I like my guide dogs to have lots of initiative. I like them to be able to make decisions and let me know what they think of decisions I make. I had one guide dog who was very non-confident in this way and it made me feel less confident too. I know that guide dogs with very high initiative can also be stubborn. It is part of the package. The three guides I've had with high initiative, Gwenny, Gia, and now Tulia have all been stubborn and showed it in different ways. I remember Gwenny's stubbornness but not always how she showed it. Gia would sit herself down and bump me with her head. "No. I don't want to turn left. We always turn right here." Or
"No. I hate the heat we are going to that air conditioned store not up the sidewalk."
Yesterday, my friend and her guide dog and Tulia and I went to this enclosed park so the dogs could run and boy did they run and play. They love playing with each other. When we left the park, Tulia did not want to go. She wouldn't guide me at all. Standing with feet planted, tail tucked in, or trying to turn me back to the park gate.
So, I took out my white cane. I figured I would heel her to the sidewalk and then do obedience and show her that when it was time to leave, it was time to leave. As soon as she saw the cane in my other hand, she worked away from the park.
"Oh how embarrassing. You're not using that white cane are you? Okay okay I'll work."
Later in the day, we reached a street corner where we almost always turnleft. I wanted to go straight. Tulia did not. She stood her ground. She was firm. I got her to sit and then told her forward. She slowly went forward and then more confidently but about ten feet later, we found the sidewalk was all full of construction.
Tulia stopped. I could almost hear her say,
"Ah. At the park you were right but right here I am right!"
ha ha ha!
I laughed, Turned us around, and went back to the corner and turned left as we usually did.
So we were both stubborn twice yesterday and once each of us was right in her decission.
I do love my high initiative girl even though it means lots of creative thinking from time to time.