Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Day of Training at 4 Paws

Well, I can officially say, we made it through day one of training - only ten more to go!  :o)  Our travels to Ohio went fairly smoothly consider Judd's back went out on him the day before we flew.  I was pretty much in charge of keeping Jacey entertained and safe.  She did quite well on the airplanes (two flights) until the end of the flight when we had approximately twenty minutes left - go figure!  Either way, she did better than we expected of her.  She loved the airport "people movers", escalators, and the trolley we got to ride.  She got a bit giggly over them!  So, other than our first flight taking off an hour and a half late because an engine needed oil, things went well.

Waiting for our plane to take off for an hour and a half!

Jacey riding the trolley in Minneapolis to our gate.

Jacey and Daddy by the rental car.  (She's saying "doggy")

Jacey crashed at the hotel our first night.  A great relief after a long day of traveling.


You're probably wanting to hear about our day today!  IT WAS FABULOUS!!! 

Jeremy reeled in our expectations this morning before bringing out the dogs and let us know what to expect. I thought it was good information and made good sense in that we are transferring who his trainer is over to us and that it will take time to establish a relationship of trust. I can't wait to see how I look with Dublin at the end of training.

We got to go meet Dublin in his crate before class began.

We were not the first family to have our dog brought out and it was agonizing waiting for our turn, especially for Jacey.  She didn't want to stay with us, she wanted to go to the dog next to us or back to the play area.  Not exactly where we wanted her to be when Dublin was brought out.  I had to hold her while she had a meltdown because I wouldn't allow her to do what she wanted.  Jeremy, the head trainer, saw Jacey's meltdown and told me that Dublin would be next.  :o)  So, if you're in an upcoming class, if you are waiting and waiting for your turn for your dog to be brought to you, just have your kid have a meltdown and they'll have sympathy on you and your turn will come sooner!  I hate to say it, as I'm sure you already know, you probably don't want to go that route!!!  :o) 

Jacey continued to meltdown in my arms and wiggle about like a worm until Dublin was just about to us when she finally listened to me saying, "Hear comes Dublin, Jacey", over and over again.  We were given a ziplock back of treats for Dublin and I held Jacey's hand open with a few treats in it.  Dublin quickly gobbled them up, slobbering all over her hand with his tongue.  To hear her giggle with PURE delight, was a great joy to both Judd and I.

Out of treats, but Dublin smells them on Jacey still.

Jacey decided to take Dublin for a short walk around the room.
We were lucky to have some fellow classmates take pictures and video of this encounter with Jacey and Dublin.  It was truly music to my ears hearing her giggle.  I just looked to see if I brought my cord to upload video, and apparently it was left in Montana.  Sorry!  I'll be sure to upload video when we get home of their meeting because it will bring a huge smile to your face. 

The morning consisted of Jacey feeding Dublin his treats and giggling.  We loved on him and she showed her affection in patting somewhat hard.  After the treats ran out, Jacey ran off!  :o)  We broke for lunch, leaving Dublin in his crate while we went to find food. 

After our lunch break, Jeremy talked a little of how placements are made and why they place dogs at a year.  Hearing it made so much sense.  You don't want to have a dog that is three years old and used to being pet in a "normal" way to end up in a home where there is a child with special needs that may not pet the same way.  You want them young so they can learn to adjust to the child and all the things about that child.  An older dog may not be interested in "tolerating" the child's behaviors or sounds.

We started training with the basic "sit" and "down" commands.  We started out rewarding Dublin immediately as his bum touched the ground, to making him wait for it as we walked around him.  We then moved on to down and eventually walking around him as he stayed down.  With the little bit of dog obedience training that I went to with Sasha and Nicky, it was interesting to see a few differences.  We aren't to say "stay" because the dog is trained to stay there indefinitely until they are "freed".  Jeremy mentioned going to a restaurant and having to give the dog a command to stay every so often isn't what you want to have to do.  Dublin made me look like a pro at what I was working on with him.  But I feel like there is so much yet to come and to master within the next ten days.

Jacey was really good about staying in the play area.  She enjoyed books in the morning and MARKERS in the afternoon.  Yep, what do you do?!  Take something away from your child, knowing that you're going to get a meltdown and yet you need to be listening to training???  In the end, Jacey didn't have a meltdown and got a bath when we got back to the hotel room...all is well again!

...BEFORE Markers...

...And AFTER Markers!!!

Does anyone know who this child belongs to?!  :o)

Homewood Suites is a wonderful hotel with great employees.  The room is great.  Judd told me when we got here what a great job I did finding this place, but it wasn't me!  4 Paws has an agreement with Homewood that gives us a discount and 4 Paws five dollars a night that we are here.  I learned about Homewood from previous classes and through 4 Paws.  It has been fabulous.

Jacey got to feed Dublin tonight to help with bonding.  I put his food into his treat bag and allowed her to take out small amounts at a time for him.  Of course, it immediately went on the floor with a few giggles from Jacey as Dublin went into a feeding frenzy searching out his dinner.  She eventually fed Dublin all of his dinner and then I had her fill his water bowl by pouring a glass of water into it.  She enjoyed this and eventually wanted to get down on his level. 

At bedtime, I thought I would try out having Dublin at the end of the bed.  Jacey thought it was great, but eventually started head-butting him on his back.  So at this point, Jacey had enjoyed her time and I allowed Dublin to lay in his kennel.  It didn't take much time after this for Jacey to fall asleep.

I can't believe that we are here in Ohio, sitting in a hotel room with Dublin.  I never dreamed of this day being here so quickly when we were first told that our application was accepted.  It is because of the generous people that made our fundraising go so quickly.  We are here because of many of you reading our blog.  Thank you all.  I am deeply humbled by being here and have a very happy heart when hearing Jacey giggle over Dublin.

Well, I'd better sign off for the night so that I can wish my kiddos that are back in Montana a good nights sleep.  Until tomorrow!



  1. Hi! We are just starting the process for a therapy dog. Your friend Elizabeth (My Back Door) is my friend too, and she sent me over here. It has been so inspirational to read your blog.

    Congratulations! Great work, and I'll toss up a few prayers that you'll weather it all very well. :) You all look happy.

  2. Hi, Amy! I totally got teary eyed reading that post. The comment up there is my friend that I told you about. Hope day 2 goes well! Let you in-laws know I'm here if they need anything. Miss ya!

  3. Congrats on a wonderful first day!! Hope today was just as good! Enjoy the training because it will fly by!! You will be home with your new friend before you know it! We have only been home for a month now, but we can't imagine our lives before Cassidy!
    Susan Lee
    Alyssa and SD Cassidy
    Class of October 2010

  4. Thank you so much for sharing...it brings back such memories...and I love know how it is going.

    Mom of Maggie & Albert (service dog)
    March 2008 class