Monday, February 11, 2013

Guide Dog Training Day 1: Getting Comfy

As you can probably guess by the title of this post, I have successfully made it through my first day of guide dog training. The first day of any guide dog training program I know of is guide dogless. The day is spent orienting yourself to your surroundings so that you can provide consistent and reliable instructions for your new dog. The hotel we've been put up in is incredibly nice and all of the staff have been more than accommodating. There is a 20 metre pool, gym and I think the bathroom alone in my room is bigger than my bedroom in my flat.
The guide dog trainer picked me up shortly after nine this morning and then we went off to the bus station to pick up the other student. The other student is a very nice woman who is now training with her fourth guide dog who happens to be a black Labradoodle.
Arriving at the hotel, we sat in our little "lounge" which is a bedroom with table, chairs and a small love seat that has been set up for our use. The bed's been removed to allow room for seating. There is always tea, coffee and cookies available and this is where our dogs' food will be housed during our stay. This is also the room that we will use to have "lectures" of sort.
After a quick coffee break we headed to our rooms to unpack. Unloading my suitcase made me realise just how purple my stuff is. I have purple Wellies with purple liners, purple jammies, scarf, purse, socks purple Etc. The trainer took us each individually around the hotel in order to show us the various rooms we would need to know. I even got a quick tour of the gym facilities.
We had a tasty lunch of soup and sandwiches in the little cafe type thing and then it was back to learning routes around the hotel, including the area where we'll take our dogs to relieve. My dog uses grass so my relieving spot is different from that of the Labradoodle's who will be using a "spending pen." This concept was foreign to me as all of Leader Dogs' dogs go on leash, but I think the idea is that the dog is just let into the pen and does his/her business off leash. If I'm incorrect, I'll let you know once the dogs arrive.
 I may have fallen asleep briefly on the very large, comfortable bed for a moment or two. My nap was short lived as we had another quick run through some routes, a brief meeting about some housekeeping items such as getting photos for our guide dog ID cards then the other student and I sat and chatted for a while. We retired to our rooms to freshen up for supper and then it was back down to the cafe thingy for a very tasty pasta dish. We can order pretty much anything we want on the menu and judging by tonight's meal, we're in for a real treat. The food is quite good.
It doesn't seem like a whole lot when written down like this, but I'm glad we didn't have our dogs already. Learning the ins and outs of this place was enough for one day. The hotel is quite old and there are a lot of nooks and crannies one could get lost in. I'm not exhausted or anything, could be due to that nap I had, but I'm definitely ready to put my feet up and relax.
In fact, I'm off to have a bath and then it's sleepy time. We have another busy day with an early start and our dogs arriving after lunch.


Leye-Shprintse said...


It sounds like holiday! I hope it goes well tomorrow the 'D day'! I'm in Sweden and I received my dog the first day. Here it depends on what your instructor thinks is best for you and the dog. We got to know our dogs and walk with them in lead, we'd the first walk in harness the second day. Good luck tomorrow!

Leye-Shprintse <3

torie said...

I loved the food in the hotel. It's a good job you do all that walking because you put on about 2 stone lol. I liked the pool in our hotel didn't have a deep end and was all the same depth. I loved the craic at the hotel too.

Take care and can't wait to read more!

Jenny said...

Cool, I wasn't sure if you'd be online while you were training. I couldn't imagine training from a hotel, so it will be interesting to hear how you find the experience. Torie's right, at least the foods good, which is important when your doing all that hard work, concentrating and walking around.

Dexter said...

A great first day. The hotel sounds delightful.

Mango Momma

pattib said...

Good luck today! Thanks for sharing your journey...

Nicky said...

I am delighted you can blog from the hotel and it has net acess. Yes, spending off lead is usuallly the done thing round these parts. One of my classmates however was trained with her dog spending on her lead as apposed to being let off free in a dog run. Also, we have a centre here in Ireland and do not stay in a hotel. I expect there will be little things that are done differently there now that you will not have done in the states and its going to be interesting to hear you giving a little comparrison of both places.