by Patty L. Fletcher
Hi again! Thanks for coming back to read more of our work. We’re ever so glad to have you all along.
Today I’m going to talk about something that bothers me as a ‘Service Dog’ owner/handler quite a lot: ‘How Do You Know For Sure Your Pup Is Getting Enough Work?’
This is a hard one for me to be sure. First off Campbell’s a lab, so he is lazy by nature. He is not big into becoming energetic. He’s just as happy to lie in my lap and get a tummy rub as he is to go out and about town.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Once you get him going, he loves his work, and does a super great job of it. However, like I say, Laze-A-Dor is not an understatement. It very well may be a breed.
I try to keep a healthy balance of work and play in Campbell’s life.
I try to work him, in harness, some place, at least 3 days a week, if not more. Some weeks we do more, and some we do less, but the majority of the time, he gets at least 3 days in harness and some type of work.
It could be something as simple as a walk around the block, with a couple of relief time stops thrown into the mix, or it could be a trip up to the bus stop, over to Food City, shopping, and back with groceries in hand.
It could be a walk to the corner store for beer and snacks, or it might be over to the Friendship Connection Peer Support Center for an afternoon of visiting.
Then there are days like today, when I wake thinking we’ll go grab breakfast, then hit the library, only to realize that I’m not having a great day, feeling kinda bad physically, and that I need to just stay home.
Knowing that Campbell hasn’t worked much this week, and that tomorrow is the last day for the bus until Monday, this bugged me all the day long, but there was nothing to do for it, and when I became sick to my stomach later in the afternoon, I was glad I’d listened to my body.
Campbell and I have been on several good sniff fests around the yard, and this has allowed him to burn off energy during the day. Even though he doesn’t get ramped up often, it is still good for him to be active throughout the day.
He has been obedient and minded his business all the day for me. He didn’t even complain when somehow he got shut into his crate; only barked quietly when I called him to me, so I’d know he was stuck.
I am very fortunate that I had the type of training and reassurance I did as to how to listen to, and understand the signs and signals that my dog sends me. If he truly gets to needing a workout, his behavior will let me know.
What will he do to alert me he’s having issue?
- Start being more mischievous
- Stop listening to my every day commands, and become stubborn
- Scavenge food from the floor, or sneak it from inappropriate places like the dining room table when no one’s looking.
Campbell is, after all, a dog. The fact that he happens to have had a great education is simply a plus.
So, handlers out there, what say you? Do you worry about a healthy balance, and if so how do you combat what I find to be an ongoing and ever changing issue?
I’d love to have your feedback, so be sure to let me know what you think.
Until next time, this is Patty and Campbell Lee Seeing Eye Dog saying, “May harmony find you, and blessid be.”
About the Author
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport, TN, where she worked for nine years at CONTACT–CONCERN of Northeast Tennessee, Inc. She now writes full time. Her autobiographical book is Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (C 2014). There, she tells how she obtained her first guide dog from The Seeing Eye® in Morristown, NJ: what motivated her, the extensive training she had, and the good friends she made.
For more details about her and her book, including where to purchase the book in e-book or print format go to: www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/. To see my blog and newly updated website go to http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/.
For more details about her and her book, including where to purchase the book in e-book or print format go to: www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/
To see her blog and newly updated website go to http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/.