What goes in must come out

Warning: This post discusses poo and wee so if you are squeamish read no further.

As a Guide Dog Handler I am very aware of Wiley’s toileting habits. When all is going well he has a fairly consistent routine. It goes something like this:

  • 1st morning walk (around 4AM ish) – wee
  • 2nd Morning walk (around  7AM ish) – wee and poo
  • Mid morning walk (anywhere between 10-12) – wee
  • Mid afternoon walk (somewhere before 3PM) – wee
  • Last walk (between 6-7PM) – wee

Most days Wiley does one poo and five wee’s and his tolieting is done outside working hours. I always give him a chance to relieve himself before he is expected to work and unless we are away from home for more than 5 hours he generally will not need a wee break while we are out.

If I expect to be away from home for more than 5 hours I plan ahead and make sure there will be a suitable green space for Wiley to toilet. Once we reach an appropriate area I take his harness off and then give him the command to go to the toilet. Once he has finished I put the harness back on. I do this as it reinforces the rule he must never toilet whilst wearing his harness.

I give Wiley more wee wee opportunities in summer as he is drinking more and I found out that when the weather first got cold he wanted to go a little more frequently, but now he has settled back into his regular routine.

Having a dog that toilets on command makes life so much easier. It means I know when he has gone and by listening I can tell if he has done a wee or poo. As a responsible dog owner I always pick up Wiley’s poo’s. I do this by feeling around for something warm. Certainly not pleasant but reasonably easy, unless he has chosen to go underneath a tree so I have to navigate branches to find it 🙂

Unfortunately if Wiley eats something that doesn’t agree with him the tolieting schedule can get all out of whack . What goes in makes a big difference to what comes out – in quantity, frequency and volume.

If I give him a new type of treat or amend his diet in anyway I have to be prepared for changes to his poo. This happened the other day when I tried stuffing his kong with a dog roll instead of kangaroo mince. Wiley went from small, firm once a day poo to three soft and large poo’s in one day. Needless to say he is back to kangaroo mince in his kong.

Being focused on diet and tolieting is one of the requirements of being a Guide Dog Handler.  I remember the first few weeks with both Khan and Wiley my obsession with when they had last gone to the loo was all consuming. I was paranoid they would need to go when we were out and I couldn’t find somewhere for them to go or worse that I wouldn’t understand their signal telling me they have to go and they would have an accident. Thankfully (touch wood) neither situation has ever happened.

Meanwhile what we have been up to:

It has been a wet few days. It is never much fun taking a wet dog places so apart from a few cafe visits, cheering on my friend as she finished her half marathon and doing our regular taxi talk Wiley has had a reasonably easy few days.

We have kept up with our usual bush walks and we ran five km around Lake Burley Griffin this morning (my friend did the guiding using a tether, Wiley was on his recreational collar and lead) He is such a funny boy – obviously we weren’t running fast enough for him as he never broke into a run, just trotted behind looking unimpressed.

2 thoughts on “What goes in must come out

  1. I understand the “all consuming” part. I have had my guide dog three months and man when she doesn’t relieve normal it does become all consuming. We have gone to the vet twice out of panics with weird diarrhea, all ended up being just fine.. just weird indigestion. In regards to your warning at the beginning of this post, I find it amusing how during training, we talked about our dogs poop and pee all the time around meals and other times and talking to other guide dog handlers this is totally normal but with the non-service dog handler population, we just come off as gross a lot of times, haha. Loved this post.

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