Monday, 25 June 2012

Training Diary- Day One

I got picked up from school an hour early by my Guide Dogs trainer, Tracey. I was so excited! In the car Tracey explained how the training will take place and how Laila (I have been spelling her name wrong!) is a very sensitive little dog so we need to take things slowly. She told me how I will learn three routes during the training and will add more in a few months. I became worried and asked if I can only ever do routes with Laila, and if I know the way to a place can I do it without prior training. It was a relief for her to say that yes, eventually me and Laila's relationship and our understanding of each other will be will be strong enough to do any adventure as long as I know the route! Of course I need to learn all the commands first though...

We went back to my house and put my little dog Gracie in the conservatory while we talked. Tracey explained that over the next week she will show me the basic 'nitty gritty' bits of having a guide dog: grooming, playing, commands, spending (toileting) and obedience. We will also talk about the three routes I need the most which I have decided are: from the supermarket to the main pedestrian shopping area in my local town, home to Brownies so I can get there every wednesday and where my Mum drops me off in the mornings to school. Then poor Laila has to cope with me giving commands to get from room to room during the school day (poor thing!). I showed Tracey my reasonably tidy bedroom where Laila will be sleeping and she agreed that I need to move my desk and draws into the spare room so there is room for Laila and her bed. She also pointed out a few assorted teddies which she said I'd have to move if I don't want Laila to make friends with them!

Then Laila came in to explore the living room, she was sniffing around madly and it sounded more like a dinosaur had come for a visit- not a golden retriever cross! She did an amazing high leap to try and catch a fly and then I gave her some cuddles once she'd calmed down. Tracey explained that Laila was panting because she was a bit stressed, not majorly stressed, but just the same amount that I was probably feeling. I learnt how to take Laila through a door, asking her to sit, wait, opening the door with my back to it and then saying "Off you go!"...well I think that was it anyway... Possibly not the best house manners but Laila spent quite soon after getting into the garden, which I'm assured is a good sign she is feeling OK. We introduced our family dog Gracie to Laila and they seemed to get on well once Grace had made it clear she was here first.

Then I learnt how to tell Laila to lie down just like I want her to do when we go to school, this weekend I will have to put her on the lead in the house to practice this when I am reading or doing something that doesn't involve movement. I am really really happy. Bring on tomorrow!! 

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