GDB days 1-4

Yesterday, I left Minneapolis for GDB!!! I had a nice nonstop flight to San Francisco. I got to the airport where I chatted with classmates for three hours till all of us were here. We got on the bus and rode for about an hour to the hotel. Dinner was good. I have several food allergies, and the staff has been very accommodating. I had a BLT without the bread or dressing. Afterwards, we had info from the nurse. We can do yoga on Tuesdays, and there is someone who charges $1 per minute for a massage. When that was over, I unpacked and went to bed since I was exhausted.
My alarm went off too early today; I could have happily slept for a couple more hours. We met in the restaurant for breakfast before going downtown to the lounge. Laurie and Amy from admissions had us sign our guide dog user contracts and contact info/public release. My instructor is Emily Courage. We worked on the handling techniques. Something that is new to me is the time-out. When the dog is really distracted by something, like seeing another dog, we move our left hand down the leash, bring the dog in closer to the hip, and have him/her sit for 10 seconds. After that, we tell him/her forward, and when it is back on task, we halt and treat.
I got my dog! She is a 1.5-year-old female yellow lab named Jury. Her pace and pull are exactly what I’m looking for. She’s efficient and quick. She showed me all the down and up curbs, and we made it through a dog distraction with a time out.
She is very playful and cuddly. She wags her tail a lot, and she sat in my lap for a few minutes before curling up in a doggy donut and falling asleep.
She relieved at our final time. I’m so excited to have her, and I can’t wait to work her more tomorrow morning!

Yesterday morning, Jory was energetic and excited to see me as soon as she woke up. She pooped at the 8:15 relieving, and we got in the van to go to the downtown lounge. We had a nice long walk for 10 blocks or so, and our destination is café du cirque or something like that. She kept a fast pace the whole way there.
In the afternoon, we worked the same route with Kelly, the class supervisor, serving as a distraction. I had Jory sit, waited a few seconds, and gave her a treat when she got past him and refocused. That wasn’t the proper way to do a time out; I was confused, so we did Juno work for a few blocks after we got back. Its pull out the leash with the right hand, slide the left hand near the bottom bolt snap, and pull her over to my side and wait for 10 seconds. She can be sitting or standing and looking at the distraction or not. I look away from her and don’t talk to her. Then, I pick up the handle, ask her to go forward, and if she ignores the distraction, halt and treat. I also had to work on my left turns because I was trying to do moving ones and not the ones where I stop then turn.
We got toys yesterday. I haven’t tried her with the kong, but she was excited for the nylabone. She chewed it on her rug for at least a half hour before curling up in a ball to sleep before dinner. We also got the grooming kits with a double-sided pin and soft bristle brush, a zoom groom, two toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a washcloth. I haven’t groomed her yet but plan to soon.
Today was disgusting and rainy. We all looked like ducks with our bright yellow raincoat and rain pants. Jory seems to enjoy the rain. She walked me through all the puddles, and I wish I had my second pair of shoes with me. I didn’t know I was going to GDB before I left for Minneapolis 1.5 months ago, otherwise I would have packed them and brought a different bag. She figured out which surfaces would be slippery and where she could walk at our normal pace. She slowed down for both leaves and the metal grates in the sidewalk. I’m hoping this skill will carry over to icy sidewalks and hills in the winter. I don’t want her to injure herself like Dee did because that eventually led to her retirement.
In the afternoon, it was only sprinkling a little. She worked well passed the distracting Kelly. She blew a couple curbs this time, so we reworked them, and she got them on the second try.
Finally, we went to the grocery store because I needed to get more food for the refrigerator in my room. Safeway was extremely crowded. This was good practice for Jory because she needs to learn that it is sometimes appropriate to steady down to an in-door pace. She bumped my right side into the handle of a cart, so we asked the person to stay there for a few seconds for a rework. She did well going around all the displays and maneuvering me out of the way of people with shopping carts who cut us off randomly. Now, I have more fruit, vegetables, chips, and a little bit of chocolate.
Jory did not want to sit in the store. Emily and I decided she probably really needed to poop. She did. As soon as we got back to the hotel, I took her outside, and she went in about 20 seconds.
She is the typical lab who inhales her food in under 30 seconds. She gets two cups in the morning and one at night. Now, I am lying on my bed with the handle of the long leash around my leg. Jory is lying on the floor beside my bed curled up in a ball fast asleep. I’m going to wake her up for the final relieving, and then I’m going to read for awhile and go to bed.

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3 thoughts on “GDB days 1-4

  1. Sharon Wachsler

    Wow. It sounds like you and Jory really seem suited to each other. I really enjoyed this update, and I hope you will do them as time and energy allow so I can follow you along on this journey.

    Reply
  2. Brooke, Cessna, Aspen, Canyon & Rogue

    I loved reading about how you and Jory are doing. It sure sounds as though you two are already hitting it off.

    If you worry about her inhaling her food, I used to add water into the kibble so that my dogs had to “bob for kibble” when eating. I tried the whole ball thing in their bowl and Phoenix just picked it up out of his bowl and resumed vacuuming out the kibble lol!

    As for ice, I use Yak Traks to help keep my grip and it seems to help keep the dogs on their feet too since I can catch them if they slip.

    Reply

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