Musician On The Net – Information and tips

Information and advice for passionate musicians

How my guide dog has changed my life. 

I have been out and about today with my superb guide dog Gypsy so just had to write about how much easier it is with her around. Until I trained with Gypsy 4 years ago I would not have had the guts to attend any piano teaching events. Just getting around those huge places can be a challenge even with a dog! 
I will write about how I plan my journey and the way Gypsy helps.  
First of all, all I work out where the location of the event is using the gps on my phone. I then work out the best way to get there. Since most of the time I have to go some where in so city, that’s one or more training then a cab the rest of the way. I also try to find out via google earth and asking people if there is grass etc near by, so that I can toilet my dog somewhere. 
Once I start my journey, I’ll ask the staff at the train to let the driver know where I am getting off. I have a staff member meet me at my stop if it has staff there, and ask them to direct me to a cab. I tell Gypsy to follow the person. 
Once I get to my event it is very easy with the dog. I just try to interact with people as best I can, get the dog to follow others if I need to go somewhere. Sometimes my dog will remember details, like where I was seated, where the door is etc. It’s brilliant! No more fumbling about! 
I can teach Gypsy a hotel in less than a day. First I hang something on my hotel room door, like a bit of string, so I know we are in the right room. The first time I go there, I will give Gypsy a treat and praise her. She will remember the next time. Same with the lift. I will tell Gypsy to “find the lift”. She might take me other places, but often now she will get it first go. But when she does, I will give her a treat. She will remember it from then on and every time I stay at that place. I also ask the staff to help me around, but after a few days Gypsy will take me most places. 
I used to get lost in hotels etc but not so much any more. I know eventually Gypsy will find something I can use as a landmark get back to where I had too. 
There’s only one disadvantage with having a guide dog. And that it has to find places to toilet the Dog, which can be a challenge and some times a little embarrassing because you have to ask people. Most of the time there is plenty of grass, but some times its just bark or dirt, which Gypsy may or may not toilet on. 
O, and since I know people are probably wondering how I know if she needs to go? I take Gypsy out every 3 or 4 hours. She will not do her business until I give her a command to do so.  
I this gives you all a small window into travelling with a guide dog. 

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