Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 2 Years 3 Months Old

Life has kicked my butt the last two months. My sister sat down to have a glass of wine and the next minute she was gone from us. She was on life support for one week which gave our family a chance to gather. My feet got ripped out from under me and two months later, I am trying to reshape myself in this new world. As a result Sagan has had to grow up some himself. He has had to endure two trips to North Carolina with ten hour car rides back and forth. He learned to give up his vigilance long enough to take naps in his car crate. He and I learned to navigate our way through labyrinth rest stop bathrooms; you know the kind where there are more than one entrance and exit. We both got thoroughly confused but a very nice person came to our rescue. I find that people are generally very kind. After our trips to North Carolina, we left home again to visit Rachel Carson EcoVillage where we will be moving next year. On all the trips Sagan did his best to act like a well behaved guide dog. I am proud of his progress.

Now we have settled back down and our training together is at full steam again. My husband hangs further back now when we walk and gives me less and less information about overheads and complex obstacles. Sagan is doing great work. It is me who struggles to trust. That has always been my issue with guide dogs and human guides as well. I have been whacked on the head and fallen in holes even when walking with a perfectly sighted person, so I am a little wary. Everyday now my confidence grows and Sagan and I are becoming a more cohesive team.

Somewhere during our travels, Sagan was bitten by something we think. He began licking his right front leg which has resulted in a small spot which is inflamed. He can’t leave it alone so he has been wearing that awful cone on his head to keep him from licking his leg. Being a poodle,  he is able to defeat the cone when he is committed to the effort. We alternate between wrapping his leg and using the cone when we can be watchful every second. It is almost healed now so my hope is that he will forget about it.

The two pictures above show Sagan in the living room happily wearing his cone.


Our intention was to have been finished with basic traffic training by now but with the huge interruption  we got off track. Next week we will start with traffic basics again. I have no doubt that he will pick it up quickly.

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