Yesterday we started our new route, this one is longer and a bit more difficult than the previous one. They called this week hell week, because this is where the dogs start to test you to see what they can get away with and the difficulty of the route can be stressful. When I heard about hell week, I thought to myself “oh i’ll be fine, how difficult can it be?” Well… I am stressed! Ilo is great, its really me that needs some improving. Because the route is longer, I tend to forget where my turns are. I’m also having a really hard time with the sidewalks on this route, they are flat and some of them are round corners which make them difficult to detect. I have to learn to stop when he does, but because the curve is so flat, I am thinking that I’m still on the sidewalk so I tell him to keep going, and I can’t do that! We did this new route twice yesterday, and twice again today. Today was a little better, but I again need to work on detecting the flat corners. Luckily my instructor partnered me with this other woman and her dog to do the walk, having someone with me to confirm or deny where my turns are is extremely helpful. One thing that I find extremely difficult and I really need to work on is lining myself up at the corner the right way. But I worked on it a lot today, and I am confident that I’ll be better tomorrow. I’m a little nervous about tomorrow, my partner and I are doing it solo, which means that the instructor will still be there, but he will be far away from us observing from a distance. At times when I keep making these mistakes, things can feel extremely discouraging. But I know that I need to be positive, I’m not from around here so it’s normal that I don’t know the town. My instructor said that at the end of the day they don’t really care if I make the wrong turn, all they really care about is that I know how to safely navigate with Ilo but if I could know the route that would be a plus haha. I know I’ll be OK, positivity is the key! I have an amazing dog, I just have to listen to him when he’s telling me something!
Aside from doing the route, we learned how to clean the dog’s ears, brush their teeth, and even how to give doggy massages! Ilo loved his massage! They recommend giving them massages at least once a day to wind down, plus it’s a great reward after working hard all day! Today’s stress becomes tomorrow’s strength, Wish me luck on my solo. Good night from me and Ilo!