I know it’s not Friday, but I’m excited to introduce you to Jan. She’s a golden retriever in the BC & Alberta Guide Dog Program. I’ll be training her for the next 14 to 18 months. Kristina thinks she’s doing the training but it’s really me.
As you can see, I’m taking good care of her.
I miss Kinta, our last guide dog in puppy training. She’s moved on to advanced training and is doing well.
Living with a guide dog in training has certain benefits.
I have a cuddle partner. Kinta has lots of play time with me, and sometimes we get a little tired out. So what do we do?
We chill on Kristina’s cushions that she’s trying to dry out. It’s not our fault she left it in the rain and then put it on the floor.
After getting kicked off the cushion, we snuggle on the rug.
And when that got boring, we move to the dog bed where I like to chew on Kinta’s leg.
Some days are just fun.
Life as a guide dog trainer is exhausting. Kinta is just over a year old and has a ton of energy.
The first thing I had Kristina teach Kinta was to only play with me when I feel like it. I’m 10, you know. When Kinta gets too rambunctious, Kristina tells her to leave it, and magically she leaves me alone.
If I’m by myself with Kinta, I get up on the middle of the bed where she can’t reach me. She’s not allowed on the bed, so it’s a great hiding place for me.
Today, I spent my morning teaching Kinta how to heel without pulling on the leash. I’m an expert 🙂 At least in my mind.
Having a new pal in the house is awesome!
I’m a volunteer! Meet Kinta. She’s a guide dog in training. Kristina brought her into our home.
“Who is the dog?” I bark. I sniff her, give her a friendly shoulder bump, and then snuggle into Kristina. Sometimes, Kristina dog sits other dogs, but I know something is up. This one came with her own bed, a BIG bag of dog food, and a box of toys.
“You’re job is to teach Kinta to be calm around other dogs, behave in stores, and relax at home.”
I wag my tail. “I can do that,” I bark.
This is me showing Kinta how to relax when Kristina is in the pet aisle at Canadian Tire. This is very important if we want Kristina to buy us a new toy.
Kinta and I walk side-by-side on a leash. She’s learning her leash manners, and I’ve taught her not to pull. I cheer her on every time she gets it right.
I’m a little jealous. But here’s the deal. I get to sleep on the couch and in the bed. Kinta doesn’t. That’s my special place where I get Kristina all to myself.
My life is about to change. My humans are thinking about becoming puppy raisers for BC & Alberta Guide dogs. At first, I thought this was all talk, but then I noticed Kristina going out in the afternoon to puppy training classes – just to watch, she said.
She’d come home all excited and talk about the dogs in the class. That’s when I got suspicious. She doesn’t have a puppy, and I’m fully trained – you all know how well behaved I am, so why go to classes?
I bark my displeasure.
She scratches my head and says, “Don’t worry. You’re my favorite. If we bring a puppy home, it’s temporary. Just for 18 months or so.”
The next step in getting a puppy is a home visit from the BC & Alberta Guide Dogs supervisor.
A supervisor arrives with a dog named Canuck. Canuck is a service dog in training. The first insult happens–I have to wait outside while Canuck explores my house.
I’m a little miffed and I cry, well whine really.
Kristina explains that Canuck is working, and he’s not allowed to play with me while he’s on-leash. She knows I’m very friendly and play with every dog who walks into our home. But still, I’m left peering through the window, looking as sad as possible.
After an endless stretch of time, the humans let Canuck into the backyard. We’re both off leash and get to play. I like this part. Canuck is gentle, and we get along right away.
What do you think? Should I allow Kristina to become a puppy trainer, or should I keep her to myself?