My Journey at the Seeing Eye

Rory’s Puppy Profile

Rory was raised in Pennsylvania by a family with 4 children aged 8 to 15. They had 2 other friendly and affectionate dogs but no cats. She was a good eater and was clean in the house. They took her outside to empty on a regular schedule so she didn’t need to tell them when she needed to go out. When her family was not home Rory was left in a crate.

Rory and her family went many places such as church, malls, hotels, baseball games, movies, on elevators, to school, and after school functions. Rory was friendly towards children and strangers.

Rory’s family said she rode in the car a lot and enjoyed the rides. She liked to have her belly rubbed, and to play fetch with tennis balls. She did also like to eat the tennis balls though.

Days 13 and 14 at the Seeing Eye

The next two days at the Seeing Eye were pretty uneventful compared to the last few days :).

We started the South Route on Thursday and soloed it on Friday afternoon.

The first two trips went without a hitch. She is really focusing on curbs now and doing a great job. I did notice that her pull was slowing a bit near the end of the route but I wasn’t concerned because I knew it was not her normal pull.

Thursday morning and afternoon I had to continue to heel her around the building. Starting at PARC time I was able to start using the harness. I could work her to and from the shuttle when we were downtown though which was nice.

Lucas Franck and I did a double Clicker training session to try and get caught up. That went well and boy is she a quick learner.

Thursday evening we had a discussion about the harness and giving free water and freedom in the room. I can not start these activities quite yet as she is quite new still.

I got to bed about 9:00 or so and boy was I tired.

Friday we continued the South street route. Barb was going to be going to New York City with Lee in the afternoon so we did a practice solo before the real thing in the afternoon. It turns out I would be doing it with the class supervisor Tom Pender. Talk about nerve racking :).

Both routes went great. We had some dog distraction issues and a couple of clearance issues on the solo but over all the day went great!

In the morning on Friday Lucas Franck worked with me on Clicker training with the new seats in the dining room. Again, she picked that up like a charm.

We got back and I had to work with Rick on cleaning her teeth. That went fine, she honestly doesn’t mind her teeth done unlike all of my other dogs.

After this it was PARC time and dinner. We had to go to our new seat locations and she did it very well.

The evening was spent dealing with some personal things going on at home and then went upstairs to discuss the pizza party we are trying to plan for Saturday. We are not sure we can pull it off.

At this point it was PARC time.

I got to bed about 8:30 or so. I was very tired. I laid there and made a few phone calls and fell asleep around 9:15 or so.

This brings us up to Saturday. Some students have today off and some have Sunday off due to when instructors are off. Barb and I will be doing the Elm Street route twice today to try and catch up. More on that later.

I did find out that I will be staying at the Seeing Eye until 5/20 instead of 5/13. This is making for a very long trip :). Poor Keri.

Day 12 at the Seeing Eye

This turned out to be an exciting day.

I was a bit worried that Rory would keep me up during the night but she slept very well. I could hear her sometimes moving around but she really did a great job sleeping.

I got up at 5:10 and quickly showered, shaved and got dressed before PARC time was called and before them bringing the food to our doors.

I then played with Rory for about 30 to 40 minutes and also did obedience with Barb with her just prior to breakfast.

I am having to heel her around the house for the first few days just like I did with Vincent.

I learned that I would be on the 9:15 shuttle so I went back to my room and picked up my phone and went into the Men’s lounge to check email while the cleaning staff did their work in my room.

We had a lecture on the care of your dog today but I couldn’t do the hands on work with her due to her being so new. I did go and sit in and listen to the meeting. It was good socialization work for Rory.

I then left on the shuttle and Barb and I set off for our first walk with Rory. All I can say is that if I had wings I would have flown to the moon and back. Her speed and pull were off the charts, even a bit more then I wanted. It was a nice problem to have. Tom followed Barb and me for part of the route and we ended up finishing the route quite quickly. Tom suggests that her speed will decrease as well as her pull over time but so far at least the first trip it didn’t that much.

We went back and we had our class pictures. They now email out the picture of your dog to you which I think is very cool. I hope it gets here soon.

I was on the first trip after lunch and we did half the route using a short handle and the other half with the longer handle. I am unsure which I want to stick with so we will see. Rory loves me giving her praise with a chipmunk type voice and it makes Barb laugh. The second working of the Maple route was also good but indeed speed and pull decreased a bit more from the morning. Parts of this could be due to the heat. It was a bit warm out.

We got back to the school and I laid down for a nap after calling Keri to check on how she was doing. I slept for a couple of hours and then got up in time for PARC and feeding time. Rory eats very fast.

We then went for dinner.

After dinner Lucas and I worked on the beginnings of Clicker with Rory and we will continue on Thursday. We then had the vet lecture with Dr. Holly. I found it interesting that the question I had about snake bites and training dogs to avoid snakes was never asked of her until this evening. What brought this up was a snake bite that Keri’s Mom received yesterday and she ended up in the hospital for quite a while for observation.

After the vet lecture it was time to go out to PARC again and now after checking email I am writing blog posts. I did go up and spend some time in the Common Lounge with the rest of the class after PARC time for about 20 minutes or so.

That brings up to the current.

Steve wanted more information on the booties. We are using them simply for training purposes. The weather wouldn’t mandate their use right now but they want us to be familiar with putting them on and getting the dogs used to them while traveling. They are trained with them on also so it is really more re-enforcing already learned behavior (well, sort of).

See everyone on day 13.

Day 11 at the Seeing Eye

Tuesday was a difficult day for me. We got up, parked our dogs and ate breakfast. I was going to go out with Tom Pender (the class supervisor) to work on pull with Vincent. I went in on the 8:45 shuttle and met Tom there. We drove in the Prius to Madison, NJ. He had me work with Vincent with lots of play and praise to attempt to increase his pull. At times there was some but for the majority of the time it was not very strong. I expressed these concerns to Tom while we went back to the campus.

He then did a Juno walk with me in the driveway and told me he would begin searching to see what he could find.

I spoke to Michelle and Lucas Franck as I really wasn’t handling the situation very well. In addition, those on the Internet with whom I communicate with were a huge help to me throughout the day.

Tom came on got Vincent just prior to lunch and boy did it feel weird walking into the first dining room without a dog. It felt like all of the eyes of the room were looking at me (of which they probably were not). I started to cry at the table a bit and then we had a guest so I had to quickly compose myself as much as I could. I ate my hamburger and fries (that was what was for lunch) and kept pretty quiet.

I went back to my room and checked email and then went down to the front lobby and watched a Start Trek episode on the iPod to try and get my mind off of all of the activities that were taking place.

The afternoon crawled and I honestly thought it would never end. I stopped by to see Michelle, I went outside to stand in the rain a bit (it was lightly sprinkling) and went to talk with Pauline on potential travel plans if a match couldn’t be found. I wanted to have all of the options on the table if worse came to worse. I am Grandfather Chicken Little and many know this about me. If the worse could happen then I tend to believe it will (one of my unwanted features). The Unwanted Features is something that came up in class at our table and I will BLOG about it later at some point, everyone remind me ;).

I was sitting in Michelle’s office and she received a phone call:

“Is Jeff in your office?”

I guess Tom and Barb were hunting for me.

I received the news that they had found a new dog for me and that I would meet HER after dinner.

I ate dinner and then went back to my room to wait for Tom to bring her to my room.

Her name is Rory. She is 21 inches tall and 51.2 pounds. I do not have a birth date yet but hope to get that soon. Verification that she is a pure Black Lab is also needing to be determined but we think she is.

The rest of the evening was spent bonding with her and then off to a lecture on more Clicker Training activities from Lucas. Lucas is probably one of the most dynamic speakers in the filed there is. He really makes training fun with his sense of humor and overall tone.

We then took our dogs out to PARC and I returned to my room where we played a bit more and then it was time for bed. It was a day that started with lots of tears and ended with lots of them but the emotion swing was completely opposite. Man, I hope I don’t have many more of those while I am here.

More to come on the day 12 post. Thanks for reading everyone.

Day 10 at the Seeing Eye

I am writing this on Wednesday, May 5. I am a bit behind.

Monday, May 3, we got up at the sound of the wake up call and I got ready for the day and took Vincent out. I had cereal for breakfast.

We started the Elm Street route and I expressed more concern about Vincent’s lack of pull. So, Barb started to work with me much more on this both in the morning and the afternoon. I used a harness that was offset to the right and the handle was a bit shorter. Vincent wore his booties in the morning but not in the afternoon. It rained on us in the morning and as we got near the end of the route we heard lots of emergency vehicles screaming by. A transformer blew underground on Miller and boy did that create a big mess. The weather was warm so the rain actually felt kind of nice.

When we got back Barb took Vincent to the vet to have his paws looked at. It turned out that he had a bit of a problem with his left back paw, but nothing serious. Just need to medicate it.

In the afternoon she tied the harness handle to the body of the harness so that it did not give. We had no rain in the afternoon. The pull pretty much remained consistent.

The Elm Street route is much longer and the amount of traffic is much greater along this route.

I got back to the campus and was told that Tom Pender would be taking me out in the morning to work in Madison to see what he could do with Vincent’s pull.

On Monday night Shannon talked to us about dog food and toys. We started to switch Vincent from Imes to Pro Plan (or would on Tuesday morning).

I got to bed at 8:45 or so and slept pretty good.

Day 9 at the Seeing Eye

Sunday was a great day of rest. We got up at 6:30 and took the dogs out to PARC. We had a yummy yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and English muffins. Did I tell you it was really really yummy .

After breakfast we went upstairs to get the information on our dogs. Vincent’s are:

67.5 pounds
24.5 inches tall
Birth Date: 7/18/2008

He is a young pup.

I spent the rest of the morning kicking back and then met with Barb for our progress meeting. Things are going well. She dropped off another harness that is two inches shorter and offset to the right. We are going to try this to see if his pull will increase using this new harness. Let’s hope so.

She noticed he was licking his feet and so we put bitter apples on them to get him to stop. We will take him to the vet to get his feet checked just prior to lunch.

Then we had lunch. The afternoon was spent just relaxing and then dinner/PARC time. Really a completely uneventful day.

See everyone on day 10. It is Elm Street route week. We will do this on Monday and Tuesday with solo on Wednesday morning.

Day 8 at the Seeing Eye

Today is solo day where we have to work the route we have been working out without any instructor involvement.

It was hot in my room over night so I slept on top of the covers and was awakened by the announcement of PARC time. I quickly dressed, fed Vincent and took him out. I came back to my room to focus on reading email, doing some obedience and getting ready for breakfast.

I had cereal for breakfast and got ready to go out on the solo. The trip was uneventful accept for the major jump in temperature. It is 20 degrees warmer here then in Tucson for goodness sake. We got back to the lounge down town and man was I hot!

We then got back to campus after everyone finished and we took our dogs out for PARC again. Right from there we went to walk the leisure path.

Then it was time for lunch. I honestly wasn’t very hungry and just wanted to go lay down and take a nap. I ate quickly and went back to my room. I checked on email and proceeded to lay down and didn’t wake up until PARC time again. Boy, that 3 hour nap sure was nice!

It was then dinner time and we had pizza.

After dinner we had a short meeting on “Going Home”. They showed us a video that I have seen many many times.

I then came back to my room and called into Mushroom FM after PARC time at 8:00. I am now writing this blog post and heading for bed. We get to sleep in in the morning until 6:30. I am happy about that. Sunday we are only having a meeting to find out more about our dogs. I will post the specifics when I get them.

See everyone on day 9.

More on Day 7 at the Seeing Eye

I did forget that I worked with Lucas Franck in the morning on Clicker Training again. We first sat at a table and looked at a map of the dining room. He then had me work Vincent to the new location where I will be sitting to eat in the new dining room. He attached the target to the back of the chair and we worked on teaching him to recognize the target. We would back chain (move further back as we worked the dog away from the target). For those that haven’t used Clicker you are in for a treat. It is a very valuable tool and I would strongly encourage that you sign up for the training when you come here.

Day 7 at the Seeing Eye

The day started about 5:30 or so. I took Vincent out to park and came back to write Day 6’s blog post and to read mail and tweets. I then went down for breakfast. As usual I was on the first trip and went with Lee as a pair on the South Street route. Walt (one of the supervisors) drove the silent car and the first traffic check he moved in front of me right by a very large truck. I thought Vincent was afraid of the truck but no it was Walt :). The rest of the route went well including the second traffic check.

I then came back to the school and groomed Vincent.

At 10:50 we took our dogs out again and then went directly to a meeting about “Dog Senses”. This is a lecture that hasn’t changed much but was fascinating. The mp3 player has a much more in-depth lecture on the subject then we heard.

It was then lunch time.

I finished lunch and went back out on the South Street route again. This time it was a semi-solo type route. What this means is that we made all of the decisions on what tasks would be done as far as crossings goes. The trip was uneventful. Only one run curb and an issue with a meter poll. He is doing quite well.

When I got back I decided to do my laundry. I lugged the bag down stairs and got the clothes loaded by 3:30. I had the clothes done just after dinner. I was quite happy about this. I really didn’t want to do it over the weekend.

The rest of the day was very uneventful. We had dinner and then I just kicked back. This week has been very long and tiring. I am looking forward to the weekend.

Steve commented on the blog and wanted an update on the use of GPS on the routes. I haven’t been able to do that. Barb hasn’t wanted me to turn it on on the routes. I was a bit disappointed by this. We will see though about doing it later on during training.

See everybody on day 8.