Guide Dog Take II: Day 4 Building Confidence

This post is for yesterday. I know I said I would be better on posting about each day on that day so that will start now after this post. 😉

Today Wesley and I went walking on our route in Portland. Our first route in the morning went really well. We noted several things to work on including my turn mechanics especially to the left. On our way back to the GDB Portland Center, Wesley and I approached a curb as usual and when I cued him to go forward and cross the street, he resisted. When I asked again, he tried to move to the left so we reset. I asked him one more time but we just decided to go sighted guide across the street. The principle here was to “get to the good” stuff and reward for that. So when we walked forward with my instructor being a sighted guide, Wesley did come alongside me, maintaining the line we were traveling. When we got to the other side, my instructor informed me that there was a large puddle of water in front of the down-curb which was why Wesley did not want to move forward. We noted this as something to pay attention to in our afternoon route. The rest of the morning route finished out nicely and ended on a positive note.

When we went out for our afternoon route, everything seemed to flow a bit smoother. My turns were better but did get a bit sloppy toward the end. The big accomplishment happened when we approached the very scary dog-eating water puddle. Wesley showed me the curb as usual and when I asked him to go forward he didn’t even hesitate. He took a big step and went through the puddle like a champ! I felt like an overly proud mom when we got to the other side and he looked up at me seeking approval and reward. He got that praise in full! It seems like such a small accomplishment but to me it just showed how hard Wesley tries to do good. All the way back on that route, he trotted with a little hop in his step. It was like he was proud of himself too.

With every day that passes, I feel Wesley and I growing in confidence and connectedness. With each moment of praise or encouragement, he works a little bit harder for me. I can’t even describe how good it feels to be behind the harness again and especially with such an earnest and honest partner. Wesley continues to endear himself to me and I just love every second I spend with him. He seems happy to be with me and work as a team.

After dinner, Wesley and I did some snuggling on the floor. He was so affectionate and kept leaning into me as I pet him. He licked my face and laid his head in my lap. I really enjoy how responsive he is to physical praise. I feel like it connects us on a deeper level. We played a little with his bone and kong and eventually he decided it was bedtime and tucked himself in a ball in the corner. Before I went to bed, I made sure to give him some love and tell him how good of a boy he is and how much I love him. This partnership is just plain awesome. I know it won’t be spectacular like this forever but the love I feel between us hopefully will never go away.

Tomorrow we work in Portland in the morning and Fred Meyer in the afternoon for inside work. I’m looking forward to just another day with Mr Wesley.

I’m going to try and get some pictures of us working on some of our routes.

Stay tuned and may your Thanksgiving cooking go smoothly!

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About Ali S

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