Day 6! Escalator Training…

 In Human-Animal Bond, Michael Hingson Articles, New Guide Dog Training
Escalators Going Up

Escalators Going Up

OK! Let’s get the dirty stuff out of the way first. Remember how I described Puppy’s relieving habits as less than Stellar? Well, that now is a thing of the past. He is doing fine in the relieving arena thank you very much.

Now for more happy news. PUPPY’S NAME IS ALAMO! The word is out and so GDB agrees there is no need to keep names confidential, especially since both of Alamo’s puppy raisers and I have talked. Ceci and Andrea will both be traveling from Colorado Springs to see our graduation next Saturday. THAT’S GREEAT.

Today we travel to Portland. For me the plan is to do lots of escalator work at a mall. After a short lecture on building work it is off to Portland by 9AM. Of course, we first had a wonderful breakfast. By the way, I am not going to give you all the menus. Suffice it to say that GDB feeds us well, often and with more food than we really need, but who is complaining?

We arrive at the Portland Lounge around 9:45AM. The building is a converted gallery with space for meetings downstairs and good sitting room upstairs.

My co-student Sandy goes first, so Alamo and I sit to wait our turn. I call Karen at home to check in to hear that the weather is a bit cool there, but still nothing like Oregon.

At about 10:45 we head out with Candace, our class supervisor, who is substituting for Nancy who has the day off. The mall is only two blocks away, so we quickly get inside.

We do ten escalators during the trip. One interesting change from previous escalator work comes to mind. In the past GDB encouraged us to use the leash to get dogs on and off the escalators. Now, we still use the leash to work the dogs on the escalator, but we use the harness in a normal guiding mode to work off the moving stairs. I like this change as it helps us quickly move off the escalator, and I suspect it encourages more attention from the dog. Alamo does GREAT every time. We did have a couple of escalators where he stopped a bit short before going on the stairs. Candace and I believe I may have been the culprit as I stopped early. A few kibble rewards and a slight modification to the way I approach the escalators and we are good again.

We return to the campus for lunch and then miscellaneous items in the afternoon. Now instruction is diverting depending on the needs of each student. We all got together around 2PM for a clicker training workshop. I have talked about clickers before, but this is the first time in class that we begin using them ourselves. I taught Alamo to find a chair, something I did with Africa. I do plan to continue using the clicker to enhance training.

We did a bit of play time also this afternoon. It is good to give the pups time to relax and play as well as simply to stir the pot regarding activities. No sense doing the exact same thing every day at the same time.

After dinner at 5PM we all meet for a lecture on leaving our dogs alone. This can be a sensitive issue as we bond with our dogs. They do need to learn to stay alone on a tie-down or in a crate, but also, we need to understand that leaving dogs alone for many hours every day is not good for the relationships nor is it good for training. These dogs value being around us and want that company and security.

After the lecture Alamo got a grooming and then we turned in for the night. I had planned to watch some of the Olympics, but before I knew it, it was 11AM and I slept through the two-hour segment. Go figure. Think I needed the sleep?

Tomorrow is a day off. Brunch starts at 10AM, but muffins and drinks are available for the earlier risers.

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