Saturday, October 10, 2009

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Mea Culpa

Today we had our monthly big area meeting at the St. Pete Pier. On our way down we met up with John and Bagheera (his well trained and very well behaved dog). We took the trolley down to the pier where our meeting was to start. Bingo doesn't seem to mind public transportation at all. Neither the trip on the trolley bothered him a bit.
These meetings are always part obedience and part informational. Today, for me anyway, it was a bit more informative because it was information that I could relate directly to how I was training Bingo or how I was training Bingo incorrectly.
Normally, at school, when Bingo pulls I will say, "No Pull." I learned that the command is NO. Simply No. For all things bad. Just No. Don't have a conversation. Don't discuss it with him. NO.
I also learned that I correct before he has a chance to do the action. I also realized that his "teething" is actually biting and it is my fault for not stopping it. I learned how to stop the biting. I learned that when he pulls I am to change direction, and to do it again and again and again until he is so confused that he finally looks to me for an indication of which direction we are going to go. "Ah, perhaps this person on the other end of the leash knows something. Let's look to her and see." See photo above of me changing direction on him.

I learned that at five months that he's still young enough that I haven't ruined him, that I can still undo all the things that I have unknowingly instilled in him. I learned all these things, so while I started and went through most of the meeting completely filled with a sense of failure, I left it with a very small, tiny seed of hope. One tiny seed that I might be able to grow into the owner that Bingo needs me to be in order for him to be the guide dog I know he can be.
Bingo, as you can see, is filled with hope.

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