Yesterday (4 July) I wrote about my first day’s training with my new guide dog, Trigger. Today (5 July) the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA’s) Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) arived at 9.30 and we undertook a walk to Gipsy Hill railway station which is situated some 25 minutes walk from my home.
I’d got used to the relatively sedate speed of my previous guide dog, Drew so it took a little time to adjust to Trigger’s comparatively fast pace. However I am a fast walker and this presented few problems.
Guide dogs are, in essence trained to guide their owners safely past obstacles and to stop at kerbs. Trigger performed extremly well only ove shooting one kerb very slightly. Following the instructions of my GDMI I brought Trigger back, using his lead and ensured that he stopped at the kerb prior to crossing.
Due to his training Trigger is able to locate the buttons at pelican crossings which I find extremely helpful. In order to encourage him in locating the controls I give him a small treat (a tiny piece of his food) whenever he successfuly locates a crossing thereby reinforcing his training. Once he is well established in finding the buttons on pelican crossings the treats will stop, however the praise will, of course continue as it reinforces his interest in working. Praise is both verbal and physical, ranging from a stroke to an encouraging word of praise when Trigger performs well.
Tomorrow we will go into Croydon followed by another walk to Gipsy Hill station.