Hello, welcome to the Journey…….
What an exciting new journey I have been on…. a whole two weeks on an OST (onsite training course). You maybe wonder through the blog; the charity or dog’s name isn’t said this will be released after three months.
Getting my successor assistance dog who I cannot name yet, it was sad, beautiful Scully retired but she has retired life of luxury with family members after the first couple of weeks I can go a visit her and give her a massive hug, she just needs to settle in first.
What is an OST?
It is where you travel to a centre that trains assistance dogs and learn to work with your new partner, you stay in lovely accommodation provided by the centre and you have your own bedroom/bathroom facilities. There are a few other people on the course with you and a shared kitchen where the staff can make you lovely meals or if you’re like me and very certain diet requirements you can take your own food, and have it cooked for you.
Travel and Tiredness
For me there was a long travel to get to the OST this can made me tired, when arriving at the centre you are shown to your room and it was time for a rest in the room the trainer had put out all of my dogs equipment out which felt really nice and welcoming and then had some tea before we unpacked. At this point I was excited to get going so it was hard to sleep but remembering from the last course it can be very tiring and sleep is going to be your best friend!
We met the trainer again, we met on matchday a few months back, if you would like me to blog about match day or assessment day leave a message in the comments. We got to know each other a bit and did some theory about our dogs, I wasn’t expecting to see the dogs until the afternoon, so it was a lovely surprise when I got to see the dog on the morning. Once lunch arrived the dogs and we went off for a little rest. Into the afternoon we got to see the dogs again find out their routines and have a play which was really nice, we also practiced some settling whilst learning the door routines, I found my dog already knew them very well but waited for me to catch up. Then it was tea the days goes does so quickly, on the first evening the dogs go back to kennels and you get to have a good sleep before Tuesday when the dog will stay in the room with you and be onsite with you at all times after this point.
At assessment day and match day the dog has already been taught a lot of tasks that you have asked for I asked for opening and closing doors, talking my hoody/clothes off finding a backpack and getting items off shelves in the shops, can you believe a dog can do all of that!? On the course you are taught how to train tasks and aftercare can help too! Find out in future blogs what we are learning and exciting things we have been up to.
What does a general day look like?
Get up and be ready for 7ish toileting the dog is 7.30 them give them breakfast and have your breakfast. You toilet the dogs at 9 just before the session begins, theory about your dog (you can have breaks when you require them) then it’s on to task work, my favorite was ‘bag find it’ I keep medical and stoma supplies inside so it can be important to have the bag brought to me, my dog loves this task so much! Then time to toilet your dog before lunch. Head over to the kitchen and settle your dog down and a lovely, a great chance to have a chat and remember to ignore other people’s dogs, even though it can be really hard! Following all routines as this is very important in the dog’s training. After lunch its free run time, our dogs love to play and get plenty of chance to go this with each other yourselves and other local dogs on the course, this carries on when you come home.
One question I am asked is are our dogs allowed to play? Yes, when on free time, our dogs love to meet and play with other dogs. You will know if we are working our dogs will be in a jacket it is always polite to ask if you are unsure though. Our dogs are a massive part of our life and independence.
I found you become good friends with the people on the course, you are all going thought the same things and support each other.
Thanks for reading if you have any questions please leave them in the comments, if you know of any accessible walks or inaccessible walks, shops or places you have visited please a leave a review at www.differencenortheast.org.uk