Day 2 at the Seeing Eye

Sunday started with me getting up and getting ready. I heard the announcement for the wake up call and it took a few minutes for me to get out of bed. I proceeded to write up Saturday’s activities and get them posted to the blog.

Breakfast was very good. We had a cheese omelet, English muffins and fruit. After breakfast we went to town for our second Juno walk. It was raining so I grabbed my coat which turned out that it didn’t help much. More on that in a bit.

We got into the vans and drove for about 5 to 7 minutes to the down town lounge. I walked into the building and didn’t sit down as Barb (my instructor) informed me that I was first. So, out we went. We worked on pace, pull, correction strength, hand signals, voice level for giving commands and all things we will need with the new guys. A lot of emphasis was placed on reminding us retrains on those things that are different from our older guides then with the new guys. The basic rule is that you need to be very clear with the new dog and not assume that they know how you wish to be guided. In time, communication will become more clear and you can be assured that your expectations will be met, just be patient.

Tom Pender (the class supervisor) was out and about watching us work with the instructors. We saw him along the route. Barb forgot her pass at the school so she borrowed one from Tom. By this time I was completely soaked. My jacket was sopping wet. I am certainly glad that I left my cell phone on the table with Ree (a person in class).

We got back to the lounge and I proceeded to listen to the MP3 files that were given to us on the little MP3 player. These are all lectures we will get in class. They are assuming that we have reviewed these prior to each lecture.

I listened to the Sirius radio description. I am following in love with it and I think one may be in my future at the house. I love all of the options available on it.

After all of our us finished our Juno walks we went back to the school and had a fire drill. They told us that it would be very loud but it really wasn’t. It was still raining and Karen didn’t bring a coat out with her. She shivered the whole time we were out there.

We then had a meeting with Tom Pender prior to lunch. We talked about dogs and how they think. He told us a bit about the training process. It was really more information that we had received in prior classes so it was fun to listen to it. He went long so we were a bit late to lunch.

Lunch was steak, potatoes and evil vegetables.

After lunch it was dog play time. We went up to the common lounge and got to see four dogs while Barb went over obedience commands. We basically had all types that the Seeing Eye breeds. Barb gave them fake names. We had Juliet (a Shepard), Blackie (a black Lab), Goldie (a Golden Lab), and Yellow (a yellow Lab). Very original names ;).

One thing I noticed was that obedience commands were quite different from 7 years ago. All commands can now be given with only the left hand (with few exceptions). Come and Sit were vastly different. It will take a bit of practice for those of us that have done it the old way for so many years.

Barb then took the dogs back and came back to show us the Gentle Leader. I am very familiar with this. She then read us a short paper on “Go to your Place”. None of my dogs were good at this so I am hoping this one will be.

I expressed a concern about the Dog’s place in my room. It is right next to the door. This will make things very interesting.

Those of us who were retrains were excused as Barb worked with the other 3 classmates on how to put on the harness.

I went back to my room and listened to Mushroom FM (a brand-new radio station on the Internet) and checked email and tweets. I gave Keri a call and she was taking her brother Tim back to his house.

Dinner came at about 5:15 and it was yummy. I am unsure on what the name of the pasta is now (very early Monday morning as I write this) but it was very good. We had Italian bread and those that wanted it had salad. Desert was Pound Cake, yummy. Up to this point I hadn’t eaten desert. Lunch and Dinner meals have deserts. I am trying to watch that for a number of reasons :).

After dinner we went up to the common lounge and got a lecture on Dog Day activities. For those of us that were retrains it was pretty basic stuff. We received our grooming supplies for the new dogs.

After the lecture they had a social for the class with wine and cheese and crackers. I made my exit and went to get ready for Monday.

A bit later I came back out and talked with a few guys in the Men’s lounge. Joel, one of our class members, is a judge. He had very fascinating stories to tell. I have to get to know him a bit more. He seems like a very interesting guy. He went to bed one evening and awoke totally blind. It was caused by a very rare medical condition. The rest of his story was amazing to hear as he described how he moved up throughout his career. He even served as a clerk to the Supreme Court.

I saw Barb wandering the halls and we chatted briefly. After this I came back to my room and put my iPod in the headboard and plugged it in. I listened to some old Star Trek episodes and fell asleep.

Today is going to be an exciting one as we get our dogs in the early afternoon.

I will try and put up a post later today with the details. I suspect it will be in the evening so stay tuned. The nice thing is that most of the people at home will still be at the office more than likely so they will get the news.

We are expecting more rain this morning. I am not looking forward to that.

I will write more later. Keep the comments coming on the blog, I love it.

9 thoughts on “Day 2 at the Seeing Eye”

  1. I love reading your posts. I’ve had three dogs and have been seriously thinking about a fourth, but not quite there yet. I absolutely loved the training all three times and wished I had a job working with the new dogs as they come in for being given out to new students, that’s how much I love the doggies. I actually had an opportunity to apply for such a position, but the wife didn’t want to move to the ultra-burbs and give up her job.

    Enjoy Dog Day, I remember them well. Don’t know about you, but I could hardly sleep the night before!

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Very interesting reading and I’m looking forward to the following days, too. I’ve always wondered what, if any, the differences may be between guide dog training in the UK and the US and this is giving me my first insight. I hope you manage to find the time to continue and good luck when meeting your new dog today.

    Do you know the breed and name of dog in advance? For the past few years in the UK, they’ve moved over to a practice of carrying out a “matching” walk in advance of training wherever possible. I’m ambivalent about this as I can see the logic of it but, I must admit, that it takes away from the excitement of not knowing what the new dog is going to be!

  3. I enjoyed your post. Like Adam I am from Australia and find your descriptions of life in training very interesting. I eagerly await the news of your new dog.

  4. Keep up the great work, I’m loving the chance to hear what it’s like for you in training, it sounds like you’re doing great!

  5. G’day Jeff. Like Adam and Jordie I, too, am from Australia. It’s wonderful to be able to share this exciting journey with you and to learn more about the training methods at your particular school. Can’t wait to read details about your new dog. Cheers, Jay.

  6. Interesting. Tom Pender was my instructor back in 92 or 93 when I tried a dog. I really liked him and glad to see he’s still around.

    Out of curiosity since I’ve not really kept current with the dog world, when did they switch to giving dogs on Monday? The one time I was there you arrived on a Saturday and I’m pretty sure received the dog on a Sunday, like the next day after you arrived.

  7. Hi Jeff, I like my husband Richard found your first couple of posts very interesting. It is nice to hear how the training is done in the USA to compare with how we do it in the UK.

    I look forward to reading what’s to come.

  8. They serve vegetables, I’m wth you on that one.. it sound barbaric!! As for the dessert, you’ll probably be working that off each day with all the walking you’re going to do. i think this is the one time you can have guilt-free enjoyment! hehe

    it’s dog day! Yay! I hope you get to write in tonight. I know lots of us are eager to hear. Enjoy your day!

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