The curious case of the downstairs toilet

Welcome back one and all.

As any guide dog owner will know, one of the main ways our dogs are able to do what they do, in terms of finding somewhere for us, is because we have shown them a route we need them to take. After one or two runs of this route our dogs will have a reasonable idea of where we are going and what we need them to do.

Of course our dogs are always keen to try new routes, and will always do their very best when they are on an unfamiliar route. But even with that knowledge, I was surprised by the skill, and awareness of his surroundings that Commando displayed when a walk on un-familiar territory, at College, was needed.

Commando and I spend most of our time at College on the first floor, but often go downstairs for the library, and in recent weeks, to one of the computer rooms. Naturally, once Commando knew where those places were, he would take me there and will let me know when we had reached our destination.

Since we are upstairs most of the time, we have familiarised ourselves with the location of certain facilities on that floor, and I am happy to say that of course Commando always finds them without any problems.

My surprise came when we were working in the computer room down stairs, and a call of nature needed answering. So, thinking it good exercise for us both, Commando and I made to head back up stairs. However on route I was informed that there were facilities down stairs that would do nicely. Knowing that Commando always likes to learn a new route whenever possible I decided that we would head for the downstairs option.

I had been given the basic directions of the corridor that we needed, and we found it without any problems. We then proceeded down it, with Commando doing his usual fine work, and not moving too fast on a new route, as he is occasionally prone to do.

So, there we were moving nicely down this new corridor, when Commando suddenly made for the right, and stopped! Thinking that perhaps something had caught his attention, I was about to encourage him onward, when I was informed that we had arrived at the door we needed...

Needless to say, I was very surprised. We had never been down that corridor before, so it was completely new ground to Commando and somehow my boy had known what we were looking for, and had led me straight to it!

Needless to say, there was a great deal of praise heaped upon Commando, who I think was quite flushed (sorry folks, couldn't resist it) with success over his achievement, and of course the little kibble, as a reward, didn't hurt either.

I am often surprised and humbled by how amazing our dogs are, but this one really did take me by surprise. Perhaps the corridor may have looked familiar, but there was no disputing that it was new to us both. Given the likely wide choice of doors it seems unlikely that he just picked it at random and got lucky.

I suppose it's just one of those things that Commando will keep to
himself, and be a source of constant curiosity for me.


clare, 7:37pm Thu 22 May 2014:

Well done Commando, clever boy!

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Craig And Commando

Craig is in his early thirties and he is completely blind. His blog details the day-to-day adventures he experiences with his first guide dog, Commando.

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