Wednesday it was rainy and wet the entire day. We were scheduled to go into white plains, but no one wanted to work outdoors while it was pouring, so we stayed inside. The trainers set up a makeshift obstacle course in the hallways, then worked on targeting and revolving doors, followed by a mall route in the afternoon.
There isn’t much to say about the obstacle course as it went flawlessly for Prim and I. In targeting, the class split up into separate groups. Some worked on teaching their dogs to show them the elevator buttons, some worked on landmarking the hall intersection, and others (such as myself) worked on finding chairs. Prim was, of course, brilliant with it as she has been every time we have
with targeting since the very beginning. I am looking so forward to the day that she can take me to an empty chair in a meeting or on a train. Oleta got to that point but it took a little while and a lot of practice. First they have to generalize what a chair means in different situations. Chairs can look different depending on where you are. Some are in a line against a wall, as in a waiting room or lobby area. Some are pushed up against a table, as in a restaurant. Some are wooden, some are soft, some have arms, some do not. Once the dog gets an idea of what I mean by a chair, learning that I want an empty one is another layer of the process.
After finishing with our chair activity some of us learned how to go through a revolving door with our dogs. Guiding Eyes has a revolving door on campus so it was easy to practice. I was a little nervous to do this, as there was one occasion in high school when Oleta and I were forced by a crowd unknowingly into a quickly moving revolving door, and Oleta came very near serious injury. It was very scary, so I tend to avoid revolving doors at all costs, but if I didn’t do the training here Guiding Eyes asks that we refrain from using them in the future, so I opted to complete the training, just in case it proves unavoidable at some point. She did fine and did not get her tail stuck in the door as I had feared. She even helped to push the door along as we went with her nose. Haha, thanks Primlet!
In the mall we worked on escalators, elevators, and suggested turns, but mostly the “steady” command. As we have been discovering, we cannot safely travel at our normal pace indoors. It was definitely a challenge for the both of us. It doesn’t help Prim that I don’t really want to walk slower either, but I know we have to, so I have to be the responsible party and show her what is acceptable pace-wise in that situation. We will get there, but I’m definitely anticipating having to work a lot on this when we get home. Honestly I don’t think I could ask for a better problem to have.
At the end of our route, I slyly persuaded one of my instructors, who had finished with her students, to snag me a pretzel and a strawberry lemonade from the Auntie-Anne’s downstairs before we left. My classmates really appreciated me, I know, because they got some pretzels out of it too. No no, don’t thank me… really, thank our instructor, dear classmates.
Seriously though… she’s awesome. All of our instructors are awesome. They have great senses of humor, are crazy about dogs, love people, are willing to snag pretzels for students at the risk of possibly getting in trouble later, and generally are a joy to work with. Just another reason to love Guiding Eyes.