Monday, November 5, 2007
I'll come back and blog about these individually but since I last posted a lot of things have happened. Suzan and I had our "official" service dog graduation ceremony. I won the Best Trick contest at Planet Dog's Woofminster fundraising event for My Wonderful Dog. That same weekend, Suzan and I won best costume at The Colony hotel's Howl-oween party. We also recently started Rally Obedience classes. All this while being a service dog extraordinaire!
Stay tuned for details and photos!
Wags & Woofs,
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
We like this new Olive Garden because the booths don't have any posts, they hang off of the walls. That makes it easier for us to get comfortable under the table. That's what most service dogs are trained to do and Tom and I did a very good job at it even though it was our first date.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Last week, I went to see a musical, La Cage aux Folles at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Suzan won the tickets on the radio by translating a French phrase. I think people were really surprised to see me there but I was on my best behavior as usual. I curled up under Suzan & Jon's seats and mostly took a nap. It was hard to do at times though because everybody kept laughing. Don't know what's so funny about a birdcage!
And a few weekends before that we joined the My Wonderful Dog puppy raisers and service dogs in training at their monthly outing. I told everyone that it's great being a service dog and they will love it if they graduate and get to help their special person. I also told them it's OK if they don't because not every dog is cut out to be a service dog. Being a well behaved pet dog is a special job too! Here I am practicing my "down stay" while Nils steps over me. Nils is my foster family's new service dog in training, he is a tall boy! Good luck Nils!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tomorrow I will tell you about the place we went to on our way home Sunday and the wonderful doggie products we got there!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
We had our first official play date on Friday with Higgins, a Golden Retriver puppy. He's named after Higgins Beach here in Maine and he's not so bad for a puppy. We chased each other around the yard and I let him play with my toys. I also had to show him what the kiddie pool was for, it was his first time. He wasn't too sure about it but by the time he left I think he got it.
Of course Suzan thought he was extremely cute but I had to remind her how cute I was as a puppy...
Here is a slideshow of our day, enjoy!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Before I forget, Suzan wanted me to mention how after three days of her asking me to pick up my bowl after I'm done eating I started doing it automatically when I'm finished! That biscuit waiting up on the counter is a very good motivator!
We went to an MS support group meeting yesterday and everyone was very impressed with me. I showed them how I could pick up Suzan's cane if she dropped it. I was hoping to see Wiley, who graduated in My Wonderful Dog's class just prior to mine, but she wasn't there. I hope her partner Micah is doing OK.
Suzan said that I did something very special. One of the men at the meeting was sharing that he was sad because his friend with MS died. We were sitting right next to him and I went up to him and tried to make him feel better. Suzan let me. This is against my training and he did nothing to get my attention but I could tell that he was sad. I think it helped him to pet me. People said that I was a very special and sensitive dog to do this.
(I didn't solicit attention from anyone else there and there was even someone who kept trying to get my attention and I ignored him.)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Monday was our first talk and demo at the kid's summer camp. I think Suzan did great even though she doesn't remember too much. I did pretty good myself except when Suzan let me off leash to "find the phone". She didn't think about all the service dogs in training around the room and I have to admit that I got a bit (OK a lot) distracted. But hey, I hadn't seen them for a while and we were trying to catch up. The kids really liked it when I opened the door, remember when I was having trouble with that one?
On Tuesday we went to a doctor's appt. and shopping at Target. I did great at both places! It was funny though because one of the Target employees kept futzing around in the aisle we were in and we were there a long time. Dad says it's not paranoia if they really are watching you!
We also went to a vet appt. for one of my feline siblings, Nile. I don't think he was too happy to have me along. Boy can he growl and hiss, what a Mr. Grumpypants! At home he is a really nice guy as far as cats go but get him to the doctor and he's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dad met us there and stayed in the exam room with Nile while Suzan and I waited in the lobby.
It's been so hot here that we've stayed inside more than usual. Suzan taught me to pick up my food dish after I'm done eating and give it to her. I get a breath freshener biscuit that's waiting for me on the counter, I think it's a good deal!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Today we worked on transactions where I'm in charge of the money!!! When Suzan buys something when she is using her scooter and the counter is too high, I can help her. Suzan puts the money in a special pouch and I do an "up" and then "give". I can then get the change back in the pouch and even take the package and carry it if it's not too heavy. You should have seen me carrying a plastic bag around the mall. Suzan said I was a really good helper and I really liked doing it!
Can you believe that we have only two more days of team training left?! Tomorrow and then our public access test on Sunday. We are going to bed early so this will be a short post. See you tomorrow!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Things are really coming together now! Today I pushed the cabinet and regular doors closed pretty consistently and got the big door opened quite a few times.
Our field trip today was to the mall. Suzan and I did really, really well. I got the handicapped door button for her, stayed in a down when someone stepped over me, allowed children to pet me and stayed focused and even let a "friendly stranger" take me a few feet away and come back. See photo of "friendly stranger".
We also did the escalators! Now this is something special that not all service dogs are trained to do. But since Lauren is such a good trainer and we knew that Suzan might have to use one with me, we carefully trained for it. I love escalators! I think it's because such a big fuss was made over me when I was learning to do them. Suzan knows that we have to be very careful and we'll take the elevator if we have a choice.
My business cards sure came in handy today! Lots of people were interested in what we doing and I even heard some of them comment on what a good dog I was!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I had some wonderful surprises today. Lauren, my puppy raiser came and helped out at our team training. She's a great trainer and had brought me to ClickerExpo last year. I have to admit I was pretty excited at first but then I settled down and focused on what Suzan and I had to do. I did better at opening/closing doors and closing the cupboards!
We went on another field trip to the same place and practiced elevators. Suzan did better today too! We even went in a glass elevator, that was really weird. At first I wasn't sure what was going on but I got to eat peanut butter from a tube and all was well. (Can you tell that I really like peanut butter?!) Someone asked us if it was special doggie peanut butter! It isn't, but maybe the peanut butter folks should market it as that.
We walked around outside at the farmer's market, Suzan said I did great! Even with all the people and trucks going by and a band playing. We've had a request to post a photo of Suzan and I together so Lauren took one today. Here it is...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Today we did MORE retrieves! Good thing I'm a retriever! Worked on that darn door some more. I'm getting it open eventually but it's taking quite a few tries. Needs more work, wish me luck.
We took a field trip to a place with handicapped door buttons and elevators. I did great with the buttons and actually I did great with the elevator too, it's Suzan that's having some problems with this one! Trying to maneuver the scooter and me into the elevator takes some getting use to. Suzan has to approach the door and tell me to "wait" while she blocks the door with her scooter so I'm not in any danger. Then I "go through" and she follows and we have to figure out the best place to be in the elevator so we can get back out easily. I think we're going back to that place tomorrow for more practice and I heard that they also have a glass elevator!
We went to lunch afterwards and I was so tired that I didn't even notice when Suzan dropped crumbs on my head as I was lying there! Early to bed for both of us tonight. G'night!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wow, I can't believe that we're starting our second week of team training already! Starting tomorrow, we'll be taking field trips each day, that will be exciting!
Today we practiced even more difficult retrieves with the items in a hard to reach area under very low benches. I got the dollar bill first again!!!! And I finally picked up the heavy mystery can that I hadn't been able to do before. The final item was very challenging and Suzan and I had to figure out how to get it. "Take it" wasn't working, free shaping wasn't working and finally Suzan directed me to "under" and then "take it" and I went for it! Success!!!!
I also carried a plastic bag full of other plastic bags (how silly is that!?) around the center walking by Suzan's scooter. Piece of cake!
I'm still having problems with opening a door using a strap and pushing a cabinet door shut with my nose. I'm just not forceful enough, Suzan said I need to eat more spinach.
We stopped at a store on the way home and Suzan dropped her cane while standing at the register counter. She cued me to pick it up and I did. This was for real, not just practice!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
OK, no rinsing but there was a lot of repeating today! More "retrieves" but today I went after the metal things first. Most dogs don't like metal so Suzan thought that was strange. I have to keep her on her toes! More "backs", more "ups", more "unders" and more "push"es. I was having trouble with the "ups" on the door again so they started putting peanut butter on the door. That worked! If you're ever at My Wonderful Dog and you think the door smells like peanut butter, now you'll know why! I think I did a pretty good job of cleaning it all up though.
We went out to lunch and then to Sam's Club after training. Suzan said I was perfect! Here I am at Sam's Club...
We met a woman whose daughters will be going to the My Wonderful Dog teen camp and we gave them my business card. I worked at the teen camps for two seasons, it's a great thing. The kids come for a week and learn about service dogs, disabilities and community service. They learn how to train us using positive reinforcement/clicker training and they take us to the mall and to the movies at the end of the week. I saw a lot of movies!
We also got ice cream on the way home!!!! Kimball Farm opened today and they have great ice cream and free doggie ice cream!
Suzan and I are doing so well, we have the day off tomorrow!!! I'm really glad, we need it! We still have homework though. Suzan says we have to come back and blog because she wants me to tell you what I did today that was unbelievable. Stay tuned!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
We also did a lot of retrieves today (remember the "take it", "bring it here", "hold" and "give" sequence?) Plastic dumbbell, wooden dumbbell, plastic bags, paper plate, metal spoon, screwdriver and a bottle of water. Oh and that darn cane! I was bestest with the paper plate, the bottle of water and the cane were the most challenging. I need to learn to pick up the bottle by the side and not the top unless Suzan doesn't mind dog drool on the cover! I still didn't get the cane yet. I'm putting my mouth on it but not picking it up. More homework!
We also worked on "leave it" with squeaky toys and balls flying by me. I was having trouble with it when I was just standing there or walking by them. But when I was in a "sit stay" I was a champ! The ball even hit me and I still paid attention to Suzan. So Suzan has to remember if I'm distracted by a squirrel or a bird to have me sit or down.
We did our homework and it was interesting. Even on a full stomach (Suzan meant to practice before dinner so I would be more food motivated but she forgot!) I did very good heels and places when Suzan was standing. When she sat on a chair they weren't quite as good but better than with the scooter. (The scooter is at the training center so we couldn't practice with it.) And I actually lifted the cane off the floor! I didn't really move it but we got further than earlier today! Suzan says it's a good thing she is patient!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Oh I forgot to tell you that we worked on me picking up my leash and giving it to Suzan yesterday. I'm really good at that! We also worked on a retrieve using the leash. You wouldn't think it's as complicated as it is but there are four parts to it! "Take it", "hold", "bring it here" and then "give"! And Suzan couldn't reach out, I had to "give" it where her hand was.
Today's training wasn't quite as smooth as yesterday but we still did OK. We still have to work on "heel" which is me being in position on the left. (without my butt swung out!) We also did "place" today which is just like "heel" but on the right side.
Our biggest challenge was trying to pick up Suzan's cane. We had to up my treats to cheese for that one! Remember I told you how complicated a retrieve is!? Well we only got up to "take it" and used what is called shaping. I got clicked for moving towards the cane and then clicked for touching my nose to the cane and then clicked for putting my mouth on the cane. That's as far as we got. I was distracted and it looked like I was getting a little stressed (panting) so we stopped while we were ahead. Suzan said it's OK. We're both going to have our good days and bad days and I'm not a robot after all! If I was I guess I'd be that Japanese robot dog, the Aibo! But they're not cute and fluffy and sweet like I am. We'll try again tomorrow!