Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have been taught, not really learned completely yet how to get him to sit, lie down, heel, andd acome near me so I can put on his leash, harness etc. The obedience stuff like this has not gone too well. He is very distracted but I think that is partrially I am still somewhat tentative in my obedience commands and also there are many distraactions here. He has a ton of energy which is what I asked for so I can ony blame myself but that also means that during guide work and play timehe is really going fast and is easy to work with. By awork I mean guide work which has gone very welll or rather much better athen obedience work but I guess that will get easier as I get more confortable with that part of our time.I have received pretty much all of the equipment I will need which inclues a leash, a harness, some really cute booties for escalator travel or wet conditions. I got his second and third toys today, a bone and a rubber ring for pull games. The bones they are allowed are called Nila bones, no reagular bones are allowed or suggested but I hear from some folks in my class that they give their old guides sterilized marrow bones or something like that. Even in the toys, Guide Dogs never suggesta any ball, toys that can be torn apart or will distract them from guide work. Stuff like tennis balls are common in the world so if they see them as toys they can become distracted ... but rules may be made to be broken .. for now I will follow them and then when we are back home I will see what he can be good with. Mostly also anyathing that they can destroy and eat that will cause problems are out ...I did discover that some of my obedince issues can be resolved if I can get a bean bag chair. In general it is discouraged to allow the dog on any furniture because they can not distinguish between your sofa at home and those elsewhere ... but when I plop down on a bean bag chair he becomes a sicty pound lap dog and just sits on my lap and sleeps ...He also has the really cute habit of holding my hand or rather putting his pay in my hand and just staying like that ... for family, that is what reminds me of Walden so I really like that in calvin... Calvin also like to rest his head on my knee or leg and just rest there. This afternoon when he was taking a quick nap, as was I, I leaned over the bed to where he sleeps on the floor next to me and while he was snoring, he put his paw on my hand ..And yes, he snores but I have him set up for a sleep apnea assessment ... got it F?I learned how to clean his ears which he is not so fond of and also to brush his teeth today which he loves ... mostly it tastes like chicken, the toothpaste smells like chicken and not the good kind but he really loves it.Good news for me he seems to be a quick reliver - which means within minutes of going out for bathroom duties he goes very quicky. I am learning how to scoop the poop tomorrow, so far they have been doing that for us ...So far I have gone up and down on my experience in terms of being really pleased with my perfprmaace and being really frustrated. The word has gotten around the staff here and they are calling me a bit of a perfectionist ... I just do not agree but that I think I should have learned how to do much of what we have been shown. I know it has ony been a few days or less but overall I am thrilled on my choice to come hereand my choice of choosing Guide Dogs versus other schools ...I have worked through some of the obedience things and as handlers of this blog can attest to, it is difficult the first time, or so I am told but still the first actual guide work went really well. Calvin hardly makes any mistakes and I am sure most of them are because I am saying the wrong this or in the wrong way but he has already stopped me from walking across a street with a car that webt too early and guided me through sidewalks with lots of obstacles ... I walked the same route that he guided me through just with a white cane and I was really amazed of all the things I found that he just blew past safely.He is a really fast walker so out full speed guiding pace will be faster then what I I can do with a cane ... the one thing I notice is that I no longer have to find obstacles in order to avoid them.Of course, our first two guided walks were kind of emotional for when I finally sat down and thought if what doors he will open up for me. I did much of my guided work today with my eyes closed to feel what it will be like at night. We will have to do a solo night walk anyway to graduate. Trust is quickly building and is of course cirtical for the team.Team is what we call the handler and guide duo and I really feel like we are quickly approaching that even it awill still take weeks or months for us to bond and there is complete trust ... Pretty soon we will be finishing each other's sentences.A work about the school and the instructors and trainers. I could not have wished for a more supportive group. Althoug I have nothing to compare it to, when I have been almost ready to throw the towel, they have instinclively stepped and got me what I needed. I have had a few of those moments but I guesss these experiences have been much like the past months for me so as long there is more progress then setbacks then I am OK.There is just so very much info to remember and so little time or down time I hope I recall half of it. If not, I am sure Calvin will remind me.We have done much of our trainig in a small town closeby called Greshem, not sure how it is spellt but on Saturday we start guide work in Portland and I belive that is where we will have our final test ...The dorm here remains very comfortable and the meals continue to be outstanding ... I have had all from scratch meals, clazones, chicken vegatable lasagne, fallafel (tomorrow so we will see if it as good as Falaffel Drive In) ... for breakfast tomorrow I am having bagels that the chef makes herslef here .. I will suggest a special bagel breakfast with eggs and cheese ... I call it a bagelette ...We recieved our first toys for the dog tonight and I had my first play session with him. They suggest only a ten or fifteen minute session so we played tug with a rubber donut .. and my mild mannered dog who all I heard from all of a sudden started to growl and bark like he was about to attack but all the while his tail wagging madly ... He is going to be a ton of fun ...He seems a little more energetic then the other dogs in my class but I am the youngest here so I am happy about his character .. he always seems really happy to see me but I am his food and toy for the next ten years or so, I am happy to oblige ...Well, he has been alone for almost an hour now, on tie down in my room so I better go as I have some lecture material to read and I have dog slobber all over my clothes so I think I better shower ..I hope this has not been too boring for you, if you got this far ...I am sure I am missing some funny moments but I will try to post earlier tomorrow or next time so I can be more awakecheers to allDavid and CalvinCalvin and his Hobbies

Hello all, this computer is talking really funny so I am going to just type and hope afor the best. I tried to post last night and twice the night before but the only one that went out was the details of Calvin ... so here is a recap of what I think I missed to post and what has happened over the last two and half days, my time with Calvin so far.

Monday, October 11, 2010

May I introduce

My new friend.

Pics perhaps later this week

He is a pure yellow lab, he is 23.5 inches tall, weighs 63 pounds, he has darker ears and tail.

His name is Calvin.

Yes, Karen, his name is Calvin.

We had some interesting obedience issues today but I will learn.

Now I really need to sleep

until tomorrow

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hair of the Dog

Helloall and to all a good evening - the proper title for this first real post might as well have been "My first day of rehab" as no slight to how I spent my Saturday night or those in attendance. Let me explain, briefly, kind readers.

Last night I had the honour of attending a wedding of a very good friend of mine, you know who you are. Without naming names or going into details, I did not think I could drink that much, and I refused easily more then half of the drinks I was offered. The food was fantastic and endless. As some of readers will recall my expression, which is common amongst the kids of my time, I almost drank my face off. So, hence I felt as if I was checking into reahb today rather then  guide dog training - perhaps this is an intervention and I am really getting a service dog that will keep me away from food and alcohol.

Anyway, the wedding was great, and I did manage to get a few hours of sleep. It is now about 9pm Sunday evening and I am sitting aone in the computer room of the Boring Oregon campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

My experience so far ahas been extremely positive - the staff I have met so far are warm, friendly and very supportive. I expected nothing less and I have not been disappointed so far. I have only met four of the staff and I am very much looking to meeting the trainers and as I found out just today, my new companion.

Yes, I will get my dog tomorrow so tonight marks the last day I will not pick up the poop and I am looking forward to it.

The weather is a little rainy, as expected but the new dorm facilities here are great and, bonus, the kithcen and chef are amazing. Tomorrow I am havong a veggie empanada for lunch and grilled salmon with basmattie rice for dinner. I had three brownies today so I will be hitting the treadmill after thos post ... or not.

My class is small, only six of us, three newbies and three getting their next guide. They too are really nice and great resources for what I am about to experience.

Did I mention I am exhausted and a bit hung over ...  I think I just heard Lindsay Lohan down the hall ...

I will try to post again tomorrow with pictures but not sure I will have time ... plus the machines in the computer room are rather old - they have floppy drives. AT least they are 3.5" drives and not the five and a quarter ones ... it may crash at anytime but then again so may I ...

So the dogs are on campus, the trainer I met does know theur names and they already have an idea of which dog each of us are getting but they will not tell ...Apparently they used to play some jokes on handlers before they gave them their dogs to mess with their minds. This is an environment that my father would love, lots of chances for practical jokes ... I know he would have been proud today - when they were giving us the tour and showed us the smoking area I asked how many of their guide dogs smoke ...

OK, good might Gracie ..

A demain
Go Habs Go
David and woof ...