Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moving Right Along

The AKC emailed me back and I have heard from the local obedience training club twice now. Things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Mr. K and I talked about rally training Glacier, since it would be a good chance to brush up on his obedience and listening skills. We originally were going to put Aria in the class, but I don't think she is ready. I need to work on her "sit stay" a bit more because in Rally she has to stay seated while I walk around her. She can't do that yet and I'm afraid I'd step on her because she is so small. My thought process was that since this all new to me, that I should learn it all with an already trained and reliable dog. I will officially train with Glacier and then bring the skills I learned home and teach Aria; kind of the same way I was going to do the Petsmart classes with Aria and Balloo. Only this way, it will be Glacier and Aria. We had put Aria in the intermediate obedience class at Petsmart, but have since taken her out. They don't train for competitions, so it would be more financially reasonable to do the Obedience club class. The Rally class is also thirty dollars cheaper, which is a bit enticing in and of itself.
Glacier and I will be "skill" tested in the next week or two to see if we are ready for the Novice Rally class and if we pass then we will enroll. If we need more work then we will take the Obedience Two class with the Obedience club and that will better prepare us for the Novice one.
As for the AKC, I am not the first blind handler to want to compete and they have rules put in place to ensure equal opportunities to participate. I may need documentation at each rally show in order to get the accommodation, but that is easy to get. My eyes are prosthetic, there is no doctor in this world who will deny my blindness. LOL The AKC confirmed the information the Obedience club gave me in that blind competitors in both Rally and Obedience would have the judge or a stuart move them from station to station and that designated person would read them the instructions on the sign.
I am incredibly excited and have all crossable body parts crossed that Glacier and I pass the "skills" test. The woman from the Obedience club explained the finishes to me and unknowingly, Glacier already knows how to "finish left," but we will have to work on finishing right. I'm not sure how to train that, but it is something I can work on between now and our skills test.
It's been a pretty good day all around. The sun is shining, Rally training is looking more and more doable and our water was turned back on around 11 this morning. I am a happy girl.

4 comments:

Jen said...

Yay! Sounds like things are going to work out very well. Exciting times ahead for you and the doggies.
Do you think doing extra things like that is good and fun for guide dogs? I'm considering doing a year long distance learning dog training course, starting in September, and it involves some practical training at the end. Not sure exactly what's involved but the trainer wants to make sure that it won't interfer with O.J's working routine. She said that if he is good at differenciating between harness work and relaxing, then it might actually be a bit of fun for him.
I'll just have to wait and see how things go and find out a bit more about it before I decide to go ahead.

Amber DaWeenie said...

Good luck with everything. Glad you have your water back again.

I know you will do great.

Jess and Glacier said...

Amber: Thanks so much. You are always so encouraging. :)
Jen: I think that sort of thing is ok for guide dogs. At first, I didn't think it was, and it may depend on the dog, but guide dogs are picked for a reason. They need stimulation and enjoy using their minds. They also want to please you. If you are working on obedience routines, I don't see why it wouldn't hurt. I am going to make sure Glacier has a different collar on and does not wear his harness while we are doing the rally stuff. He may have to wear it to guide me to the bathroom, but any cues given in relation with Rally will always be given with his special collar on and no harness. I don't know if the collar will differentiate for him, but I figure it's a shot. I also thought of using a bandanna as well just so he knows when that bandanna comes out and is on, it's Rally time. I am not sure when I am starting, but I will let you know and fill you in on things I learn along the way. Our guide dog school asks us to do an obedience routine with our dogs every day to keep them sharp and willing to listen. I don't think this will be any different. I wouldn't do agility though; just my personal feeling. I think agility would be a bit much, trying to be a guide dog and jump through things too. Agility could also accidentally injure the dog and then you and your eyes are in trouble. But Rally doesn't have any of that back flipping stuff...at least not to my knowledge. So I think it will be beneficial to our working bond. :)
What do you think?

Jen said...

I agree about the aigility thing. I don't know too much about ralley so it will be interesting to hear more when you get started.