Training My Own Guide Dog

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

I totally forgot Sagan’s birthday. I know it is silly to mark a birthday every month but I am silly so there you have it. Anyway, my mind and heart were preparing for my trip to North Carolina for two memorials for my sister. We took Sagan and once again he endured a 10 hour car trip without complaint. We took breaks and only harnessed him when necessary. He is a master at public bathrooms which really helps a lot. We stayed in four different Air B & B’s. We kept to his feeding schedule as close as we could but the sleeping schedule was all messed up. There was nothing I could do. There were so many people and he has a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Sometimes he could barely keep his eyes open but he would not sleep until I went to bed. I need to work on him being able to relax. As long as he is connected to me or Stu, he does very well but that is not always desirable. I am open to suggestions on how to keep a dog calm and quiet while either attached to a piece of furniture or in his crate. All the dogs I have gotten from guide dog schools have been content to be alone even while in a crowd of people. This was one of those situations where I did not anticipate and I was in no position or frame of mind to train him. 

Sagan barked during the memorial service. It was one loud startle bark. The church was very quiet and the microphone made a horrible sound that was kind of like somebody knocking. It startled me too. Also when the choir sang a loud song he softly whined. I covered his ears. I am not sure if in the larger scheme of my life if this is a problem or not. I am rarely in such situations so I need to decide if it something we really need to work on or not. Something that did crop up that definitely needs attention is that he started standing up when people started clapping. I think I can work through this by putting on clapping sounds. 

I was obsessed with fleas. I rubbed him down with Wondercide every other day. I also put a combination of things in his food to deter fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. I have not seen any fleas, so hopefully we dodged that one. We will test for heart worm in a couple of months when we can get an accurate test. I feel fortunate that he has a robust digestive system so there were no issues with being in a strange environment with lots of chances for encounters with dead creatures and plant material.

The best part was watching him interact with the lake. He wanted to go in so much but he couldn’t quite figure out how to go about it. He did finally go in with the help of Stu and my sons. He never actually swam because the lake is shallow enough for his back legs to be on the bottom. He looked pretty silly trying to walk on water. 

The three pictures above show Sagan learning to swim in the lake with his 4 siblings.

Over all he was a very good boy. To my knowledge, he did not eat any frogs or lizards. He did not chase ducks or other water fowl. I feel sure he is happy to be back home now as am I.

Here are the products I gave for flea control in case you are interested.


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