a workout. After I return home, I’m hoping to go to the gym or keep up the rigorous exercise in some fashion. Dad even offered to pay for a personal trainer for me to learn the equipment better in the gym. I told myself, before I got Makiko, that when I got a guide dog I’d go to the gym with her and I really hope/intend to do that.
- Makiko is so good. When I have the food bowl or water bowl in my hand, I put it down and she waits until I tell her she can have it. I’m telling you, she is so well trained and is just precious! The PERFECT dog for me!
- Makiko is very much a “go go go” kind of dog and that very much fits me because I’m usually quite busy. However, when I want to settle down in the room or sit down somewhere, she has absolutely no problem doing that. If we’re there for more than like 4 minutes, she’ll lay down if I let her and just relax. So cute! The other side to this is that she is a very fast walker. I am not. We have found a good compromise. No, she doesn’t drag me.. I just speed up my pace a little bit and she slows down. This will be good when I get back to campus and walk with people like J.L *cough* because she walks quite fast and I won’t have to worry about obstacles or what my cane will hit and so I can keep up! 🙂
I think that’s all for the evening. It’s a little later than normal so I’m pretty tired. Excuse any grammatical errors in this post. Pictures and good night! 🙂