I had a rough start this morning. Favor had me up at 5 am, poking me in the eye with that pointy nose of hers and I'm really starting to feel stretched after 2 weeks of stress, navigating different environments, and not sleeping well in a really hard bed.
Thus I hit my breaking point for a mini meltdown after being corrected on some stuff with leash guiding. We went out to the break area and because it was raining, Greg had warned me that she can be Miss Priss about the rain at times. So because she had been at Greg’s house while he trained her, she was not fond of going busy, busy on concrete anymore. Thus I had Favor on a spot that was in the grass, but covered with small rounded gravel for her to go on. Unfortunately, this spot was not mostly covered by the overhang that keeps the students dry as they busy their dogs.
So we headed out and I admit, with the vision I have, I tend to push my dog off the curb and it’s something I have to constantly work on/remind myself of when we are out and about and leash guiding. So in approaching the break area, she refused to go up onto the rocks as it was raining and they were wet too. One of the trainers came by and in my feelings, laid into me about her doing what I’ve been teaching her and that I was causing her to balk. The whole conversation caught me completely off guard and was frustrating too as here I was about to head home the next day and this was the first time I was hearing something about incorrectly leash guiding and in the manner it was done, felt like I was being talked to like a 2 yr old. I headed back to the room and took off my coat and stuff and headed down to breakfast, honestly just fuming in frustration.
I ate quickly and silently and headed back to my room to wait for time to head out. Unfortunately, my watch had broken unbeknownst to me, so I was waiting and surfing the web when Greg knocked on the door to go. I asked him if I was leash guiding wrong and he looked at me funny and asked why I asked. Poor guy, I unloaded. I know the trainers are used to the emotional breakdowns that the handlers all seem to go through at one point or another, even multiple times as you hit those highly emotional times during training, but still I was just blubbering at him what had happened and what did I need to do so she’d continue to work properly and I knew it wasn’t just this, but I was also not sleeping well and missing my kids to no end too. He re-assured me that I was doing fine and talked me through it and such and promised to work with me on it that afternoon. So we are good now though and only just a little while longer and will be headed home and recuperate from these long 2 weeks. :)
We went out to the van and loaded up to head to Lowes. Greg and I went in first and worked all through Lowes on leash guiding and how to hold my hand on the leash. I had gotten in the habit with Rei to hold the leash on the snap and especially felt like I needed to do so with Favor since she was pulling so hard and it felt like she’s pull the leash out of my hand.. Then Greg worked with my other two classmates and turned me loose to walk the whole store. After we finished there, we came back to the foundation and turned the three dogs loose in the free run area. :) They had a blast running and chasing after each other and just tear around the enclosure grabbing at toys all over the place. Once we get back to the Foundation, I will be headed down to the office area to talk to Greg and go through my going home packet here in a few minutes. :)
Honestly- downright exhausted.... We did class picture, individual pictures, and then I was asked to do a testimonial interview video for GDF to use for promotion. The office staff all wanted to see Favor since Miss S has been hanging out upstairs with one of the staff. Also since the two of them are the first of a new program, Favor is the first German shepherd/collie cross to graduate. So everyone knew about Favor and were interested in seeing her. :) I also gathered addresses/contact info of fellow classmates, then was my last amazing dinner from Kevin, the amazing chef there at GDF. Then after dinner, we called Favor's puppy raiser, Judy G. who is from Charlotte, NC. It was good to talk to her and we talked for a good while! We were able to exchange contact information and I sincerely hope that we can keep in touch as I really enjoy sharing what my dogs are doing with thier raiser, so that they can keep up with the amazing dog they've raised. :)
After getting back to my room, I put the last of the clothes in the laundry and am going to finish packing what I can and call it a night! We leave out of here about 9am tomorrow morning and start the trip towards home!