This morning Kim, Future Leader Dog puppy Kayla, Nala and I are traversing the bridge that defines the Ontario/Michigan border to go to the Michigan prison where other future Leader Dogs in training are being raised. I had set my alarm for 6 AM, but woke up a full hour before the chimes rang out.
Because I am so excited!
Kim and I had met earlier this week for an outing which Mr. K accompanied us on. We went to one of our malls and walked Nala and Kayla around and then settled in at the food court for a conversation that required two cups of coffee, a Subway sandwich and two park sessions for the wee pup. Get us together and we can gab!
Of course in all of that talk there was a lot of dog talk and we also discussed what we were going to do today at the prison. A lot of it is training stuff and of course we'll have a question and answer period at the end. I'm going to demonstrate how i pattern Nala to find an object, the door for example, so the raisers can see the value of training "touch" well. Whoever taught Nala "touch" did a really good job because she transfers that skill to touching door knobs or cross walk poles when I pattern her to them. Touch has also come in handy when I can't quite find her. I can just reach my hand with the palm up out and she will run her head into it. This, of course, could just be Nala's little quirks, but it's beens super helpful for me. The funny part is that as excited as I am to get Nala to be a show off and demonstrate her mad skills, I'm more excited about how excited the raisers are to watch her. I'm also excited to train with them because they are such good raisers with really good insights and questions. A common misconception about guide dogs is that once they are trained and handed over that they are trained and all training stops. That couldn't be further from the truth. As most dogs trainers will tell you: training is a lifelong process and that sentiment holds true for guide dogs as well.
Do you know what else is exciting?
Puppies! Lots of them! Need I say more?
Anyway, in my excitement I've sort of run out of coherent things to say. If I keep writing I'll probably write "I'm so excited" about ten more times and I think you guys already figured that out. So, I'll go for now and begin the routine I was meant to start once my alarm actually went off since it's now after 6.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Patty the writer of Plays with Puppies and now the Puppies Inside blogs has just received some very exciting news! Her most recent puppy has just been matched with his new handler! You should go read about it: it's her post that got me even more worked up. LOL (It's just an exciting day)!