On Wednesday Wiley and I headed into the city to meet up with Canberra’s newest Guide Dog Instructor. Our lesson was how to safely get on and off escalators and travellators.
After watching us work together for a short time the instructor asked us to ‘find target’, where some nice quiet travelators were located. It is always best to start in a quiet area. I had a refresher lesson in how to get on and off safely using my cane. I needed to be confident and proficient before asking Wiley to accompany me.
The instructor took Wiley and they both followed behind me, she had treats so Wiley instantly loved her and happily stepped on and off. After a bit of practice sans dog I took back Wiley, lifted his harness handle and asked him to ‘find the escalator’. He took me to the metal plate, I checked the direction it was traveling (up), dropped his harness handle and we stepped on together.
I kept my left leg in line with his shoulder and had my right leg forward so I could tell when it was leveling out and we needed to get off. As we got towards the end I encouraged him with an upbeat voice and said hop off. He was a star and happily jumped off. I gave him lots of praise, cuddles and treats. I was smiling and his tail was wagging furiously, he knew he’d done a good job.
We practiced ups and downs a few more times then headed off to a quiet escalator. The technique is much the same except when going up I have my right foot on the step ahead of Wiley and on the way down I angled my toe off the step to check when it was levelling out. Once agin there was no hesitation from Wiley, more praise and treats (Wiley was having the best time !)
Our last challenge was an escalator in a busier area, again absolutely no problems. The instructor was very impressed with how willing and laid back Wiley was – I was so proud of my beautiful boy. Our homework is to practice on a regular basis to reinforce the training
We then had a lovely coffee and chat, although next time I must remember no caffeine for me after midday, it took me ages to fall asleep that night. By the time we got home Wiley was ready for his dinner – he got a little extra for being such a good boy 🙂 .