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MSALWILLIAMS's Photo MSALWILLIAMS Posts: 4,648
4/29/08 2:08 P

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We had a woman who worked at the elementary school when I was a child ... she had a seeing eye dog. She was legally blind but could see shadows. The dog helped her move around the school a lot better since her dog (a girl) would see the children faster. This dog was amazing. I know we would stop and pet her dog while he was on the harness and she was always very well behaved. She also did great leading Debbie around when she had to get a motorized chair. That was a very interesting thing to see.

We continue to look forward to how things are going in this process.

Taking it one day at a time.

If you are going to have a treat make sure you enjoy each bite.

My lowest was around 139...making my way back down and hopefully farther.


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BEEBOPALULA's Photo BEEBOPALULA Posts: 217
4/20/08 2:27 P

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A blind woman with her guide dog attended the last training meeting I went to for GEB. While all the other puppies in training were greatly distracted by each other, the 'working' dog paid no heed to anything or anyone. He rested calmly at her feet as long as he was in his harness. However, when she was offered a piece of cake, and to enable her to eat it, a member of the training team took her 'working dog' off his harness and onto a leash (making him a 'free' dog - a non-working dog), the change in him was amazing. He was very well behaved and controlled, but his tail went up and began wagging, his ears went up and he enjoyed looking around and greeting anyone who came to him.

I talked with her a while and asked about her experience with her dog. She is a young woman, probably 40-ish, who lost her sight late in life, but gradually. She didn't want a guide dog until she lost her sight altogether, preferring the freedom of using her cane. She’d never owned a dog before, and was not sure she wanted a dog. However, when she lost her sight altogether, and realized that she’d not have that kind of freedom again without a dog, So she entered the GEB program. After the initial 1 month of training, she said it took her about a year to feel 'at one' with her dog, but that she'd never have the freedom that she does without her dog. I look forward to getting to know her as she does attend these meetings often.

My next pre-puppy opportunity is to attend an 'evaluation' session where a professional from the GEB program in NY comes to evaluate each of the pups-in-training (this is done once a month) to see how things are progressing. They tape the entire session, compile it each month with ensuing sessions, and when your pup is assigned to its new owner, they give you all the evaluations on one disk. That way, you can relive the growth and training of your pup.

Attending this session will provide more valuable information to me about what is expected of the pups at different stages. Can't wait!

HUGS,
CAL


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MAIZEY's Photo MAIZEY Posts: 3,245
4/19/08 11:32 P

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Cal - Thanks for sharing this experience with us. I work with a man who has a guide dog. The movement is a partnership or dance between them. This puppy will have an opportunity to bond with a person in a way that we probably can't begin to imagine. My friend tells me that at the end of the day when out of the harness, his dogs loves to goof off with his other dog and unwind. Best wishes to you in your new adventure. Maizey

Maizey of Sun Prairie


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MSALWILLIAMS's Photo MSALWILLIAMS Posts: 4,648
4/19/08 10:52 P

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We did crate training with our boys. It certainly helps housebreak them. Our boys are also not allowed upstairs. They sleep anywhere they want downstairs however. That is just because it's had to correct them when we don't know what they are doing.

I would say it would certainly be so much more rewarding with the basic training knowing that you little guy or gal is going to be providing much needed assistance to someone who will appreciate everything.

Taking it one day at a time.

If you are going to have a treat make sure you enjoy each bite.

My lowest was around 139...making my way back down and hopefully farther.


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BEEBOPALULA's Photo BEEBOPALULA Posts: 217
4/19/08 3:51 P

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It's been many, many moons since a 'little one' got me up in the middle of the night. I KNOW it's gonna happen, and I'm sure I'll get through it somehow. I'm looking on the bright side, to the many rewards of going forward with a GEB pup. They are trained to crates, sleep in crates, so the control factor is different than when they have the run of the house. Been there. Done that.

I 'inherited' a little Spitz once who loved to go out and roll in the mud, then run upstairs and shake himself off on my son's unmade bed. Omigosh!!! That dog soon learned that he was not welcome outside of the kitchen unless he was invited. He was never crated, but slept in a basket under the kitchen table (covered with a cloth that went to the floor) thereafter. One night he scared away a burgler who came in through our unlocked (we lived in the country) back door. He barked loudly! The thief disappeared with my camera, which was on the table, but nothing else. The storm door had been 'fixed' in an open position for a quick get away. Found my camera in the woods between our house and the next house the next morning. We were so glad that our dog was sleeping under the kitchen table.

Life with dogs is always interesting.
HUGS,
CAL

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MSALWILLIAMS's Photo MSALWILLIAMS Posts: 4,648
4/19/08 2:29 P

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Training dogs should always be with postive reinforcement just like with our children...but it can be very trying when they tear stuff up. I hope it goes well...and hopefully the one you get won't get you up at 2 or 3 am for a walk...our youngest pup did that for over a month.

Taking it one day at a time.

If you are going to have a treat make sure you enjoy each bite.

My lowest was around 139...making my way back down and hopefully farther.


 current weight: 170.8 
 
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BEEBOPALULA's Photo BEEBOPALULA Posts: 217
4/19/08 11:48 A

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Hello all!

I can certainly appreciate how you feel about not disappointing your daughter in 'giving up' a puppy. Your daughter is adorable and children are so vulnerable at that age. But then, there's vulnerability at every age.

I have 3 grandchildren, ages 9,8 and 5. They are looking forward very much to Grammy getting her puppy and I'm sure that they will love it very much and will miss it when it moves on. However, knowing that is the purpose at the outset will hopefully set the stage for moving on when the time comes.

Also, the training that these dogs get is different from regular obediance training, where dogs are taught, with reward and punishment, to obey. Guide dogs in this program are taught to 'figure things out for themselves' each step of the way. This is done with positive reinforcement and 'holding back' what the dog would consider to be the desired consequence for non-responsive behavior until they 'figure it out' and comply of their own free will, because they learn that cooperative behavior is more rewarding and satisfying than uncooperative behavior.

I believe that in learning about that way of training a dog, and why it is done that way (because when the dog is 'leading' a blind person, the dog must make the decisions, and they must be good decisions, rather than being always 'told' what to do) will be a valueable tool for my grands to learn and appreciate.

Letting go of something/someone you love is a natural part of life. Over the last several years they have lost 2 great grandparents, and recently they lost a lovely grey Persian cat, 14 years old, that had to be put to sleep due to increasing incapacity. This is not something that we 'prefer' to have happen, but it is a natural part of life. Of course, 'giving' a pet away is different than losing them to death. My 'hope' that is inherant in that act, the strong contribution to someone in need and the selflessness they will experience in letting that puppy go will all be positive life experiences when reflected upon as years go by.

Of course, I understand that this experience is not for everyone. Our life circumstances being as different as they are in each of our llives, the necessity of priorities dictate many of our choices. For me, this is the perfect time, and I'm thankful that it has come along. I've wanted a dog, but felt unsure about being able to have one over the long haul. Not only does this enable me to have a dog, but I get the benefit of regular exercise that will be ENJOYABLE both to me and the dog AND I get the opportunity to enhance the life of both the puppy and another person with a life-long partnership, beneficial to both (not to mention the life-enhancing effect it will have on my grands). It doesn't get much better than that, in my book!

I'm hoping, too, that as my puppy progresses, it may be able to go to their schools and teach lots of classmates about Guide dogs, what they do and how to 'NOT' approach them while they are working.

For me, the positives far outweigh the negatives! (Now JUST WAIT until you hear what I have to say when the puppy cries to go out in the wee hours of the morning! hahahaha I may have some other interesting things to share at 'that' point!)

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MSALWILLIAMS's Photo MSALWILLIAMS Posts: 4,648
4/19/08 9:12 A

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I can see how for you this process would be better.

I know my parents raised dogs when I was a child and I never got use to the puppies leaving.

Taking it one day at a time.

If you are going to have a treat make sure you enjoy each bite.

My lowest was around 139...making my way back down and hopefully farther.


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LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (254,675)
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4/19/08 8:56 A

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You are a very inspiring person to be ableto dothat. I wish I was that way. I had not really thought about it the way that you described it. I will have to dosome soul searching.

Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


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COOPSM's Photo COOPSM Posts: 24,881
4/19/08 5:51 A

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I will say it again....What an awesome thing you are doing!!!

~Beth~

~Look me up on facebook
www.facebook.com/bethglair

~Follow me at www.facebook.com/bethglairfit?ref=hl

Runners just do it - they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first. ~Author Unknown


CARRYLM's Photo CARRYLM SparkPoints: (25,573)
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4/18/08 10:04 P

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I think it is neat that you do this great service. My PA's husband is blind and has had a service dog for years. They got their first "pet" this winter - a chocolate lab. Me I wouldn't want all the house training. I am kind of spoiled with my old lady dog. She was so easy. Abby on the other hand hasn't been. But she will get there.

~Carry~
~~~~~


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BEEBOPALULA's Photo BEEBOPALULA Posts: 217
4/18/08 9:57 P

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I hear you, everyone - My first question at the first meeting was "How can you ever give the dog up?"

The answer is that you assume responsibility for the dog realizing that you are helping it to make an invaluable contribution to the life of a blind person who could not get along without the dog's help. At graduation, the puppy-raiser gets an invitation to the graduation ceremony, gets to meet the life-long partner for the dog, and take home a picture of the new 'team' suitable for framing. Also, you can have a new puppy 'on order' before you give up the present pup.

There are many families with children who do this. Many families have multiple dogs. Children adjust to whatever situation to which they are conditioned/encouraged/helped to adjust. There are many teens and young people who do the puppy-raising, with the cooperation of their parents.

As for myself, I am 65, live alone and at my age cannot, in good conscience, make the necessary 15 year committment to an animal. This way, I invest a specified amount of time (18 months) and in the process, get to help a new puppy go happily to a home where it will be loved, cherished, rewarded and a very valueable part of the new owner's life.

PLUS - I get to WALK that dog twice a day, rain or shine, no excuses! (That will be the puppy's very valueable service to me! :)

I just got an email from the program director who told me that I'd be assigned to a puppy litter very soon. The puppy I'll be getting has already been born. They carefully place individual pups in the home that is right for the pup/puppy-trainer, after the 'home visit'.

I'm excited!!!

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MSALWILLIAMS's Photo MSALWILLIAMS Posts: 4,648
4/18/08 8:45 P

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That's a great thing to do. I don't think we could do it...it would break my daughter's heart to "give" the puppy away. She wouldn't accept that the puppy isn't ours to keep.

Taking it one day at a time.

If you are going to have a treat make sure you enjoy each bite.

My lowest was around 139...making my way back down and hopefully farther.


 current weight: 170.8 
 
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COOPSM's Photo COOPSM Posts: 24,881
4/18/08 7:32 P

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wow---I give you credit!!! Good luck and what an awesome thing you are doing!!

~Beth~

~Look me up on facebook
www.facebook.com/bethglair

~Follow me at www.facebook.com/bethglairfit?ref=hl

Runners just do it - they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first. ~Author Unknown


LKWQUILTER's Photo LKWQUILTER SparkPoints: (254,675)
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4/18/08 6:56 P

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No, i HAVEN'T. i DON'T THINK i WOULD BE GOOD AT THAT CAUSE i GET TOO ATTACHED TO anything that we raise. When we moved to the farm (when I was a child), I didn't want anyone to kill my cow or chicken cause I named them. Mama decided that they would kill things when I was at my aunt's house. lol

Trust God, believe in yourself, and keep looking forward. You can't change the past. You are always special.

Linda Kay


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BEEBOPALULA's Photo BEEBOPALULA Posts: 217
4/18/08 6:23 P

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Hi!

I'll soon be getting my puppy, which will probably be a lab, from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind program. I will socialize the puppy with basic commands, proper house etiquette and lots of love with the support and training of the organization. Has anyone done this? I should be getting my puppy in June.

All the best to you all,
CAL

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