Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 2 Years plus a little

Sagan has had some major training opportunities these last weeks. My closest sister in age collapsed suddenly at age 74 which required quick planning so the family could gather in North Carolina. Sagan had to be in his crate for a 10 hour drive. He was so good. He went to rest stops, restaurants, strange houses, and hotels. He even stayed with me all day in a hospital while we waited with friends and family for decisions to be made about life support for my sister. Sagan caused no problems at all. He also helped us divert our minds from our deep sadness. Maybe he can be a therapy dog too someday.

At the end of this month, we will again make the trip to North Carolina to two services for my sister. Once again his manners will be tested. We thought about flying but I am not quite ready to go through all the paperwork required to fly with guide dogs yet. I just had a rabies titer done and we will not get the results for maybe a couple of weeks. I may need to get the rabies vaccine for him before we fly and I am not prepared to go through the possibility of him having a severe reaction like he did with the last vaccines. I realize I am rambling but that is all my mind can do these days with the grief weighing heavy.

We started a “recall” class with Sagan last week. We have been slack about getting that basic command really solid. We think the structure of a class might help us focus. So far, our focus has not been so great. Teaching a good solid recall for a smart dog is challenging because they think for themselves and they think they have a choice in the matter which they actually do. I don’t even try to call him back if he is playing with another dog. My hope is that he will get better as we keep working with him.

The picture above shows Sagan and Quinn playing in the yard. Quinn has a frisbee in her mouth.

Once we returned from North Carolina, we traveled to Rochester, New York for eclipse watching and a poodle party with a friend who has a poodle from the same breeder as Sagan. The two dogs were crazy happy to be together. They could not rest for more than a few minutes before the fun had to start all over again. Now that we are back home, Sagan seems exhausted. We all need time to recover. These trips have been good because I am noticing holes in his training which we will need to work on in the future. Sagan is a very strong dog and strong willed. My hope is that he will mellow as he gets older.

The first picture shows Sagan and Quinn waiting attentively for treats and the second picture shows them taking a nap together on the rug after a long day of play.

The next weeks will be filled with more traveling. Sagan will get to experience a lake for the first time. I think he will love it. We will be traveling to the land of vicious fleas and ticks so I need to figure out my strategy to keep them off my boy. I will let you know if what I try with him works or not. I do not want to subject him to flea and tick pills so we will see what happens.

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