Today is my first day of guide dog training. Still ill from the weekend I was a little worried about how much I would have to do today. Thankfully it was just orientation. So what does that involve. In a nutshell learning to move around a hotel without your cane!
That perhaps sounds a little difficult but the layout of a hotel makes it relatively simple. With straight corridors that are lined with doors it makes it very simple to learn to navigate by touch alone. By placing a finger on the wall you can navigate around by counting how many doors it is to each destination you need to get too. This only takes a few minutes and before you know if you can freely move around.
Once all three members of the group had mastered this we had our first little talk and we were presented with our equipment. All sat in a room we were handed a bag with a bunch of items in it. We then tipped it out on the floor and the instructor would tell us which piece of equipment we had to feel for.
“find the leather harness” So you would feel around find the harness then the instructor gave instructions on how to handle the harness, put it together and attach it to our dogs. This was repeated for all the pieces of equipments, collars, toys, whistle, safety equipment and lead.
It was a nice learning experience to find it all ourselves by touch as it can be all to easy to ask someone to pass you an item rather than feel through and identify it all by touch alone. After playing with all the equipment we went through the guide dog agreement and chatted briefly.
Quite a relaxed first day, but not much you can really do when your dog isn’t here yet! The dogs arrive tomorrow so that is when the real training will start. So no doubt tomorrow I will have at least a post that mentions the fact there is a dog here, intact he will be sat next to me on his little fleece as I write tomorrows post!