Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 4 of Training at 4 Paws

Well, I would be lying to you if I told you that I wasn't sore or tired!  This morning we met at 4 Paws to follow our way to a new park for our tracking session.  We had Jacey go alone with Christie this time to hide and Jacey just held her hand and went for a walk - no meltdown!  I know, unbelievable!!! 

It was interesting today watching Dublin's reaction to them walking away.  I believe Dublin was the second dog to track this morning.  He watched Christie walk away with the other child and didn't have as big of a response when it came to Christie and Jacey walking away.  I was holding him with his leash already attached to the harness.  We did this because all of the dogs get really excited when they go to the park because they get to play Hide and Go Seek with cut up hot dog pieces and their ball as a reward at the end.  We don't want their leash to be attached to the training collar because they get really excited and will run to the end of the leash, which would result in a so-called correction.  Not something we want to be necessarily correcting since they know why we are there.

Needless to say, when Dublin saw Christie and Jacey walk off, he started whining and running to the end of his leash and just seemed to get really concerned.  Jeremy says that these are some behaviors you will see (when the dog and child have bonded) when your child has, let's say, been playing out back with the dog and your child manages to get out of the fenced area.  Your dog will get really excited and will whine letting you know that they think this is time they get to play Hide and Go Seek.  These is great for us because Jacey is one who will bolt out of the house if given the opportunity with an unlocked or opened door.  To know that we will, over time, gain a second set of eyes to keep on Jacey.  We work with the bonding everyday.  Jacey feeds Dublin his breakfast and dinner.  When she comes near us we will have her stand in front of us and will praise Dublin and give him loves.  The good thing that comes from this situation is that he sees her as he is being praised and loved on. 

So, back to the track...  Jeremy took over with Dublin and psyched him up by saying, "Where's she at?  Where's she at?  Where's she at?  Let's go...Let's go...Let's go...Track."  He says this in a very excited voice and off Dublin runs to find the scent.  I jogged along with Jeremy and Dublin as Jeremy gave all of us following this track a play by play commentary.  After running along with two other trackings, I feel somewhat confident in being able to read the body language of Dublin during a track.  I guess in the next day or so, they will put this to the test and have us take over with the actual track.  This should be interesting.  Go ahead...just picture a prego woman jogging / waddling along after a dog that is extremely excited to get to the end and wants to pull his way there.  Maybe I'll get someone to video tape one of the tracks that I head up just for laughs!  :o)  In the end, Dublin found Jacey, I was out of breath, and Jacey was giggling as I held her hand open and placed the pieces of hot dog in it for her to feed Dublin.

Daddy is a SUCKER!

Softening Daddy up for some more of his pop!

We went back to 4 Paws after our group finished with tracking and learned about the command "place" and how to do it.  This is achieved when you have a "place" or a mut matt (a large pad) that you want the dog to go to.  This is used a lot like a crate.  The dog is not allowed off "place" until given the command "free".  The dog must also keep two paws on the pad at all times.  They can stand, sit, or lay down, but must stay until given the "free" command.  We also did a bit more work in distracting the dogs.  We each put our dog in a "down" and dropped the leash.  We walked around the other dogs and talked to them to see if they would break their command.  Dublin did excellent.  I am so proud of him!  He really does make me look good.  Thank goodness for 4 Paws!!!  They have amazing dogs! 

Dublin in the "heel" command.

Dublin in a "down".

Such hard work for Dublin to stay in a "down"!!!

After our lunch break, we met at the mall - the part I was dreading all last night and this morning!  Judd and Jacey were back at the hotel, so all I had to concentrate on was Dublin "heeling" and following my other commands.  I bought a cinnamon-sugar pretzel and was just getting started on it when the trainers showed up.  They gave us the option to walk around on our own while waiting to take a turn walking with them, or we could sit and wait.  Considering I was a bit nervous, I chose to sit and wait...and eat my pretzel!  :o)  It was amazing how many people came up to us and asked us questions about the dogs.  Lots of little kids stopped to pet the dogs.  This was something else that Jennifer had gone over after tracking - how to handle our dogs when children and adults wanted to pet them.  We got lots of practice in it!!!  I waited patiently for a turn to walk with a trainer, which turned out to be Jennifer.  I'm glad I waited.  She seemed to think Dublin was doing good but reminded me of the things to do if he got a little too far ahead.  Another classmate and I were actually standing and asking Jennifer questions, when a woman came up from behind me while Dublin was in a "down" and started talking to him and petting him.  I had no idea she was there!  Dublin of course was surprised by it too and stood up.  Jennifer told me that because we were both surprised, that this did not require a correction for Dublin.  I thought it was interesting that the lady didn't even bother asking if it was okay to pet him first.  So - note to self - if you ever come across a Service Dog in public, be sure to ask the handler if it is okay to pet the dog BEFORE you do!!!  :o) 

After walking with Jennifer, I felt a bit more confident in my ability to handle Dublin.  It was awesome to split off from her and walk the mall with just him.  It's kind of funny because when they described the mall to us, they said it was just a two level mall.  Yep, how about a super duper mega two level mall!!!  It veered off this way and that way...oh and this way also.  I didn't dare go too far from the food court where we met for fear I might not find my way back!  :o)  I also took Dublin down the elevator and then up the stairs.  We are to not use escalators with the service dog because we know to pick up our feet so that the escalator won't catch shoe laces, etc.  Dogs don't.  If we were to have to do a real track and the child went up the escalator (which would be Jacey's preference) then you would warn the people on the escalator that you're about to push the emergency stop button, pray that an alarm doesn't go off, take the dog up the escalator when it is at a stand still, and continue your tracking.

By the time we were done finished at the mall, I was pooped.  I had jogged for three tracks (which by the way are not short in distance!), and walked the mall for about an hour.  It makes me tired just typing about it!  :o)  I'm guessing I may still be a bit sore in the morning. 

I came back to the hotel room where we made a quick phone call to the front desk to locate a walk-in doctor's clinic.  Judd took me to it and it was fairly fast since I was the only one there to see the doctor.  I think I mentioned it a day or two ago that I've been waking up with terrible coughing fits where I can barely catch my breath.  During the day, I can't stop blowing my nasty nose.  I called and talked with our pediatrician's nurse earlier in the day, giving her my symptoms.  She figured it was probably a sinus infection.  Well, the doctor said that I had an upper respiratory infection and I GOT DRUGS!!!  Yeah!  Hopefully this thing will get knocked before we leave to go back home because it has definitely worn out it's welcome!  Jacey and Dublin did quite well at the doctors office considering Jacey was extremely hungry.  Oh...and apparently I must be on vacation because my blood pressure was only 92 over 68.  Since I've been having monthly check ups because of my "condition", my blood pressure has normally been around 102 to 106 or so.  :o)

We got back in the car, where Jacey began screaming again and I praised Dublin and gave him treats.  It is kind of funny because the minute my hand goes to give Dublin his treats, Jacey will stop screaming.  Same thing with when I praise him.  Hopefully he is catching on to the screaming seconds before I say or hand him anything.  :o)

We went to Walmart and went straight to the cookie aisle to get Jacey a little box of Barnum Circus Cookies, which made her happy and quiet!  We turned in my prescriptions and went in search of possible dinner possibilities for the hotel room.  You see, the hotel has been awesome about serving a complimentary dinner every night since we've been here.  But they only do it Monday through Thursday.  So, for the cost of less than one meal eating out, we bought Hawaiian Punch, cups of applesauce, Chef Boyardee Raviolis, Spaghettios, Betty Crocker Chicken Alfredo boxed dinner, and of course, chocolate covered pretzels!  :o) 

It was actually quite nice to come back to our room and veg while the raviolis heated up.  Jacey was super excited about the punch and was very good about nodding her head yes when I asked her if she would like some!  (This is something new that she has been working on in ABA.)  After she ate, she got to go in the bathtub where she was very happy.  I took Dublin out for a walk around the hotel grounds to work on heeling and other commands.  We went to the lobby where I put him in a "down" and made myself a cup of hot chocolate.  I even dropped his leash next to him and just stood on it.  He did great!  I also tested him out on the elevator again which he did great on.  He does like to get ahead a little sometimes but is getting better about watching me as he has been corrected for it numerous times.  I'm proud of what he and I are accomplishing together as a team.  I really look forward to learning the commands for behavior disruption. 

Lately, if we give Dublin the command to sit, Jacey will sit down too.  :o) 
She layed down next to him on his mut matt for a few seconds before he started sniffing her face!

Dinner back at the hotel room!

Well, Jacey should be out by now and I'd like to go into a vegetative state on the couch for a little bit before going to bed. 

As usual....'til tomorrow!


That's a good Dubbie!

1 comment:

  1. Is all or most of his lessons done on leash so far? Is the place command different than a crate command?