Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 6 Months Old, Birthday Week!

Sagan was 6 months old on September 2nd. The week started out with a pretty dramatic case of diarrhea. I can’t be sure what triggered it because there were quite a few variables, one being I gave him commercial food instead of his usual raw, and the other being that there just happened to be a pint of cherry tomatoes just in reach of his curiosity. I was up all night with him. Fortunately, with a bland diet, it passed the next day. He did seem to enjoy the tomatoes. I was not worried because he only ate a few and they are not toxic for dogs. They are actually good for dogs but I suspect he ate one too many.

The Picture above shows Sagan sitting at Mel's side near a park bench. He is looking at something off in the distance.

I had a Lime vaccine scheduled for him on Wednesday but I canceled it partly because he had been sick and mostly because my gut said, “No.” I do not take vaccines lightly and since Lime is not a core vaccine, I just need to do some more research and sit with the decision. We do live in an area where Lime is prevalent but lifestyle is also a consideration. I may rethink when we move to the Rachel Carson EcoVillage next summer.

The highlight of the week was when Susie, the trainer came. She took him on a long training walk into town where they worked stairs and whatever else presented itself. My husband went along so he can learn the methods. This way he can increase Sagan’s walks per week. We are still refining our command list and getting everything defined so we are all on the same page. I am putting the current list below in case you are interested. It is an evolving list. If you have any ideas or comments on this list, I am open to suggestions.

Here is an updated list of Sagan’s commands - 

Sagan’s Commands with Explanations, IN & OUT OF HARNESS

  1. Sit  dog’s bum to the floor/ground in heel position or any location
  2. Down  dog’s body to the floor/ground at any location, legs in any position, head up or down
  3. Up Sit  dog’s body moves from down position to sit position, this is mainly an obedience exercise for “puppy push-ups”
  4. Stay dog does not move from last command given until release word or another command given, in Sit, Down or Stand position
  5. Come dog recalls from any location directly to handler and remains close enough that handler is able to touch dog
  6. Let’s Go  to move forward motion with handler, more casual walking with loose leash
  7. Heel  dog moves to left side of handler, head in line with handler’s left leg, forward motion with a loose lea
  8. Stand dog stands securely on all four legs
  9. Back  dog backs up a few inches to a few feet, dog can back up and stand, sit or lay
  10. Wait  to stop forward motion, pause, dog can stand, sit or lay, dog should hold position until release word or another command is given
  11. Free  dog’s release word to break out of command
  12. Get It  to move after and pick up a toy during play
  13. Bring It  to bring toy or object back to handler
  14. Leave It  to leave food item or object on floor or ground, no attempt to sniff, explore or pick up 
  15. Drop It  to drop food item or object directly to floor or ground
  16. Thank you  to release object into hand
  17. Ready?  indication that handler and dog are ready to begin activity together
  18. Touch  to touch hand or indicated object with nose
  19. Get Busy  to go potty - release bladder and/or bowels
  20. Go to Bed/Place  send to designated bed or any “place” indicated 
  21. Down & Under  dog lays and tucks body behind or next to handler
  22. Off  to remove paws off of someone or something
  23. Yes  indication of correct behavior or response, dog will be reward
  24. Head In  to move head into harness
  25. Forward  to move forward with handler 
  26. Halt  to stop forward motion, pause, dog can stand, sit or lay, dog should hold position until release word or another command is given
  27. About  to make a 180 degree right turn, turn away from dog, turn opposite direction
  28. Hup Up  to increase speed, speed up
  29. Steady  to decrease speed, slow down
  30. Left  turn left, quarter turn to left
  31. Right  turn right, quarter turn to right
  32. Over Left  to move further left on straight path
  33. Over Right  to mover further right on straight path
  34. Find the Curb  locate and move handler to closest curb
  35. Find a Seat  locate and move handler to closest seat
  36. Find a Trash Can  locate and move handler to closest trash can
  37. Find the Button  locate and move handler to closest button
  38. Watch  be alert and move handler straight avoiding obstacles
  39. Follow  follow trusted companion following all normal training rules
  40. Find the Way  find the most logical path to move handler in straight line
  41. Straight  move handler in straight line
  42. Straight to the Curb  move handler in straight line directly to closest curb
  43. Find downstairs
  44. Find upstairs
  45. Find the elevator
  46. Find the counter
  47. Find the door outside
  48. Find the door inside

Some of these will get phased out as we become more habituated to each other as a working team. It sounds like a lot but dogs like Sagan are super smart. He won’t go into a real working harness for several months yet and several of these commands will wait until we get there. So far, he is doing great. My husband and I are a little more conscious of how far those curious paws can reach. My counters are getting cleaner and cleaner.

The Picture above shows Sagan outside on a walk. He is standing on all fours and looking up at the camera. He looks like he is laughing.

The below link is the eco-village that we are moving to next year. It is in development. There are a few more units available. I invite you to check it out.

<< Go back to the previous page