Saturday, November 13, 2010

Last Night on Campus

Tomorrow is graduation day. It is hard to believe that I have been here 2 weeks already and am getting ready to go home. We are all packed and eager to get home. Barbie and I will spend Sunday night at Blaze's house and fly out very early Monday morning.
Getting back to the events of this week - Tuesday morning we did what are called traffic checks. This is where an instructor intentionally tries to drive in your path from all kinds of angles like some motorists do in the real world. These checks are very controlled so no one gets injured. These exercises allow us to see how our dog react in such situations and shows us what we need to do when our dogs react. In the afternoon we went back to the mall for more escallator and crowd work.
Wednesday we went back downtown and worked on clearance work such as avoiding poles, dogs, pedestrians, etc. In the afternoon we were told what is in our going-home notebook and a bit about our dogs. Barbie is 22 inches tall at the shoulders and weighed 69 lbs when she came in to training. Her raisers live here in Palm Springs.
Thursday was our trip into LA. We drove to Pasadena and took the Gold Line into Union Station. At the station in Pasadena, we worked the platforms with our dogs. Man, they all wanted no part of the platform edge. They did everything they could to keep us away from them. We then road the train into LA and worked our way out of Union Station. We then walked on Alvera Street, had lunch at a Mexican Restaurant that has been in business for 80 years. We then walked more through big crowds of shoppers, merchandise, kids, etc. It was fascinating to see how the dogs worked this very congested area. We then went back to Union Station and caught the Gold Line back to Pasadena. The class took Bob, Emily, and Bill out to dinner in thanks for all of their hard work. Bob and Emily are trainers/instructors and Bill is cheif cook and bottle washer and does anything they ask him to do. What a fun group to work with.
In the process of this dinner, we had a night route with many distractions as it was Thursday Night Festival.
Friday morning brought another round of traffic checks with a hibred being used. Barbie and I did very well until the last crossing. She was excellent but I tripped over nothing and fell in the middle of the street. I think my shoe just caught up on the rough asphault. I picked myself up and finished the crossing before checking for damage. I scraped my hand, knee, and chin. Poor Barbie wasn't sure what to do especially sent it wasn't her fault.
We then had an introduction into canine first aid and CPR. The dogs received another massage from Tom. In the evening we had a potluck with wonderful food and many staff, their spouses, puppy raisers in attendance. Barbie's raisers, Lea and Patrick made a brief appearance as they had another commitment. Tom Davis and his wife Debbie, President of the the Board of GDD, also stopped in for a bit. They were puppy sitters for Barbie when Lea and Patrick had her. She sure was glad to see the 4 of them.
Today we went back down to the Depot and all got to work on items that we felt we wanted or needed to do. Barbie and I didn't walk a great distance but had lots of stuff to work through. Many places had a couple of choices for Barbie to decide which way to go. None of the ways were wrong but some of them made the dog work more than other ways. There were tons of people, dogs, poles, and any other kinds of obstacles to deal with including a very angry man who has Terets Syndrome. He was kind of scary.
In the afternoon we sort of rehearsed the graduation and viewed the PowerPoint that will be shown. Very cool presentation which shows each of our dogs from puppyhood to actual working with us during our training. Barbie is a ham according to her raisers.
Tomorrow will be a very busy day as we have a brunch with the raisers and sponsors at 11:00 and graduation is at 2:00. Donna, Blaze's raiser, will be here and then we will go to her house for the night and catch the flight at 6:20 a.m. We will be back in Walla Walla by Noon if all goes as planned.
One thing that I found very different from other schools I have attended is that we worked the dogs in harness to breakfast and lunch and heeled our dogs using our cames to dinner. Bob feels that we need to keep our cane skills up and the dogs need to be comfortable working around canes. I just thought I could put the darn thing away when I got here - not to happen.
More to come....

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