Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 10 1/2 Months Old

My boy is growing up and calming down. I am grateful for that. He gets into his share of trouble but usually it is our fault for leaving tempting things like leather wallets and TV remotes just where he can find them. The other day I tried using a sour apple spray on our AirPods. I soaked the outside and put them where he could get them. The spray did not deter him in the least. He is getting much better at dropping on command now, so it isn’t quite as scary as it was at first. I do need to find a way to make forbidden objects distasteful for him. Sour apple spray did not work. I could use some ideas as to what might help. We are quite vigilant but our housekeeping is not perfect and I do not always catch him in the act fast enough to tell him “No”.

The picture above shows Sagan laying on his new bed.

Sagan started his Canine Good Citizen prep class yesterday. At the end of this 2-month class, he can get a certificate. It basically indicates that he has enough self-control to do miner therapy dog work. Sagan is not destined to be a therapy dog but he needs exposure to other dogs and I need the structure for enhancing his training. His first class consisted of performing basic obedience in the presence of other dogs and with the trainer making noises. The trainer also rolled around a wheelchair and made noises with a walker. Sagan did well with all the commands but he was too vocal while just sitting and supposedly relaxing. The trainer believes that he will relax and become quieter. He is the youngest in the class. By the end of this class, he will be 1 year old so hopefully, he will learn to relax a little more.

We started working with him on getting me through narrow spaces on the sidewalk. The concept of what I call “double wide” can be tricky to teach. Just when I think he is getting it, he gets confused. He does better when the obstacle is on his left side. He is also perfecting his left and right turns. When I walk with him now, I actually feel him guiding. It is quite the thrill. I will order his harness next month. My confidence in his ability to do the work is steadily growing.

My husband and I will be moving to the Rachel Carson EcoVillage early next year. I am so looking forward to Sagan guiding me on the trails and the campus where the village will be located. Rachel Carson EcoVillage will be breaking ground in March. By the end of this year, 35 homes will be finished so excitement is growing. Sagan will have open spaces to run when he is not working. He is already winding his way into the hearts of the founding members. I am extremely motivated to have him fully guiding by the time we move. This will help me feel more independent.

Rachel Carson EcoVillage has about 10 units left for sale. It is a multigenerational, diverse group of people who are committed to living lightly on the planet. I invite you to check out the website and attend an introductory session to learn more about it.

Rachel Carson EcoVillage

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