Just around the corner, near to where we live, is a Dog Guides Training Centre.
When on our walks with Ray, we often come across a small group of dogs in training which serves a dual purpose. It helps Ray to adjust to being close to other dogs (well disciplined ones!), and of course it helps the future guide dogs to ignore other animals.
This worked so well that last year, we entered in the Purina Dog Guides Walk which is a fundraising event for them. While we did have some reservations about walking Ray in close company with other dogs and their owners, we thought that if we were alert for possible complications and could therefore avoid them, he would be fine. We also thought that, being a walk for guide dogs, the event would include guide dogs who are very disciplined, and would be unlikely to include dogs that would disrupt the event.
We all set off and headed for downtown Oakville and Ray did not appear to have any problems. We were spread out along the sidewalk and he seemed quite happy to just “go with the flow”! He had dogs in front of him as well as behind him, but he just sauntered along with us.
At one point there was a water station which consisted of a number of dog bowls on the ground. We were amazed at the guide dogs who patiently waited for a water bowl to become available before getting their drink.
Ray has often taken another dog’s manner as the basis for how he behaves and when he has become clearly disturbed, it is generally because the other dog has either been too silly, or aggressive, or behaved such that Ray was alert for an issue. As much as we were amazed at the discipline of the guide dogs, we were in awe when we saw Ray do exactly the same! We were so surprised that he also took his cues from the guide dogs as to how to behave around the communal water bowls!
Even at the end of the walk, when people and dogs were just milling around, socializing, and enjoying refreshments, our beloved Ray was chilling out next to us just watching all the activity around him. We had a great time …………. all three of us! Hopefully we can do it again this year. Great job buddy!