Bradley has matured significantly since I last updated. By no means has he reached full maturity, but he's much closer! A few weeks ago, we started working with a trainer. It was long overdue! Not for lack of effort or action on my part, but I just couldn't find a trainer who would work with us on the level I needed. I'm so grateful to have found a trainer who has experience with service dogs! I'm very happy with her and have a lot of confidence that we'll make a lot of progress with her help.
Unfortunately, the trainer, Laura, isn't a guide dog trainer. That means I'm still going to have to find someone to help us once we get to the point of training guiding skills.
Right now, we're still working on public access skills. I expected to be much further in progress than we are at this point, but that's because I underestimated the time it would take Bradley to psychologically mature. As I said, it's getting better and ever since we started working with Laura, he's making a lot of progress.
The biggest problem we're having is my anxiety. He works well and is right on target during training sessions at home and at quiet locations, but the more activity there is going on, the more anxious I get, and he picks up on it. He then gets anxious himself, and things unravel from there. I really hope this is something I'll be able to get more control over the more I work with him. For now, I'm having Laura handle him during our training sessions at crowded places, and he does wonderfully with her. But then, as soon as she hands him off to me, my anxiety causes him to regress.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have any intention to have someone else train him and then expect to be able to work him myself. I do want to be involved in his training, and I take him out on my own on a regular basis.
I'll continue to update on our progress in this area.
In other news...
Joe and I are in the market to buy our first house! I've never been so excited. This is something we've both wanted for a long time. Renting is not fun and it's definitely not conducive to having a lot of dogs around like I'd like to. We have an appointment to see a house we've had our eyes on for a few months now that happens to be steps away from where we live now. Although we have yet to be inside it, we already have our hopes up about it, as the location is ideal for us. It's located in a suburban neighborhood, yet is within walking distance to stores and other businesses, which is great for me. It's a cute little red cape with an interior that needs updating, but has character and potential. We're hoping for the best! Otherwise, we'll have to keep hunting and we're tight on time- we want to close before November 30th so we'll be eligible for the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit.
It has been a long,long time
2 months ago