Last week I was approached by an unusual amount of people thinking that it was terrible to train a dog to work and that they have horrible lives being the "slaves" of humans. So, I decided to write a post about a day in the life of Fullerton a Guide Dog Puppy in Training and his (slightly crazy) puppy raiser. So, for those of you who stumble upon this blog who are unaffiliated with guide/service dogs, I hope this post can help you understand more about what all of us puppy raisers do. :D Enjoy!
March 16, 2009: A typical day in the life
Our day begins early when the alarm clock goes off at 4:40am, making a shrill buzzing/beeping noise.
Fullerton has been sleeping loose in my room for the last six days and is very good about staying on his bed until the alarm sounds, but he seems to think that when the alarm goes off it is an invitation to make a flying leap onto my bed and SIT on my FACE. (Yes, my glorious day began with the most annoying sound in the world and a puppy butt ON my face! I think he will go back to tie-down snoozing for a while longer.) After I got my 42 pound, six month old off my head I slowly flop out of bed and wander down the hall with my bouncing puppy in tow, I did my business and then put in my eye drops in. (I always sleep in my contacts *slaps hand* So my eyes are all sore and dry in the morning.)
Then we walk back to my room (still with the bouncy craziness of the puppy, I cannot fathom how he has that much energy so early in the morning. . . *sigh*) I put on some flip-flops and grab Fullerton's leash. I opened my door give him the okay (yes, he waits for permission before going out the door, the dog can't just rush out when it wants because the blind person can't see him exit, and it is just safer that way. Imagine if the dog runs out the front door and into traffic, a dead dog is not a happy dog) Fuller races up the stairs and waits for me at the top, when I get up the stairs, I clip on his leash and we head into the darkness so he can do his business. I clean up after him and put his deposit in the garbage can and we head back inside. Fullerton starts chewing on a bone while I change into my workout clothes. When I as ready Fullerton goes into the kennel. I bid him farewell and assure him that I had not forgotten about his breakfast and then I leave for the gym. I work out for an hour (1/2 of Cardio and 1/2 Weight Lifting) and then go home.
When I get back from the gym I let Fullerton out of the kennel and he begins his bouncing around with joy in the return of his long lost mommy. We return to the bathroom while he waits patiently (or not so much) for me to shower. When I get out we go back to our room and it is FINALLY time for the starving puppy to have breakfast. I take his bowl, scoop out two cups of glorious kibble and add water. (Bounce, bounce, bounce goes the puppy) Fullerton then sits quietly and does some puppy-push-ups (sit, down, sit, down) then I give the okay to eat (the dogs wait to eat too, it's nice to not have a dog jumping in your face for food and knocking the bowl out of your hands) He eats like he will never eat again and then goes back to chewing on his toy while I get ready. When I was done getting ready I take Fullerton out into the yard to do his business again and then unclip his leash so he could blow off some steam.
In the one above you can see the white stripe on his tail. I have been trying to get a decent picture of it for a while and it finally showed up this morning. :)
When he was tired I brought him back inside and we played FIR Hide-and-go-seek (Food Induced Recall or "come") He loves this game, I have him stay put somewhere and then I go hide and call him and he has to come find me. He is a good seeker. :D "I found you mommy!"
After that we went back down to my room, and I got my stuff together for work and Fullerton went into the kennel. I said "goodbye" and told him to be a good boy. (Unfortunately I can't take Fuller to work with me) and I left for work.
During my lunch break, I go home, give him some water, give him a potty break, and let him loose in the yard for a few minutes. Then we went back inside and practiced "go to bed" (Fullerton is doing pretty well, but not doing as well at it as I had hoped, but he is getting there)
Then he goes back into the kennel and I go back to work. When I get off, I come home take him potty again and then we go for a short walk. (Look at that loose leash action)
When our walk is over I get ready to go to school. Then we get into the car and drive to school. When we got to the parking lot I get out and grab my stuff out of the car and then got the boy dressed. (I have him get his front feet on the seat so I don't have to bend over to dress him. He is normally on the floor when driving)
First we go to math. Fullerton finds math very boring and unimportant and takes every opportunity to groan VERY loudly when the class is nice and quiet. (Fullerton under my chair in class, being a very good boy)After math we go out to our potty spot. I always have him potty behind this statue (called Infinity) when we are at school, jacket off of course. :D
After he does his business we go to English, my English class is a discussion class and it gets pretty noisy in there so I let Fullerton chew on a bone while we are in there. He enjoys English.
After school we trek back to free parking and get back in the car. Usually I run an errand or two. Yesterday it was to the Orem Fitness Center to get my new pass. (I lost my other one and they are getting sick of looking me up every day.) Then we come home and Fullerton eats dinner (with Panache)
After another potty session we play an intense game of tug. Which Fullerton enjoys!
Then we relax while I do my homework, Fuller chews on his toys or goes to bed, and looks so cute doing it.
For those of you who made it through this whole post, Congratulations! I hope that gave a little insight into the day of a "working puppy"
And for our puppy raiser/walker/trainer friends out there, we would like to hear what a day in your life is like. :) Have fun!