Training My Own Guide Dog

Training Sagan: Training my own guide dog, Week 3

Sagan Training Blog: Week 3/10 Weeks Old

We have learned so much this week. I learned that perfectionism and my ego has no place in puppy training. I have also been humbled by how not nice thoughts come into my mind when Sagan has been barking for an hour straight in his crate. It brought to mind when my oldest son cried from 5:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. for the first three months of his life. I had to reach deep into my soul to stay calm and kind. We got through it though with no harm done that I know about anyway.

Picture above shows Sagan laying happily in the kitchen

As you know I am working The McCann Dog Training Method. We were supposed to be on week 3 but I decided not to put so much pressure on myself or Sagan. I relaxed and things got better. We continued to practice basic foundation skills. I did add waiting at the door and waiting longer for me to release his food. We also practiced meeting and greeting new people which went quite well. I gave the people the instruction to stay low so he is not tempted to jump and I told them to step on his leash in case his front feet just happened to come off the floor. He was great with this. I also taught the people how to make sharp noises at him when the teeth found skin or clothes.

A concern this week was that he began barking at other dogs and vocalizing loudly when impatient or anxious. Of course, I am anthropomorphizing because I am not really sure if he is either of these things. I will say that he appears to want what he wants RIGHT NOW, which is rather like me. I have consulted with the McCann instructors and they gave me a couple of choices as to how to handle the crate barking. I will ignore him completely no matter how long it takes for him to calm down unless I am convinced that there is another problem like pain or an urgent need to eliminate. I am already seeing improvement.

I have been researching food alternatives. I am more and more convinced that as close to a raw diet as can be managed is best. I have introduced a frozen prepared raw diet in additions to his kibble. My goal is to help him have a healthy, robust microbiome. So far, he is loving his food and is tolerating it well.

We did have an incident this morning which was I think more about hair around his anus than his food. This is probably more information than you want but it is part of having a puppy. I noticed that he was straining to poop. I am not squeamish about touching most body parts particularly if the puppy I love is in distress. So, being blind, it was necessary to use my fingers instead of my eyes to discover the problem. He had hardened feces all around his anus which I believe was impeding the free flow out of his body. I made him a nice warm bath and he sat in in while I fed him a favorite bone. Then we went back outside and all was well.

The most fun we had this week was my son and his partner coming to see the new family member. It was great fun. It is nice to have more people to entertain Sagan which gives me a break. We also went to puppy class. Sagan went into the swimming pool on his own and had fun in the tunnels. A baby pool is definitely in our future for the upcoming hot days.

Picture above shows Sagan resting with Family and friends in the kitchen

Today is a rest day. No formal training today. We have had a big week and a break is in order. I feel comfortable with our progress and bonding this week. He is becoming more of himself which is challenging at times but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

One more thing, I have discovered scrubs like doctors wear. They have tons of pockets which are good for having treats, poop bags, and even toys on hand. Having a puppy is like a baby in that I feel slimed most of the time. There is no need to pretend that fashion is important. Scrubs are the way to go. Below is the link to where I got mine. The fabric does not seem to be as enticing as some knits.

That’s it for this week.



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