We’re coming up on three weeks of having Bodhi with us, and we are convinced we made a great choice with him. He may not have had great medical care or any training with his previous guardian, but he was well-loved, and that makes everything else relatively easy.
We are still working on being good seeing-eye people for him. At times I forget to notice a step or something on a walk that would go ignored by a seeing dog. I have to pay much more attention to what’s under our feet and in front of it so I can cue him about steps, or curbs, walls and objects to avoid. I’m getting better at it, but still miss sometimes. Bodhi seems to take it all in stride, but sometimes I feel like I should put a helmet on the poor guy!
Today was the first day of his beginning obedience class, and if ever there was a humbling experience, this was it. Bodhi has been so good with sit, down, stay, and come here at the house, and a little less good on walks, but still responsive. But put him in a big room he doesn’t know with all kinds of human and canine voices…well, the word over-stimulation doesn’t do justice to his response. Because he can’t see, that many noises had him desperate to check everything out. There wasn’t a cell in his body focused on me or what we were trying to do.
Fortunately, the trainer running the class knows that I know how to train dogs, and everyone went with the flow of this crazy, blind dog who was so excited he couldn’t sit still. We got a few sits and downs out of him over the hour, but it was a pitiful few. Some of our training is going to need to happen in places that have a lot of noise and new elements to get him used to focusing in the midst of it all. We’ll get there, but it was clear that there is much to do.
When the instructor got to the “watch me” command, we just looked at each other. “I have no idea what to suggest for Bodhi,” she said. I don’t know either, but Bodhi’s foster mom bought a couple books on working with blind dogs, so I’ll peruse them to see if there are some suggestions about how to tell a blind dog you want his attention.
At the end of class, we were both exhausted. I had to drop Bodhi off and go care for a three-month old Great Pyrenees pup…not exactly relaxing! Bodhi got to rest, and he has been conked out for a couple hours now.
(Your eyes are getting sleepy…)
On other fronts, his skin problems are improving enormously. He loves the weekly baths, and the antibiotic is helping too. The vet says the bacteria on his skin is nearly gone, so a couple more weeks of baths and antibiotic, and she thinks he’s good to go.
We’re still trying to figure out food portions. He was 79 pounds a couple weeks ago, but dropped to 76, and we’re giving him what we thought was a pretty good portion. He looks great at 76, but don’t want him to keep going down. Upping the food just a little bit.
Bodhi, like Butterscotch, is an amazingly contented and happy dog. Everything is fine with him. He’ll come sleep on the bed if invited, but otherwise he’s happy on his dog bed. He loves his walks, but when we’re home he’s just glad to be near us, whatever we’re doing. And if he can’t be with us at home for some period, he’s fine with that too.
We took him for his first walk on a local trail that we enjoy, and he met lots of people and dogs. He greets both beautifully, and he loved visiting a new space. There’s a nature trail in Harrisburg (Wildwood) that we need to take him to visit when it isn’t quite so beastly hot out. He’ll be over the moon.