That’s a first

The other day I was in the city with my sister. We were on our way to our favourite coffee shop – a destination Wiley’s knows well and he was doing a great job guiding me there. All of a sudden he stopped, paused and then did a 180 degree turn.

I instinctively follow and trust my dog so I turned with him. I asked my sister what was going on and she said he had caught sight of someone and was trying to follow them.

When I knew he had simply been distracted I stopped Wiley, told him to focus, gave the command for turning back and told him to follow my sister. He did as he was told but was still obviously a little distracted glancing in the direction of the person he had tried to follow. A minute later he was back to full concentration.

It is at times like this that I wish I could have a conversation with Wiley and ask him what on earth he was thinking. It was also a good reminder that Wiley is a living creature and like all of us will make mistakes.

My sister said the gentleman looked similar to my father so perhaps Wiley thought it was my dad. He loves my Dad as he plays tug with him and Wiley is used to following him whenever we are out and about – maybe that explains his behaviour. It is a little frustrating that I am never going to really know why he did what he did.

Once we sat down I told my sister that if Wiley was going to start following perfect strangers I’d prefer he pick out nice, appropriately aged single men as I haven’t been on a date in years 🙂

6 thoughts on “That’s a first

  1. I’m laughing at your comment that if Wiley was going to follow strange men, at least he could follow appropriately aged, good looking men! At our recent guide dog fund-raiser night, we had a vision impaired man speak. He mentioned that when he told his first guide dog to find a seat, the dog would often lead him to one that already had someone in it – he thought it was funny that it was always a woman in the seat. He laughed as he thought the dog was trying to match him up! He said he was disappointed that his current guide dog leads him to empty seats. It would be a good reminder though, with Wiley being distracted. For some reason I had the idea that the guide dogs basically did the right thing all the time.
    Guinness, my puppy in training, is nearly 10 months old. People often ask me if he is good. I have been thinking about that because sometimes I feel like I am always correcting him. I felt like I had a light bulb moment the other day – because so much is expected of them there is always something for me to be working on. The more you have to work on, the more it feels like I am always ‘picking’ on him for something. I now think that yes, he is a good boy but like you say, he will always be learning something. At almost 10 months though, I realise that the time that I have left with him is getting shorter – a bit scary since I feel like there is so much more he needs to learn. I have been told he will probably go into his formal training in February – maybe three months away. Despite all this, I am really enjoying having him & working with him. I feel like I am learning so much.
    Hope you have a great week.

    • Hi Sheena
      One of the best things about working with a Guide Dog is that you are teamed with another living being who has the capability of independent thought and action. Of course this means they can and will make mistakes. 99% of the time he does everything perfectly, it is the other 1% that makes life interesting and gives me something to write about 🙂

      It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with Guinness. I think at 10 months the hardest thing to teach is self control. So many other things to be doing than what you are told. Guinness is getting a great foundation for his future role as someones Guide and companion.

      WIll you think about taking on another puppy once Guinness leaves for training?

      I smiled at your story about the guys dog who would take his handler to a seat with a woman in it. Quite a unique way to meet someone:)

      • Yes Jo, I’m sure we will continue raising Guide Dog puppies. Even though it is hard work & it will be difficult to say goodbye, I know it is an important job. Hearing from you about how Wiley has changed your life, makes me want to keep going. I think the only way I will be able to give Guinness back is if I am promised another puppy!

      • Hi Sheena
        I am so pleased that regardless of how hard it is to let them go you will continue to love and train more Guide Dog puppies. Without wonderful families like yours there wouldn’t be a Guide Dog program. It is impossible to accurately covey how much Wiley means to me. I am and will be forever grateful to all puppy raisers 🙂

    • I sometimes wonder how Wiley would feel if I started seeing someone, I think he quite likes having my attention all to himself:)

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