Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 8 Months Old

I did not cry once this last week but it is a very good thing that Sagan is very cute when he is being naughty. As I spoke about last blog post, we have relaxed his training schedule to accommodate his adolescent brain fog. Our walks are not so structured and free play time has been incorporated into each walk. He was resisting his vest so much that he is getting just a little break from it. We want him to look forward to and enjoy his walks so we are backing off while his body and brain sync up again.

The picture above shows Sagan laying on the outside patio chair staring directly into the camera.

“Management” is the word of the week. After reading several articles and watching webinars on adolescence, I decided he needs more enrichment. Our morning routine has changed to include two different food puzzles along with his smaller portion of raw food which still is given in a bowl. I do require him to do some basic obedience commands which change every day before his bowl is released to him. It is funny to watch how fast he performs these commands when he knows food is on its way. I put kibble in a wobble toy and then some in a tug jug toy. Links will be below. When I first got these toys for him, he was too young to properly play and work them out. Now he loves working at getting out his food. It works great for me because I get to have my coffee while he is occupied. I also bought him a snuffle mat which is great fun and time-consuming. He spends much more time now working or playing for his food. Lick mats have become part of the rotation also. I spend more time preparing food fun for him than I do for my husband and myself. I am now collecting toilet paper and paper towel rolls for doing nose or scent work. I am not sure how to do this yet. That is a project for another week.

The picture above shows Sagan in the kitchen with his snuffle mat. He is searching for the treats that I hid throughout the mat. The mat resembles Vincent Van Goh's "Starry Night" made out of felt.

Sagan grew too big to go through his tunnel which he loved. I got him a larger one and it is much longer also. My hope is to figure out how to train him to go through the tunnel to get to his relief area. This way when it is snowy or rainy weather I can stand at the door and send him out through the tunnel. I think it is a brilliant idea but I am not sure exactly how to train him to do it. I am generally a weather wimp so I am trying to devise a strategy to make it easy on myself. If anyone has ideas as to how to train him to do this, let me know.

The picture above shows Sagan inside his new blue tunnel. He is walking through to the opposite end with a big smile on his face.

I mentioned last blog that Sagan barks at his reflection. Our trainer suggested we get a product that clings to windows which essentially makes them look frosted so he can not see out of them nor do they reflect his image back to him. It has been very helpful. I will put the link below. It is easy to put on the offending windows and comes off easily too.

One more little story and then I will list the goodies we got last week: I was putting him through his obedience commands, one of which is “go to your crate.” He is very good at this and does it with delight. Well, last week he discovered that he can climb on a chair to get to his grooming table and then walk across to the top of his crate. I told him with all seriousness to go to his crate. He took off like lightning toward his crate only to take his detour which put him sitting perfectly and proudly on top of his crate. He did exactly what I asked him to do. I did not treat him for the behavior but it sure was funny. 

The photo above shows Sagan sitting on top of his crate.

Link list for useful puppy management

Wobble toy

Tug jug

Lick mats

Snuffle mat,

Water buffalo horn,

18-foot tunnel 24-inch diameter

Window cling stuff


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