Training My Own Guide Dog

Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, Still 8 Months Old

Sagan was 8 months old on November 2nd. He got a giant bully stick for his present. His jaws are strong now so I have to keep a close watch while he is enjoying it. I take it away from him when it gets to be about 5 or 6 inches long. He also had his first water buffalo horn.  It was great fun for about 5 days and then it started chipping. It went straight to the trash. I am still searching for a chew toy that has little or no calories and is not made of synthetic materials. I am concerned that so many pet products are made of dangerous plastics and micro fibers. I don’t think they are good for our animals to be chewing. If you know of environmentally friendly pet products, please let me know.

The 2 pictures above show Sagan dragging a small red shovel up onto his outdoor bed. He did this a few times.


My biggest thrill this last week was walking Sagan myself in a large cemetery. My husband and Susie, our trainer, were with me. Stu and Susie have been walking with him alone these last months while my foot healed. It felt so good to be walking again. I used my cane in my right hand and Sagan was on my left. Stu and Susie changed places as we experimented with what works best. It was truly a discovery walk for all of us. We discovered that Sagan and I weave. I have never been able to walk in a straight line. This is common for people with visual impairments. In fact, most people have a tendency to veer in one direction or the other. It is a guide dog’s job to keep the handler walking straight. We discussed how to teach him this somewhat more complex task. Over all I am pleased with the progress we have made. I am feeling impatient to get a real harness in my hand again, but I will wait until his skeletal system has stabilized more. I also want his hormones to settle down some. 

The 2 pictures above show Mel, Sagan and Susie, the dog trainer out for a walk at the cemetery. 


The update on Sagan’s narcissistic tendency is that with all the windows covered, he has pretty much stopped barking at himself while inside the house. This morning though, while we were outside, he climbed on a chair and looked at himself in our living room window. He barked just a little and then I ushered him off the chair. The oven and dishwasher doors don’t hold any interest for him anymore for which I am grateful.


In case you are interested, I am feeding Sagan raw food with kibble for training. The brand of dry food is Open Farm puppy food.  He likes it well enough to hold his interest for training. I also use dehydrated organ meats and Ziwi Peak packaged dog treats. I keep thinking that I will make my own treats but it has not risen to the top of the priority list yet.

Puppy food,

Ziwi treats,

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