Second Week of Guide Dog Training

              So, the second week of training was supposed to be the week where we go to various locations, like Royal Oak and Birmingham, but due to the threat of rain every day, we stayed in Rochester, doing different routes.

              We did go to a couple of high traffic areas, and got the dogs work with traffic, but we did not cross the roads. We just used the traffic on our parallel side and walked until the dogs were tired.

              One of the afternoons when it was raining, we went to Target to get in some store work. The trainers show us a couple of ways to work our dogs in the store. You have the dog follow the person in front of you with them tapping their hip every so often. Another way to travel in stores is to take a cart and just heel your dog. So, I would say Doc heel, and I would hold on to the leash with my left hand, and the cart with the right. I much prefer this way to store travel because you know the person getting the cart isn’t going to leave you and the cart unless you just irritated them.

              Vet checks were towards the end of the week, it’s just a physical for the dogs. Everything came out ok for Doc except a fatty sist on his tail.

              So, when I received Doc, I was doing an examination by just petting him and sniffing the ears when I noticed a lump on the base of his tail. A little concerning to me sense my last dog died from cancer. I told the trainers, and he went into get a biopsy which came back good. They said it was just a fatty cyst, but it continued to grow over the next week. When he went in for his vet check, I told them about it, and they decided to do surgery to remove it.

The reason is because the tail doesn’t have a lot of skin, so they were concerned with the rate of growth that it would eventually rupture the skin, and then I would have a lot bigger mess on my hands

Doc’s surgery went well, and the cyst was removed! Now he is just recovering until the middle of the month when we are reunited.

We have one more week of training to complete before we are a full team. Remember I did the flex option which is two weeks on campus training and a week at your house completing routes that you normally do. Also, you can tackle any issues that might arise in your normal everyday routes.

Peace for now,

Nick VanderWall

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