Introducing Ida: A New Thinking Dog!

Black lab Ida holds a green rubber toy with her right paw while chewing on a Nyladbone wedged inside it
Ida uses a toy to hold her chew bone steady.

The Thinking Dog Blog finally has some wonderful news to share: Deni recently welcomed Ida, a new guide dog, to the family!

Ida, who just turned 2, is a black Labrador retriever from Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

She’s a great addition to the Thinking Dog clan: She’s smart, seems to be an adept problem-solver, and learns quickly. As a young Lab, she’s also high-energy and very playful.

Black Lab Ida wades into the water to stand near Deni, dressed in shorts and tank top, holding a long blue leash.Like Deni’s first Guiding Eyes dog, Alberta, Ida loves it when Deni — or anyone, really — notices her cleverness and comments on how well she’s doing her job. She’s super-friendly and feels entitled — obligated? — to greet people on walks, even starting to head up sidewalks or driveways if neighbors are outside when she’s on a (non-working) walk.

Like Koala, she’s a bit analytical and likes to think things over. During her first visit to the dog beach (on a long leash!) she needed to think about whether sand, surf, and starfish were good things.

Ida inspects two small starfish on Deni's handOnce she felt comfortable, though, she had a wonderful time. And, back in the fenced dog run area near the beach, she raced around joyfully with another young dog. And, on her second visit, she ran playful, joyful circles as she made friends with other dogs and stepped tentatively into the rough surf.

Black Lab Ida yawns as she rests near the huge bill of a flamingo sculpture, with Deni standing next to her
The Tampa-St. Petersburg airport features a gigantic (and possible scary) statue of a flamingo

Ida is a happy, bouncy, curious, very social dog who is eager to play. She is still settling in and learning what the life of a working grown-up dog is like, of course, and she might have found the giant flamingo sculpture at the Tampa airport a little unnerving … but who wouldn’t?

She’s also still learning Deni’s routines — and quickly picking up the “extra” skills that all of Deni’s dogs learn, like finding a trash can as soon as she’s done “parking” (a euphemism for pooping).

She caught on quickly to opening gifts on her 2nd birthday — and gleefully played with her new toys! She likes to use her paws, standing on one gift to keep it in place as she removed the tissue-paper wrapping. And she holds her toys while playing with or chewing on them.

Ida is young, and adjusting to a new dog — especially after several years with a precise, polished pro like Koala — is going to be a challenge for Deni. But the two seem to have forged a close connection already, with Ida responding quickly when called even while running happily with another dog.

Their next big adventure together will be a visit to Montana in May — including a few days at Yellowstone. I hope Ida isn’t afraid of bison!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.