[nagdu] blazing trails with tails.

Nicole Torcolini ntorcolini at wavecable.com
Sun Jul 21 18:01:07 UTC 2013

Okay, I'll take a swing at this one.

First, there's not just one right way to go about learning a new area, and
different techniques work for different situations. I think that the most
important part is to carry a cane with you, even if you have a sighted
person helping you. What you do from there usually depends on what you are
trying to learn and what resources are available . For me, the three choices
are usually just use the dog and go for it, use the cane while leading the
dog on the leash, or go sighted guide with someone. When I went to college,
someone usually came to teach me the routes. However, this became less and
less frequent as classes were in buildings from previous quarters or a new
building was close enough to one that I already knew. Trying to learn the
routes on my own or ask people probably would not have worked very well as
people would probably have given directions for bikes and not really known
the names of places. This is one of the problems that I often encounter.
Although I know the name of my destination and surrounding places, sighted
people don't know the names, or they know them by other names. For example,
the classes were often listed by building number and room number. The
buildings had names as well as numbers, but these names were not listed on
the schedules. Most people either did not know the name or knew the name but
not the number. Finally, my exploring technique of taking out the GPS and
just going probably would not have worked as there were several bike/walking
paths that the GPS did not know were valid for that use, so a route would
end up being much longer than necessary if you asked the GPS. Once I learned
part of the campus, I would sometimes explore new places with dog and GPS. I
have also found it useful to have a compass on hand, which is a built in
feature of the iPhone, but a good old fashioned Braille one is nice as well.
Finally, if you are good at interpreting tactile maps, trying to get your
hands on a Braille map ahead of time can sometimes make things easier, but,
of course, this is not always an option, and, even if it is, maps are not
for everyone.
As for letting your dog lead the way, this has its pros and cons. JMHO, it
is the responsibility of the handler to know where you are, and, if you get
lost, it is not the fault of the dog. At my college campus, there were a lot
of wide paths with grass on either side and grass islands with rounded edges
in the middle. It was quite easy for a guide dog to follow the edge of one
of the gently turning islands and end up going the wrong direction. Also,
sometimes, your dog thinks that he/she knows the right way, but that is not
always true. Or, sometimes, you will be trying to go to one location, and
the dog thinks that you are trying to go somewhere else. That being said,
the dogs can be really good at finding their way, so it just depends.


-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Tami Jarvis
Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2013 10:26 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] blazing trails with tails.


Yeah, letting the dog take over and find the way is super fun. If your ego
is up to admitting that the dog is clearly smarter than you are. 
/lol/ Out here in the small town, Mitzi's choice of routes will take her by
friendly kitties. People here can have indoor/outdoor kitties who happily
lounge about their yards or on the sidewalks. Not all love random passing
poodles as much as she thinks they do, but they're accustomed to dogs and
passersby in general so don't disappear before she gets to them. I think one
got in a swipe the other evening, which hurt her feelings and nothing
else... Poor misunderstood poodle. I hope she got the message that sticking
her nose at kitties is not a totally good idea, though. /smile/

i still seem to be sans iPhone, but it's not too critical while we're out
here. I'm hoping for an iPad soon, since I won't need a data plan to use it
for many things. I did play with my friend's a few weeks ago...

Do you ever find yourself arguing with VoiceOver and Siri at the same time?
I can just see me going along keeping up my usual patter at the dog (a habit
I cannot break even knowing I must seem to be a nutter), then asking Siri a
question, then arguing with my phone... /lol/

Happy random trails!


On 07/21/2013 10:06 AM, Doug Parisian wrote:
> Tami, I have always applied similar strategies to yours and now, with 
> my IPhone and the Blindsquare GPS, I have one more amazing tool which 
> also protects me against asking Jo public for information which my 
> IPhone usually gives more accurately.  Even Siri is helpful, I simply 
> ask the amazing question "where am I," and get enough information so 
> that if I need more, I can make my question to the panicked bystander as
clear as possible.
> Also, I've always trusted my dogs who often give cues if they happen 
> to remember a particular location.  Just for fun, I often allowed my 
> dogs to choose their own route (with limits of course) if I'm just 
> going out for a walk as an end in itself.  It's quite neat when my 
> dogs get something right when I screw up; the tail goes nuts.  Only 
> thing is, sometimes they've found locations of past girlfriends, 
> lovers etc about which I'd much rather forget.
> I like to walk a lot through wooded areas where there no sidewalks and 
> some roads less traveled therein can be difficult to pick out, but not 
> for a seasoned dog.
> Doug: Happy tails to you!
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tami Jarvis" <tami at poodlemutt.com>
> To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users"
> <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2013 11:02 AM
> Subject: Re: [nagdu] blazing trails with tails.
> : Daniel,
> :
> : I do wonder about all those sighted people just hanging around 
> waiting
> : for us to ask them for help everywhere we go since we can't figure
> : things out ourselves and they have nothing better to do... Sheesh!
> :
> : I just get up and go. Did that with my cane, do that with my dog. It
> : works. I do find out as much as I can about a new area or new route,
> : whether through internet research or by asking questions of people I 
> may
> : know in the area. It can help to know how the area is laid out, how 
> the
> : streets run, etc. In a new city, figuring out the naming conventions 
> is
> : helpful, too. And I'm not afraid to ask for directions along the 
> way, or
> : to ask an innocent bystander the  name of the street I'm on if I've
> : forgotten to count blocks, stuff like that. I have a fairly good 
> sense
> : of direction, which helps, although when it goes haywire, then so do I.
> : Fortunately, for those times, I also enjoy unexpected adventures, so
> : long as they don't make me horribly late for something. My poodle 
> guide
> : is also great at finding any number of useful landmarks of various
> : types, so I love that. She does get a little put out if I go awry 
> and
> : end up doing a lot of back and forth trying to get back to the last
> : place I actually knew where I was. /smile/
> :
> : Heading out for new horizons is a time it's good to have a pocket 
> cane
> : of some sort for added information gathering. Also, if you have 
> hearing,
> : that's very helpful in picking up things about your location from
> : context... Maybe I'm being too obvious there. I know folks without
> : hearing, or not much of it, who can sally forth and conquer, but I 
> have
> : no idea how they do it. I use mine a lot, and also use the clicker 
> for
> : echolocation, even with my cane. Don't know when I started doing 
> that
> : during/after the training process, or how it didn't confuse my dog, 
> but
> : there we go. When the wind is blowing or I have a head cold or
> : something, things get iffier for us.
> :
> : I would say that it doesn't hurt when finding new routes to be 
> willing
> : to admit defeat when, say, a five-way intersection is just too 
> dangerous
> : and go the extra mile to find a better way even when you're really
> : tired. Well, I've done some adventuring when I was having fatigue 
> issues
> : where really tired meant picking up one foot or the other was really 
> the
> : hardest thing in the world to do... When I'm not having fatigue 
> issues,
> : then having to go around a few blocks isn't a huge deal.
> :
> : Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
> :
> : Tami
> :
> :
> :
> : On 07/20/2013 06:37 PM, daniel wrote:
> : > Hey guys, as yall know I'm going to be moving to a new town for 
> college
> : > quite soon. While I was in training (I can't remember if it was an
> : > instructor or not) someone off-handedly said something like, 
> always have a
> : > sighted person help you on a new route or something.I've always 
> been a
> : > really independent person trying new routes and what not. I can 
> understand
> : > getting some orientation help in a new place but for everything? 
> How do yall
> : > feel about going new places without an advanced orientation 
> session or such?
> : > Do yall usually stick to a preplanned set of routes or do yall 
> sometimes go
> : > new places just for the heck of it? I'm asking this from a dog 
> users
> : > perspective, how does your dog react on a new route or a place, 
> and
> : > especially if any of yall have moved to a new city or home, how 
> did yall get
> : > used to the new surroundings?
> : >
> : > Thanks,
> : >
> : > Dan
> : >
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