Edinburgh guide dog training: Day 2

Annie is in the building! As I type this she is laid on the floor next to me chilling out.

This morning started off with breakfast after a broken nights sleep. I think the excitement had got to me. After gathering together for a chat in the lounge we had a look at our kit and put it together.

I like the new ‘Do Not Distract Me’ sign I think it is easier to read. We also got a little kong and a nylabone for the dogs to play with. I was not very happy about finding a ‘Sam Brown’ fluorescent sash belt but thank goodness I can wear something on my wrist instead. I know being seen by drivers is very important but I want something flourescent, trendy and pink!

Next on the agenda was taking my imaginary dog for a walk round the building which felt very odd but it was useful to see the best way to do things while you don’t have the actual dog to think about too. An example is the fire door to the dog run where there is a rope you need to hook round to ensure you don’t get stuck outside. Holding the dog in one hand and the door open with your back it is a bit of a juggling act. I have found that I am improving the more I practice. We also practiced turns and did short handle walks to practice tension and turns. A short handle walk is where the instructor pretends to be the dog and you have to follow them holding the harness handle. It’s something I managed to avoid when I trained with Connie and Sandie but not this time. I found it quite useful to go over the commands because some of them are slightly different to what I have been doing. I’m sure I am still going to get a little confused for a while until the new stuff sinks in.

Annie arrived after lunch and promptly went to investigate the toys I had laid out for her. I brought with me a kong wubba and a cuddly dinosaur whose tegs make different sounds. She also has two toys that she came with one is a pink and green tug rope and the other is a pinky purple platipus that has been very much loved. We played a bit of tug and I threw the toys for her and she let me stroke her.

The final bit of the day was to go with the dog from our room to the dog run and back making sure that the dog sits and waits at each door and doesn’t stand up unless it is told. Annie is very keen and so I have to keep an eye out for her trying to pre empt what I am going to say. She also likes to speed along (like I do) so we have to practice going slow and steady in the corridors.

I managed to use the FaceTime app on my phone with my mum and my husband Graham so that they could see Annie playing which was lovely. It’s so nice to have the technology to be able to do that so they don’t have to wait until we get home to see how she plays and what she looks like.

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About Beth Dawes

I have no eye colour but I do have an iPad, a guide dog called Annie and a pink long cane.
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