O J and I usually have our aftercare visits from a guide dog instructor during the summer, so I was a bit surprised to get a phone call last week from an instructor who would be in the area, and was wondering if he could see us on Sunday morning. That was this morning, and thankfully it all went well.
I didn’t get to walk O J much last week because I was working, so made sure he got a long walk yesterday to make him more relaxed for today. My five-year-old nephew stayed over last night, so the instructor arrived to a busy house and a table full of lego. I had to wait for my sister to collect him, so we had a bit of a chat about O J’s work in general and life in general. During this time O J was getting to know the new visitor, so when we began walking, he refused to go far without making sure he was behind us. When I got him past the first road crossing to town, he concentrated better and his work improved. We walked to the beginning of town, where I stopped to suggest either continuing that direction or walking around the park and doing a full circle back to my house, but the trainer said he was more than happy with what he’d seen and we could go home! O J made an enthusiastic pull towards the coffee shop on the way home, sure that this is where we’d be going since I walked past it without going in earlier. I don’t know what that says about me 🙂
We made O J rework an area with overhanging bushes, to prevent him from walking me into them. When he has to rework something, he does it great second time around. Its something I need to do more, instead of usually letting him away with it since I’m often in a hurry when he does it.
The instructor was happy with O J’s overall weight, appearance and willingness to work. He said he looked happy, responds to be well, and is very definite when he wants to go somewhere or find something. He certainly has his own way of working and doing things, but as long as it works for both of us and we’re both safe, then he can’t fault it.
He also brought up the topic of retirement, and was glad to hear that it was something I’ve thought about already. He said, that from what he’s seen from O J’s work, I don’t need to worry about it every day, but to be aware that its something to think about. Realistically we’re talking to to three years of work left, and I’d want to be back on the waiting list again before he retires.
Aftercare is always interesting for me, because since I’ve trained with O J, I’ve always worked with a different instructor. Its interesting to see their different approaches to dogs and their work. I know I could have had some interesting discussions with this instructor if we’d had more time. I liked his relaxed attitude, and the fact that whatevers working for us at the minute is good enough for him.
I’m just back from a walk with the dogs and my aunt, and I wanted to let O J run on the beach just to relax. I never work on Mondays anymore but have to work tomorrow, so he will have to wait until the weekend to get all sandy and dirty.