Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 5 Months Old

Sagan got to experience a house full of people last week. My husband’s birthday and retirement party was Saturday and preparations were going on all week. We had window washers, house cleaners, carpet cleaners, and power washing going on. There were lots of strange noises and people. I did my best to keep him calm and occupied but I honestly ignored him a lot of the time. He got bully sticks and marrow bones to keep him occupied. He did very well overall.

The picture above shows Mel's son Cole sitting on the kitchen floor while holding Sagan in his lap while giving him the biggest hug.

Susie, the dog trainer also came in the midst of everything. We worked on our exits through doors and entrances. She helped me with timing and she showed me how to improve my technique. Sagan is quite the puller on his leash and I need lots of help to stop that behavior. The Gentle Leader works great but I would like to be able to handle him without it if I need to. I did not get a chance to practice anything I learned that day so hopefully, I can remember what I am supposed to do. It will be back to basics this week. 

I took Sagan to the main party Saturday night just for a little while. I opened the door so he could look in and see the lights and hear the loud music. He backed away from that so we sat outside and people came out to visit. He loved up everyone. He had on his training jacket and people were respectful of that mostly. He is irresistible himself and he loves all the attention, so I might not have been as insistent on good manners as I should have been. I will be asking for advice about that from other guide dog trainers this week. I am still not clear about how much puppy freedom he should have in a party situation like we just had. I am always worried that I am being too slack with him. He is a puppy after all so I keep thinking I can correct my mistakes.

The Picture above shows Sagan outside happily laying on the grass.

The best part of last week is that trainer Susie introduced Sagan to the 30-foot-long line. We had done some challenging mental work and he needed some energy release. I had been afraid to use the long line myself because I was afraid he might get into trouble that I could not see. Sagan went wild! He had so much fun. Now, this is part of our days. My son and his partner took him out every day so he could get tired before putting him in his crate for long periods. I am very grateful for this new exercise opportunity for him.

The picture above shows Mel's son Cole with Sagan outside on his 30 ft leash. Sagan is in mid-jump running toward the camera. 

I feel like now that he is 5 months old I am going to intensify his training some. I want to get the basic commands solidified while asking for more precision in his positions as well as being able to hold positions longer. It is time to start studying training books again.

This coming week  Sagan gets his rabies vaccine. I chose to wait as long as I could and to separate it out from all the others. The vet agreed with me that spreading out vaccinations is a good strategy so as not to overwhelm their immune systems. I will get him the Lyme vaccination later because we live in a heavy tick zone. I am choosing not to give him heartworm medication but choosing instead to have him tested every year. I am also not giving him flea and tick medications unless our travels dictate that it is safer. I know this is a controversial topic. I thought about not sharing it here but I want people to question the protocols followed by most vets. Geography does play a part in the decision. Thinking through with your vet what is best for your situation is a smart thing to do. Find a vet you trust to be curious and talk with you about your choices. Every situation is different.  

The picture above shows Jingles and Sagan snuggling together on the couch. Sagan is laying on top of Jingles and they are both looking at the camera.

<< Go back to the previous page