Day 11 Part 2 – Revolving Doors, Freedom and announcements to work colleagues

Before we proceed with the rest of day eleven’s activities, I wanted to point out how difficult it is to write without expressing or mentioning gender or names of my guide. To give this a way, my dog is a boy but that is all we will say for now. Come back on Sunday for all the details. OK, let’s continue the activities for the rest of day 11!
OK, now we venture out in the afternoon of day eleven. We all loaded up into the van and proceeded to head downtown where we worked on revolving doors followed by OCS.
I won’t say much about revolving doors except to say that I personally have hated them, and this continues to be true. He doesn’t care for them either so I think we will avoid them at all costs if possible. The goal here is to put the dog on the right-hand side of your body with me keeping my left hand on the glass of the door and walking forward. This keeps the dog’s tail from getting caught in the revolving door. He absolutely hated this experience and rushed through the door to escape the overall experience. I don’t blame him at all!
This brings us back to the second part of our journey for this trip, that being OCS (Orientation, Coaching and Solo). This is a technique where we teach the dogs to target a specific location through a technique of orienting ourselves to the target using sighted guide through the entire route. This is a combination of someone showing us the path, having the dog sit at strategic points and reworking back to the target in baby steps. We do this all without the use of Clicker. This is all based on praise and repetition. Once the path has been determined the team works the route in “Coaching” mode, meaning that the sighted assistant works with the team, standing behind the person’s right shoulder to observe and to “coach” the team where needed. Once this is completed and reworked if needed then it is time to solo the trip. Just like our routes in town, the team does this independently and corrects as needed, including reworking portions of the route if necessary. We targeted a bank teller machine and with one exception the plan worked very well.
We then worked our way back to the rest of our class and other members of the class participated in the activity.
After we returned from our trip, we did a bit of “recall” work with our dogs with the “here” command. The goal here is to work on getting the dog to come when called. We start with recall on leash and then on a longer lead. Because the ExtendaLeashes were being used we did this with him off leash in the hallway with my instructor. The steps are this:
• Have the dog sit.
• At the beginning have the dog rest and make a long leash.
• Command the dog to “rest” in place and walk away from the dog.
• Place a bit of food in your right hand and make a fist.
• Place the fist in front of you, about chest high and command the dog to “here”, meaning to come but with the “here” command.
• While commanding them to “here”, extend your right hand in front of you with your fist closed until the dog touches your fist with their nose.
• Once the dog has touched your fist with their nose then open your hand and treat.
• Repeat this process by making the distance longer and longer each time.
The goal here is to have them sit and then treat. The goal is to not need to treat when performing “here” but this will take a bit of time.
In typical fashion, all of this leads to our discussion in the evening in a lecture that was entitled “Odds and Ends”. More on this in a minute!
We returned from our trip, and I proceeded to get out of the van and worked my way toward the building. Now, this furry friend has been outstanding for the most part with dog distractions, cat distractions and distractions in general. There was only one occurrence on a trip where he was very distracted on one of our routes. The only exception to this was the planned dog distractions with Seeing Eye poodles. He would never really stop for them but would slow down and look a lot. As we approached the building something was significantly different. He was very much distracted, and it showed in his work tremendously. Come to find out the dog’s trainer was standing near me as we worked our way into the building. I will have much more to say about this on Sunday, so stay tuned about this. We talked for a good 20 or so minutes all about my dog, her work with the dog and overall impressions of her work with my guide. The trainer told me a bit about the family and the work she did with the dog. Again, I will reveal much more about this on Sunday so please come back this weekend to learn much more!
After dinner we had our “Odds and Ends” lecture. We talked about the following things:
• Freedom in the room.
• Free range water.
• Adequate recall, “Go to Your Place” and good door behavior. These things are crucial at this stage. If they are not then freedom must be closely monitored, especially if someone knocks at the door and the door is opened.
• Alone time. Yes, the dogs must learn that it is OK for us to leave the house. They must also be reassured that we will be back. So, this is also a crucial part of moving our way forward to leaving the Seeing Eye with our dogs.
• We talked about the importance of monitoring our dogs when outside and not letting them off leash at all costs. Tragic stories were told, and this always broke my heart.
• The last point made was about the appropriate way to place the collar on our dogs.
I wanted to circle back to an activity that took place on day 10, that being a food lecture. We talked a lot about the appropriate and inappropriate things that were allowed for dogs to eat. Much of this was not a surprise to me. The basic rule here is stick to the food we are feeding them now. Limit their intake to this only. They don’t need people’s food under any circumstances!
After dinner I went back to my room and worked on a bunch of work-related activities. After taking the puppy out for park one last time I give my guide some freedom in the room. I found that the furry one loves his crate and would go there most of the time.
I then worked on taking the Seeing Eye “Coming Home” letter and significantly revised it for my colleagues at the University of Arizona. I included pictures, video content from me being introduced to my guide along with video content from the Seeing Eye from their YouTube channel. This was a bit challenging to accomplish as I needed to get the videos and photos transferred to my computer and then placed into an email and on OneDrive for distribution. This was all good prep for this weekend as you will soon see.
While working on this my shopping order arrived so I ran downstairs to meet the driver. I carried my stuff upstairs and put it away. I then completed the email and sent it out to my work colleagues.
After this, Keri, my wife for those that do not know, and I did a bunch of research on crates for both work and home. The crate we had for Rory, Jacinda and Tawny was quite old, so it was time to replace it. We went with the 36-inch Amazon Basics crate, and we ordered two of them, one for home and one for work.
By this point it was about 10:30 and I was wide awake! This is going to catch up with me for sure later today. I am writing this on day 12 after taking the dog out and grooming him.
I spoke with friends on the phone and on Club House and finally made it to bed around 12:30 AM this morning.
It is almost time for breakfast so I will write more later day twelve’s activities. I know we most likely will do something outside in the morning and we will do things inside in the afternoon. The temperatures will reach about 94 here today.
I will have more to say this evening. Come back for more!