Edinburgh guide dog training: Day 14

Today has been the best day out of the whole of the training. It’s been one of those days where I feel like I am just walking along not having to concentrate too much and getting great work from Annie.

This morning I got to meet Annie’s puppy walkers. They are the people that socialise the puppy for the first year of its life before it goes off into training. They explained that one of the first things they do with their pups is take them to the brass band practice to get them used to the noise. It obviously worked for Annie after her star performance at Rock Choir last Wednesday. We chatted for a while and they gave me a CD of puppy photos which I can’t wait to put on the iPad so I can have a close look.

Then we went out for a walk so they could see her move in harness. It was a walk we have done lots and I was quite proud of myself for knowing where to turn and not needing prompting with the turns.

At one point we were sat for a while waiting for cars to pass before crossing the road and she clocked the family were watching but she continued to work. When I told her ‘Forward!’ she came to some parked cars and then took me to the right and round the cars back on to the kerb. She was really confident about it and I was very proud of her.

Then a bit further up the road there was some roadworks and she found the way round them by doing an off kerb obstacle. She was quite focused for the majority of the walk and was listening to me.

Once we had finished she realised that the family were definitely there and she got very excited. She didn’t know who to say hello to first. It was a great opportunity to say thank you for all their hard work. It must be hard getting them as a puppy and putting in all that hard work to give them up after a year. I will definitely be keeping in touch with them to let them know how Annie is getting on. I am still in touch with Sandie and Connie’s puppy walkers.

This afternoon we went into the city centre so I could change the dress I bought on Sunday afternoon. The place was packed out because of the bank holiday but Annie was very cautious and kept her speed down. We were weaving in and out of people and we only got brushed a couple of times. She was forced into a shop doorway by someone who wasn’t looking where they were going and kept going left and all Annie could do was follow her otherwise the lady would have tripped up. I enjoyed walking along feeling Annie’s movements, she really seemed to find the challenge very rewarding.

Tomorrow is our last day of work before we go home to learn the routes there. Two weeks has gone really fast.

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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