Parked

Uschi in harness, lying on the walkway in the rose garden at Schenectady Central Park

Spent the afternoon at Central Park with Cindy. I’ve rarely been to the park so it was quite lovely to take Uschi on her first visit. We had a pleasant enough time — and when I have a chance I’ll be sure to share more photos — but I’m far too exhausted. We walked all over and I’d already had quite a busy morning, but mostly I’m drained from dealing with Uschi. She was just incredibly uncooperative.

Uschi guiding me up an ancietn set of stairs at Schenectady Central ParkThis was her first trip and so the foreignness of the park itself was a mild distraction. I really don’t think she even equated the environment as one where she was working because while she wasn’t blatantly so, I found her guiding a bit sloppy. Not to mention that she’s historically shown a varying degree of distraction from other animals! She was interested in the Canadian geese and ducks swimming around the pond when we first entered the park, but her focus was easily turned back to work.

Me sitting with Uschi in front of a bed of roses at Schenectady Central ParkHowever, she was incredibly bothered by the other dogs we passed by. I was completely unprepared for how dramatically she would react, though it was very inconsistent. One dog she raised her hackles at, another she barked at, still others she gave a low growl to. Then she all but ignored two more that we came across in the rose garden. After that I thought perhaps she’d gotten her distraction issues out of her system, so when she nearly yanked me off my feet to lunge at another dog I admit that I’m sort of shocked I didn’t completely lose my shit. It was thoroughly frustrating. And I don’t feel that her attention was ever completely on me during the entire time at the park. The most puzzling thing was that after all of that oddness, she walked out of the park almost completely without issue. We passed two squirrels even and they barely elicited a response at all.

In the end I’m mostly aggravated with myself for expecting her first park trip to be without incident. Especially since I don’t have the luxury of an almost daily walk through a park like I did with Yara. Something that would most certainly benefit Uschi greatly given her specific target of distraction. However, I have been very mindful of her dog distraction and thought we had made a lot of progress with it so I’m rather bummed at how much of a step backward today was with that.

Comments

  1. It sounds like she had a bad day. I know what having a dog distracted guide is like, and it is NOT fun. Can you go to the park more often to try and work on her distraction?

    • Distractions in general are a challenge. This one is just frustrating in its inconsistency.

      Unfortunately, there’s a major highway situated between the park and my house so even though it’s relatively close by it’s not easily accessible. I do have plans to take her to the park again, but for now I’ll have to find some less inconvenient ways to work on this distraction issue.

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