Training My Own Guide Dog

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

It feels good to be back to a training schedule. Our days and nights are calmer and my motivation for working with Sagan is renewed. I am revisiting books and training videos that I studied even before Sagan came on the scene. Now is the time to start using some of the more advanced materials. Sagan is so eager to learn new things and I need to learn how to teach them. We are learning together.

The picture above shows Sagan standing in the kitchen and looking behind himself.

My husband and I are also learning new tricks. We have learned not to put our AirPods in shallow pants pockets where they easily fall out. It is nice of him to find them for us but he prefers not to give them back. Both of our AirPods are now sporting teeth marks. My plan is to perfect his “drop it” and “trade” commands this week. We are also getting accustomed to looking for our cookie sheets and other baking pans on our furniture instead of in the kitchen. Sagan was getting zoomies and launching himself onto the couch. This is not an acceptable behavior so metal pans make the couch landing not as much fun for him. We also only want him on the couch when he is invited. I am not sure yet when we will be able to return our pans back to their rightful place. Sagan also recently discovered that ballpoint pens are the best chew toys ever. This is terrifying because they can do so much damage to dogs. Until I can get a reliable “drop” from Sagan, we need to stop leaving pens around.

Last week I began adding more challenges to his usual commands. Now before he is released to eat his food, I require that he heel and shake hands before he eats. This is for training better impulse control. It is hard for him because he is hungry and he loves his food. He is also required to sit on his bed while food is being prepared. He is pretty good at the “go to bed” command if the stay is short. Now I am teaching him to go to his bed from any place in the house and he must stay put until he is released. It is a work in progress. The other command we are working on is the “close” command. He is required to turn his body and sit between my legs facing the same direction I am. He does this whether I am sitting down or standing. This command comes in handy when we are in a crowded situation. He already does this one pretty well but it needs solidifying.

The picture above shows Sagan in the dining room with his Tearribles monster plush toy in his mouth. 

Our biggest challenge now is his desire to play with other dogs, squirrels, and children on our daily walks. He becomes activated and starts vocalizing and becoming generally unfocused. This is a common problem that will require patience and consistency on our part. He does quite well inside stores which is great. My hope is that his distractability will calm down as he grows older.

We are baking our own training treats now when we can find our pans. It is much cheaper than buying them. Here are a couple of recipes in case you are interested.

Pumpkin, peanut butter, and oats dog treats

Banana, peanut butter, and oats dog treats


<< Go back to the previous page