I did it! I got a dog. A big beautiful 13 month old yellow lab. He's wonderful, smart, and everything I hoped he'd be :)
As I mentioned previously, we adopted him from Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Here is a picture of the trio first meeting him! He took to them SO QUICKLY and they loved him from the get-go! But who he really loves is ME I sat down on the ground and he climbed right in to my lap and began to give me wet slobbery dog kisses. I normally hate that from my dogs, but there is just something special about this dog. After a conversation with one of his trainers, we learned what his "issues" were, I took him for a walk and in about 30 minutes we all decided that he was a perfect fit for our family!
He's 13 months old, his name is Matthew (not sure if we'll be changing it) and he weighs 80 pounds. He's a big dog and going to get bigger and I LOVE IT!! If you remember from my earlier post, SE Guide Dogs has VERY strict standards for their guide dogs. Matthew had 2 issues that prevented him from going forward with the guide dog training. 1) easily distracted by squirrels and 2) doesn't like other dogs getting up in his business. In other words, he's the dog version of my son. Both of those issues cause him to lurch when leading, so he flunked out of leader training! LUCKY US!!
They gave us a list off all the commands he knows (come, sit, stay, heel, go busy, down, etc....) and said he had no issues with the water meaning that he won't go crazy trying to break through the gate to go swimming in our lake, nor will he be too timid at the beach dog park. But he won't be going there anytime soon. I have to work with him on those personal space issues with other dogs. When he got home he explored every inch of our fenced in backyard. We have about 1/3 of an acre fenced, so perfect for a busy dog!
They also told me he hadn't been trained to play fetch. I knew that was going to be my first task when we got him home. Haley taught him and it seriously took 1 throw.
Last night I took him on a little test run and he did great! SE Guide dogs mentioned that he wasn't used to heeling right next to someone because he was on a puppy lead (the blue strap around his chest in the pic above) and they are trained to walk in front of their person. I got him a new collar and began training him right away how to heel next to me, and he caught on like no one's business! We'll practice again today, but I fully expect he'll have it down by the end of the week. Running has to go slow, though. He's still growing and they said that until he's about 18 months old to not go more than like 3 miles with him or I could damage his growth plates. But walking as much as we want is fine, so we'll probably alternate between some run/walks while he gets used to it and gets a little bit older.
I got my dog. I am so happy.