Last night was the night walk with Ascot. This is the one training walk that people sam to worry about the most. Maybe because a lot of blind people avoid going out at night, as if you do have any residual vision this generally deteriorates to 0 vision during the night hours.
Due to this a lack of experience of the dark can create a little anxiety at the thought of walking around an unfamiliar location with a dog. As I sat in the training van talking about the night walk with a fellow trainee she was a little worried but positive she wanted to try the experience in order to conquer her fears and highlight that walking at night was possible.
As my turn arrived I was a little anxious of walking at night but had gained a decent level of trust with Ascot over the past 10 days. I knew he would be able to see where I couldn’t so all I had to do was follow the handle just as I had been practicing. At first it was a little difficult as our speed was a little up and down but we both settled down and by the first turning had found our rhythm.
Trusting in the dog is really the key, as long as you trust the dog the night walk is just like any other walk.
Today saw our first free run, I had been looking forward to this and giving Ascot the opportunity to run around a field. He was incredibly excited as we entered the area and needed quite a few corrections, he also again began to take commands from the trainer. I think this may be due to the fact she was delivering commands in a stern voice which made Ascot stand to attention.
He seemed to thoroughly love running around with the other guide dogs and a little pug that had come along to play. They chased each other round the field as we tested our recall. He always came bounding over quickly on recall, which is great as I know I won’t lose him in a field!
I plan to write a post tomorrow about the entire guide dog training experience, touching on the common topics of difficulty and so on. So pop back tomorrow for a good read.