Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another Dose of Deedee: Not Just a Walk in the Park

One of the primary jobs of a puppy raiser is to help the future guide dog become accustomed to all sorts of sights, sounds, smells, and other distractions.  What might seem like just another stroll around the block is actually a great opportunity for training.  


This morning, Deedee and I walked to the mall (and then through the mall), and in less than an hour, Deedee had lots of different experiences!  Here are Deedee's insights:

1.  Pigeons are ridiculous birds and are not worthy of a second glance, let alone a chase.

2.  Kristi walks quickly, then slowly, then stops, then starts--and expects me to match her pace.  I've got the different strides down pat, but I really don't understand the stop and go thing.  When I've stopped, I want to stay stopped.  Kristi says we are going to keep working on this.  I'm sure she'll figure it out sometime.

3.  Kristi has a thing about walking over different surfaces.  At first, I tried to direct her to stay on the smooth sidewalk, but she insisted we walk over grates and other such textured objects.  She tells me, "Nice!" and gives me a piece of kibble, so I'm a pro at this game now. 

Photo:  Black lab puppy, Deedee, stands on a grate and looks up at the camera.
4. When we stop walking, that doesn't mean I'm supposed to automatically sit.  Kristi will get to the end of the sidewalk and then push a button and wait for a beep and then cross the street.  She wants me to be ready to join her.  Sometimes, there are interesting things on the sidewalk, but I'm supposed to ignore those and pay attention.

Photo:  Deedee stands and turns away from the distracting tissue on the sidewalk

5.  The old people that walk for exercise at the mall are friendly, and when Kristi stops to talk to them, the way I'm supposed to say hi back is to just stand there and look adorable.  Guide dog puppies are a cool, calm, collected lot.  

6.  The children in the neighborhood who are walking running to school really want me to join them, but I am working, so I just keep walking with Kristi in the opposite direction.

7.  I won't even translate what the neighbor's big German shepherd was telling me, as he barked at us from inside his house.  It momentarily stopped me in my tracks, but Kristi wasn't phased, so we just kept on walking.  She's a pretty good judge of situations.  

8.  As you can imagine, the morning's training has me tired out. So, if you'll excuse me, it's nap time!

Photo:  Deedee settles in for a snooze.



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Thanks for learning opportunities!

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7 comments:

  1. Deedee, you have a pretty awesome doggy mom!

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  2. Deedee, it sounds like you are doing really well. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Deedee, you're completely right on no. 1. Stupidest birds on earth, always fly toward the road and cars in stead of away from them... How they still exist..?!
    Must be quite puzzling at times when Kristi stops for no reason and is expecting from you to figure out if you should sit or not.
    German shepards can be very nice, but I guess that depends on the food-supplier they have. Don't mind his language; German always sounds rather harsh, but they don't mean it like that....
    Keep up the good work sweetie, I'm sure Kristi will get the hang of walking and acting the way she should. Give her a hug for me. xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Bianca. I appreciate your explanation of the neighbor dog's accent. :-)

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  4. Sounds like DeeDee and Kristi both had a wonderful walk!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!