Sorry, no action shots today, so here's a random cute Alfie picture for you!
Alphini and I spent the morning working in downtown Austin today. It's neat to see him starting to grow up a bit, acting responsibly, and doing much of his curb work without needing constant reminders. There was a lot of construction going on downtown today...the stench of hot tar combined with deafening machinery for a nasty sensory overload. I don't think he liked it, but he was calm, and actually seemed curious about what the workers were doing. We practiced a bunch of finds and got to work on "overs" and "ins" as we negotiated signs propped up in the middle of the sidewalk. His crowd work was pretty good today, and he didn't do anything really wrong although we had an embarrassing moment when he sat on a candy wrapper and it stuck to his rear end! I had to help him get it off, poor guy. As we worked back to my car we approached a coffee shop where we've stopped before. I told him to find a seat, thinking he'd get me the bench on the sidewalk. Instead he wanted to take me to a seat inside the coffee shop! Maybe he thought the air conditioning in there would be nice, I don't know. Of course I made him go back and take me to the nearest seat instead (like he's supposed to). He's still a bit too assertive about thinking he gets an equal vote in where we go!
But though I tend to focus on all the little areas that could use improvement, I'm actually starting to see that my little pup is growing into a nice dog. Of course that strikes me the most when we're out around other (pet) dogs, like the other day at the dog park. Alfie was playing and socializing, when some of the dogs started to chase a squirrel. He's never been allowed to chase anything, so I don't think he quite understood what the excitement was about, but all the same I called him to me and he came right over. I praised him, and off he went again. Then later he picked something up in his mouth and I asked him to drop it, which he did immediately. A lady who was watching nearby just gave me this amazed look and said, "Wow, my dog would NEVER do that!" The dog park is the only place I seem able to go "anonymously" so I didn't let on about Alf's secret identity as a guide dog and the countless hours of work I've put into making sure he will do just that! I also have a healthy awareness that we're far from perfect...sigh...but wow, it's nice when you can see some of that effort start to pay off!