I don’t know where to start; its been a busy and very successful week for Team Mable…..
Work is going well and I actually feel more able to function properly most of the time now. Fable seems to be very settled in our new office too. This week I decided to take her to a meeting with my coach at work, who I knew was very keen to meet her and would be understanding if it didn’t go according to plan. She did whine for a while to start with but settled down in the end. Hopefully in time she’ll be quiet quicker as I may need to take her with me if meetings are away from my department for a long period of time; not bad for a first attempt though.
Our walks to and from work and the gym are getting so much faster, smoother and enjoyable. I learnt this week that I need to be firmer with Fable sometimes. She had started to consistently stop and sniff at about 3 walls on kerb approaches which was slowing me down and needed to stop. So one day this week I gave her this biggest harness correction yet (as instructed by my Guide Dog Mobility Instructor) at the first wall sniff and guess what; she yawned (apparently the sign of an effective correction) and made no further attempts to sniff the other walls 🙂 In the next couple of weeks I think I’m going to try going to the gym on my way to work, which is what I used to do, so I can get back to my 3 training sessions a week. Although I’m pleased to report that I have lost 2kg since Fable and I started walking to and from work; its a little over 2 miles each way and at the pace she walks its no wonder both us are losing a bit.
On Wednesday we got the bus into town again and actually did some proper clothes shopping on our own! Fable gets so much attention its hard to keep her focused but its kind of nice to chat to people too. We met a friend I have come to know through Guide Dogs who is a seasoned GD owner; her current GD is a German Shepherd. Sadly her GD was recently attacked by a dog not on a lead while working and so has beena bit nervous of other dogs and I had no idea how Fable would react meeting another GD, so we had both sought advice from our GDMI’s before doing this.. Dog attacks against Guide Dogs are fortunately rare but when they do occur they can be devastating and sometimes mean that the dog can no longer work. This is why an attack against a GD is treated in the same way legally as a dog attacking a person; lets face it our dogs are part of us and we need them to live our lives independently so this is exactly how it should be in my opinion.
Fable and my friend’s GD got on really well; they sniffed each other, had a bit of a kiss and then both of them got back to work and guided us safely through a busy shopping centre to our lunch destination.
On Friday night Fable went out for her first evening meal at a local restaurant. The staff were lovely, my amazing friends were very patient with me (I’m still a bit distracted checking if Fable is behaving herself) and Fable was perfectly well behaved under our table.Walking with friends while Fable is on harness is interesting; I thought she would be more focused if they walked a bit behind us but I was wrong. She kept stopping and turning around to see where they were. It turns out its much easier to walk along together which if so much more social, or it will be when I can actually hold a conversation while working her 🙂
Yesterday we went out with my brother, sister in law, nephew and niece to some local gardens. I had no problem with access for Fable and once we were safely away from the car park and roads I was able to take her off harness and let her have a nice relaxed walk using the haulti lead as my family could guide me around the clearly defined paths. Fable was brilliant as always and we made it more interesting by practicing some on lead obedience work while the children played, but I could tell she was desperate to run and play with them; sorry Fable maybe next time.
The highlight of the week, for me at least was today’s free run! Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I had been finding them very stressful in terms of Fable steeling toys from children and other dogs, finding holes in fences to duck ponds and after last weeks drama it had been suggested that she might have found something unsavoury to eat. So all in all I was beginning to dread them while at the same time wanting her to be able to relax and be a dog. I think part of the problem is that I can’t see her and feel really out of control; yet another little lesson my Fable is teaching me – you can’t control everything!
I had a long conversation with my GDMI on Friday about my worries and she suggested a different place which I would need to drive to. However, as I have come to the conclusion that I won’t be able to free run fable on my own for the foreseeable future and I have a lot of very lovely friends and family willing to help, I felt this was the right thing to do. Several friends with pet dogs had also suggested the same area. So off we went with 2 of my friends and we met another friend with her dog there. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that we had such a lovely, safe, fun free run today! Fable was off lead for about an hour and as you can see from the photos had a great time playing with other dogs, running around like a crazy thing, picking up massive sticks and having a little swim. It was a much nicer area than where I had been going; open spaces with some tress, no litter, a little steam and no children or people having picnics, just decent people walking their dogs. Fable’s recall was spot on every time, even from the stream and we played a bit of hide and seek. My GDMI had suggested I try this to encourage her to keep looking out for me. According to my friends she noticed I was gone, looked around, couldn’t see me so laid down to wait.. From behind the tree I started talking quietly at this point, I didn’t actually call her but she came bounding up to me. What a brilliant day – I’m so grateful to my friends; I couldn’t do this without you all!