Today has been all about indents and kerbs and shopping.
It all started with Ma getting all ecstatic because I did a poo for her! Hoomans are so very odd! Apparently it is really good that I did a ‘big busy’ for Ma when she asked me to. Well….. odd or not, I can cope with enthusiastic ‘Good boy’ praise for doing what comes naturally! It seems that GDMI was pleased too. Ho Humm!
Sanity resumed when we set off in GDMI’s vroomer, with my girlfriend Lilly for company on the ride. We went to a vroomerkennel at Sainsbrees, but we didn’t go into the shop straightaway. Instead, we set off on a long workies around all the housey streets. I am very familiar with all of that area, but Ma isn’t, and it seems that her lookers were not looking very well at all for her today, so she was totally in my paws! We did lots and lots and lots of practice of ‘straight on’ and ‘straight to kerb’ and ‘back, back, right’ (I will explain in a minute). Mainly though, it was all about me taking Ma to a safe place to cross roads. In many instances, this not where the pawment is all bobbly. These bobbly squares are usually placed at the widest place to cross the road, right by the corner. This is not the safest place. We Guide Dogs are trained to indent to the narrower bit where the kerb is straight, not curved. Sometimes, this means we have to go a long way around the corner and Ma has to learn to know and trust me that I am taking her to the best place. We are getting there!
As I am trained to work on a straight line principle, I always work to continue on along the same road, unless told otherwise. So, every time we come to a side-road, I have to stop at the kerb for Ma. She then has to work out and tell me which way to go. This applies just the same even when we indent a long way to cross a road. For example; we are walking with the road on our left and buildings on our right, and we come to a junction from our right. I indent a few metres around the corner to our right to a safe place to cross, sit at the kerb and wait for Ma to move her back paws into the right position to be ready to move on again (this is left paw right up to the kerb, then right paw moves back a pace). This means that, when Ma gives me the ‘forward’ command and we cross the road and step up onto the pawment the other side, Ma still tells me ‘straight on’ even though I actually have to take her left a bit to get back to the end of the junction. Then we continue on along the same road as before.
If, at the kerb, we are to turn right onto the new road, then Ma will step up beside me with both back paws, then ask me to wait. She then takes a step back with both back paws and then sticks her right paw to point sideways to the right. She biffs her leg with her right paw and, at the same time, tells me ‘Right’, I step across her and we walk on that way.
If we are to turn left though, we have to do the ‘back back right’ manoeuvre. This is where Ma steps back with both paws, I come around her, then she steps back again and I come around again and we then go right and end up facing the other way, ready to go to the left of the way we were going originally. Sometimes, this will land us straight at another kerb, where we do the ‘straight on’ crossing technique. It is much harder to explain that it is to do! I promise!
So, we have practised all of that over and over again today. I am teaching Ma how to do it! She is learning from the pro!
After a long workies doing all of this, we ended up back at Sainsbrees again. I tried to take Ma straight to GDMI’s vroomer but that was not what was required! We actually went into the shop. In there, we went upstairs, where I had to do a ‘step stand’ on the bottom step of each section, then we had a rest. A lie down for me and munchies and slurpies for the hoomans. Next I had to show Ma how good I am in something called a lift. It seems to be a room that rumbles a little when the doors shut, then it changes the outside of the doors. It changed us this time to the big hooman munchies shopping area. We wandered around a few of the ups and downs and lefts and rights. Then GDMI got me to show Ma what a super good boy I am when she asks me to ‘sit’ and ‘down stay’. Then she leaves me there and walks away and I stay still until she comes back. I got super praise for that – I just couldn’t help but absorb maximum effect by rolling onto my back for a bellyscratch – now THAT is praise worth having! Ma was impressed with this ‘down stay’ thing. She says that my predecessor could never be trusted to do this! And I was told I had a tough act to follow? Pah!
Next came a vroomer ride (with built in drink for me from the bowl inside). This took us to another vroomerkennel, where we got out and walked just around the corner to a bus stop. A brief ‘sit’ brought the bus along and on we got. When we got off again, it was for more workies around more streets and to a place called an optishuns. I had a most peculiar encounter there: I had to ‘find the door’ but getting to the door involved a rattly shiny slope. I wasn’t too sure about this but Ma and GDMI urged me onward so I did it and they seemed really pleased with me for getting in. We did a bit of waiting in there while a shehooman took Ma’s looker-windows to mend them. While we were waiting a shehooman came up the rattly shiny slope in a rollerseat. I watched very carefully! When it came to time to leave, I was again a bit unsure of the rattly slope but I took Ma down it again and she was really happy with me.
Lots more workies and corners and kerbs and a long uphill got us back to the vroomer and so on back to chuggyboathome. Ma is complaining that her back legs are not functioning properly now! That’s her fault for only using two paws! Four paws are much more efficient!