GDB: days 10-graduation

Today was nice and easy. It was the traffic route this morning when Kelly drove the hybrid car to show us our dog’s reactions to moving vehicles. Since there was only one car, all six of us sat in the lounge and had to go out one at a time. That reminded me a little of the four-week classes of sit around and wait, but it was nice talking more to everyone. Jory did well. We missed Kelly the first time because we were walking too fast for him to pull out in time. He got us on the next block. Our first one was where he drove straight at us from the front, and Jory had to push me and back straight up. I had to remind myself that it was ok and take a deep breath because it reminded me of when Dee saved me from getting killed by a bus. Kelly did the backup check one more time, and Jory did her job. Then, at various points on the route, he drove in front of us and she completely stopped moving as well as behind us where Jory had to speed up. Finally, we had total barricades. That was easy, just have her show me, go to the street, and forward,/left back to the sidewalk. We have construction in Ruston right now, so Jory will have more times to use this skill.
Th afternoon was easy. We went to campus where we got the fun facts about your puppy Jory was raised by a woman and her daughter in Newport Beach, Calif. She loved to play with their pet German shepherd and was raised around horses and livestock. Jory loved going everywhere, but her favorite place was the beach. We also had the vet lecture about keeping our dogs trim and in good working condition. Jory had no health problems. She just had diarrhea once because she ate something she shouldn’t have.
Finally, we had the night route. I am totally blind, so that didn’t matter at all to me. Jory was a little more cautious on a couple blocks, but there was not really any difference for her either.
Wednesday, we went to Berkley to work on taking the train and get a crowded downtown experience. I had some lemon tea at Lock, Stock and Bagel while my classmate worked her route. It was nice to be sitting somewhere other than the lounge. I forgot her booties, so Emily found an entrance with stairs since the dogs are not supposed to do escalators without paw protection. Jory is getting better at the stairs. I worked with her on targeting the handrail, and she had fun doing that. We did platform refusal. I had Jory closest to the edge of the platform and told her left left, and she sped up. We turned around, and I told her right right, and again, she sped up and refused. She targeted the turnstile, and we got on the train. The first time, she almost slid her one front paw off the edge of the platform because she was quickly getting on the train before the doors closed. It was funny; when we got off, we moved just as quickly, but Emily said she looked at her paws and the ground when we moved.
Shatuck Avenue was crowded. There were several people with strollers, dogs, college students. There were also several obstacles: tables, chairs, winding paths, ETC. I love working Jory in the city. She wagged her tail the hardest on this route. She was totally excited when she took me around large groups of people and picked up her line to the curb. I travel a couple times per year to Minneapolis, D.C., Philly, ETC., so I’m excited to take Jory with me on all of those adventures.
In the afternoon, we went to the Dominican college campus. I’m a grad student in Louisiana, so this will be important. We back chained a route to the library. I kept for getting to slow my body and gestures while making a moving turn, so Jory missed it three times. Once I got my body in the correct position, she understood what I wanted. I clicked and treated at all the important points: the entrance to the bridge, the turn at the top of the hill, and the stairs that led to the library. We walked back and to the library again twice before going back to the van. On the way back, Jory wanted to take me over the grass, so I told her to be careful. She tried to take me over the grass again a second time, but the third time, she took the deep left turn on to the sidewalk.
Thursday morning, we went back to the college campus. Jory was soooo incredibly slow. Emily says physical correction and leash gestures make Jory dig in her heels and slow even more. I thought if we keep going like this, it’s going to take an hour to go three blocks. Emily asked if Jory needed to relieve, and I said she shouldn’t since she peed and pooped at 7 am. A few minutes later, I said I’m going to relieve Jory since that was such odd behavior for her. As soon as I took of the harness, she went to the grass and pooped again. That teaches me to listen to my dog’s signals. As soon as she was finished and reharnessed, she picked up her normal trotting pace with tail wags.
This time, we were backchaining the path that led to the hill. There were four Jory could choose. I love clicker training, and so does Jory. Once we got her consistently taking initiative and showing me the bottom of the hill, we worked to the library where she happily targeted the door inside and empty chairs for us to sit for a couple minutes. We walked back to the parking lot and did the route one final time. Emily said she wasn’t even thinking about any other paths; she was completely focused on getting me over the bridge to the bottom of the hill and right to the library. Lots of kibble and physical/verbal praise at the end.
In the afternoon, we did sidewalkless with cars parked in the road. I was better this time about remembering to check left along the edge. I clicked and treated Jory for pointing her nose at parked cars instead of using her iniative to take me around them.
Yesterday morning was our final trip. We went to Muir woods. Jory was excited because there were so many good smells in the air. Emily changed her harness from a 46 to a 44 because Jory has been escaping the harness when she is lying down. We all set out at a quick pace. My hip and shin splints were hurting some on this hike, but it was worth it. We stopped and took some nice pictures on a bridge near a creek. We also took photos inside a tree. It was weird. It was totally hollowed out and was open in the front with three on three sides. I stood inside and Jory sat. On the trail back, she showed nice caution going around other hikers. Emily said she looked like a car on a busy road. She sped up and stopped quickly, sped up and stopped quickly until she saw a wide enough opening for us to pass between people. Emily said she looked as if she were smiling with her ears forward and tail out. We also stopped in the gift shop where I bought dangling redwood bead earrings and a tree keychain that says Muir Woods National Monument.
In the afternoon, admissions brought us the binders with all the vet info, puppy info, guide dog resources, ID, access cards, and food coupons. I also got a box of cookies from Linda. They are yummy! All of my classmates happily took several cookies, and we had a before-dinner snack.
Today was graduation!!! I was happy to find out Jory’s raisers came. They flew in this morning from Newport Beach. They are nice. Jory was soooooooo excited to see them. She ran from one person to the other and kept spinning in circles and wiggling her butt. They were happy to hear my roommate has a dog because they said one of her favorite activities is playing with other dogs. They also said she was considered for the breeding program, but she was rejected because she has a pink nose and pink in her eyes. Jory also likes to tug on a rope. We got pictures together with the professional photographer. Poor Jory was confused. I clicker trained her to sit in front of the chair then scoot her butt back and under, so the end result is Jory lying down with her body beneath the chair and her head sticking out. The photographer wanted her to sit beside me, and she kept scooting and going under. It took a couple minutes of letting her know I wanted a sit this time before we got good photos.
Graduation was nice and short! We finished in fewer than 35 minutes. I was sitting there and one of the puppy raisers started to cry. I almost did too. Jory sat nicely while the puppy raisers and I spoke to thank the instructors, classmates, ETC. They had to get a plain at 4, so they said goodbye right away and left. We have each other’s phone numbers and email addresses, so we will keep in touch. We have already imessaged each other photos.
I am sooo excited to go home tomorrow. Jory is an amazing guide, and I hope to work with her for many years!

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5 thoughts on “GDB: days 10-graduation

  1. Karyn

    I am so happy for you! You have waited so long and so patiently to be partnered with a guide who could really live up to your function and need. Gosh this must be so overwhelming right now, but also so perfect. I have learned a lot by following your journey through guide dog training

    Reply
    1. latinanewschic Post author

      It was a little overwhelming but so exciting at the same time. It’s still kind of weird having a dog again because I used a cane for 1.5 years. I’m so happy to have Jory, especially when I travel to cities or new areas!

      Reply
  2. Sharon Wachsler

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! You have waited such a long time to get a successor to Dee, and it sounds like Jory was worth the wait! She seems to have the smarts, drive, and pace you were looking for, and you are already training her lots of cool behaviors! I’m excited to hear more of your adventures, hopefully for many years to come.

    Reply
    1. latinanewschic Post author

      Definitely; she learns so fast which is good and bad for me all at the same time. The first day I got her, I was still learning where my hotel room was. I stopped to check the room sign near and it said 064, so I needed to go two more doors. Every time after that, Jory stopped in front of that door, and I had to tell her to keep going.

      Reply
      1. Sharon Wachsler

        LOL! You accidentally created a behavior chain. That is so easy to do with a smart dog! Barnum has trained me to reinforce him for a behavior chain that starts out undesirable, too. SHe will keep you on your toes!

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