Every guide dog owner can tell you of a time when they have had to deal with SDS (stubborn Dog Syndrome).
A good gd is well trained, a great gd is able to problem solve and think outside the training. But no matter how good or great, there is a key factor that many people forget, they are still dogs and as such have a very active mind of their own….. Many a gd owner who has had a retriever, will tell a tale or two about their stubborn streak, their dislike of walking back on themselves, so if you forget something in the supermarket aisle, you have to con them by walking in a round route down the next aisle to get back to where you actually started.
This stubborn streak can also come out when you do the same walk, say to the corner shop that they do each and every day, all gd’s retrievers or not are dogs and have a very loveable and funny sense of humour.
This evening on my way home from a friends, after a very stubborn day from my gd I was reminded that she is my guide, my protector and that she has an extra sense, that even with full sight I would never possess.
Tonight my puppy saved my life.
We were heading home, Vicky had taken me to the crossing that we had used so many times before, I pressed the button and awaited the beep to say we could walk. The beep started, but she refused to move. She was in fact backing up, as if to says he wanted to go back where we had come from. So of course, I corrected her and tried to move her forward. It was in that milli-second that the truth came out.
The crossing was still beeping, yet I heard and felt the air where two rather loud, turbo charged cars whooshed right in front of me.
If she had let me cross, we could have been severely hurt if not worse.
I was so shaken that I just sat down on the path and grabbed her in a big hug. A women walking on the opposite side of the road had seen the whole thing and rushed to see that we were ok……
We were both fine, although I was a little shaken by what could have been.
Guide dogs are trained not to walk in front of cars when they have their engines on, unless on a designated crossing, but it is never the gd’s responsibility to say when it is safe to cross the road, that is always down to the owner. They are trained to stop for cars and bikes and not to cross, but as I said as her human, it is always my responsibility to say when to cross or not, because some dogs loose the ability to judge traffic if they don’t use it. Which I can say since training Vicky has only had to do it once (not bad in 4 years!)
But I couldn’t even hear these cars approaching the lights, a sound of gear changes that I have come to understand to tell when a car is slowing down, and judging by the speed in which they’d went past, they hadn’t been close by before the lights had changed.
I have heard stories of this happening before, one Guide dog was even awarded a medal for doing the very same thing for his owner on a busy street. But I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that my very own Vicky was capable of this and had as a result saved us both a lot of pain.
Tonight I am a very proud gd owner & will think twice before arguing with her at the crossing.