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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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We've talked before about how hard the pandemic has been on us and our dogs because of reduced opportunities for socialization, but I never considered what guide dogs are going through. They're used to purpose-filled and stimulating lives filled with people, sights and smells, and now they're reduced to at-home carers. If our dogs are slightly bonkers with boredom, imagine what these poor dogs and poor owners are going through trying to stay sharp.
 

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Not only are they bored, but they are also forgetting their training because they aren’t going into the world anymore. This will be a major issue for all guide-dog owners.

I follow a blind person on Youtube who has a Mira guide dog (from Quebec) and she has had to retire her dog earlier, because it wouldn’t make sense to put him through training again just to work for a few months afterwards. These are hard times for so many people !
 

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I’ve been struggling with this and wonder what things will be like when things are more normal. I had Babykins trained to be a mobility support dog. I used to take her every when I ran errands and spent a lot of time training her to have appropriate behavior in stores.

Since the beginning of the pandemic I stopped going inside stores etc. More recently the only time she leaves the house is for nose work class or to go to empty parks to practice nose work.

I have no idea how she will behave when I feel comfortable going inside a business. i have a real concern that she will think she’s to search an area for hidden scent and not keep close to me and to automatically sit when I stop moving.
 

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I stopped taking Noelle out in public early in the pandemic because people struggled to physically distance from an adorable dog. Too many people wanted to say hi. Then I realized she would need to keep up her public manners. So, I struck a balance with going out in public on short outings once a week. What we haven’t done is go to a restaurant. I think the long down stay under a table is going to need to be retrained from the start. So many things I trained — elevators, crowds, restaurants, airplanes, hotels — have disappeared. All of this will need to be retrained.
 

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I’ll add to your list, Click, things like walking next to shopping carts, ignoring people and other dogs and walking on highly polished marble floors.
 
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