We are now faced with a decision. What rules should we have in place for our pet Monte? Knowing that we are pursuing options to start the process over with a new baby guide dog will impact our final decision. Should we maintain the existing rules? or Allow him some flexibility?
Monte returned home with a basic understanding of our house rules. Not surprising because he was only gone one month and he was still in training mode. He remembers that he is not allowed in the kitchen, unless he is eating dinner or drinking water. He retreats from the kitchen with just "the look". He remembered that PLACE meant he was to lie down on his blanket. He will WAIT before entering/exiting doorways, crossing streets, and eating his food.
Unfortunately, he also remembers that the jingling of car keys mean we are leaving to go on an exciting adventure, however, now he has to stay home. This is the most difficult part of transitioning a guide dog in-training to a pet; I hope it is more difficult for us.
The command GO TO BED used to result in Monte jumping in the crate, lying down, and receiving a treat . Now it means lie down on pillows next to the bed. That is his treat. I doubt that it will ever mean jump up on the bed. If we give up our bed, then the transition will have been completed and he will have become the pack leader.
The biggest change will be when walking or running in the park. I trust him off leash and will allow him run free. This will significantly increase his exercise and probably reduce mine. One thing that will not change when walking is our continued efforts to work through critter distractions. I dread this because no one has been able to assist or offer effective advice. His one area of weakness is where he will have the majority of his interactions with the public.