Guide Dog School: Day 14
Iva and I had the day off except for morning obedience. Today, we did the obedience routine silently, with just the hand signals. Surprisingly, she did remarkably well. We have had different distractions during our routes and especially during obedience. Distractions such as cats, dogs, food, and squeaky toys.
Yesterday in White Plains, we did traffic checks. One instructor drives a van and puts us in mock dangerous situations. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate how our dogs react in these situations. Sometimes, a car can cut us off so quickly that the dog walks backward, and we must do likewise. We always must follow the dog. We must trust the guide dog.
We are beginning to learn about introducing our dogs to family and friends. While Iva is in harness (working), no one should say her name, speak to her, touch her, or even have eye contact with her. Doing those seemingly harmless things creates a distraction. It would be the same thing as a sighted person driving blindfolded or jerking someone’s glasses off their face.
The amount of interaction Iva has with other people while off harness also must be minimal, especially in the beginning. First of all, we are still bonding. Second, we do not want to overwhelm her. Finally, it is not good for Iva to perceive other people as fun, fun, fun, while Mom is the taskmaster.
This does not mean you cannot be introduced to Iva. It must be done little by little.
We have an early work day tomorrow. There is an important guide dog conference here tomorrow, so we must work around it. I do feel your prayers. Pray specifically for Iva to settle down more at meals and lecture. Also, I am speaking at our graduation, so pray for me on that. The graduation ceremony is Saturday at 1:30, and you can watch it live streaming or view the replay. The first 20 minutes are blank, so be patient.