Erin's Service Dog in Training diary...

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Postby amazincc » September 11th, 2008, 9:30 pm

Go, Summer... and thanks, Erin, for training her. :clap:
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 11th, 2008, 9:47 pm

Hundilein wrote:Yay! I'm really glad to hear she's doing well. I really liked her as a puppy, if I remember correctly.


I have to find the pics of her and Score rolling around at Fidos the first night...we couldn't tell who was who, remember? Yeah, I liked her as a puppy...and put dibs on her from then on! lol 8)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 12th, 2008, 11:41 am

Public access day...went to the bank, where she laid down quietly and waited for me to finish. Then we got "crazy" and went to Panera for bagel and hot chocolate (for me). She laid quietly under the table...with treats for her. (training treats, not off the table treats)

Then we ran to Big Lots to get a new cutting board and a few other things. Perfect behavior next to the shopping cart...did her heeling and "back-up" very well. Lovely girl.

What's really nice is that she's friendly, but not to the point of NEEDING/WANTING to greet people. A sniff as they pass by is all she cares about. I love that!
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 16th, 2008, 8:11 pm

Had a nice day shopping today...we went to TJ Maxx and tried on some dresses (well, I did, Summer laid on the floor looking at me like I was crazy). She walks very nicely next to shopping carts...very good girl. She also walked nicely near the racks of clothes...I knew one SD that would walk under all the shirts and rub his muzzle on them ( :nono: )

We then did a quick trip to Wal-mart where...YEA! She pee'd on something other than grass...she pee'd on some gravel/short bushes. :clap: We then went into the store, where we were greeted with...(the first time ever for me at Wal-mart)..."I assume that it's a Seeing Eye Dog" by the greeter. I said politely, "no, she's an Assistance Dog." The greeter then said, "Does you have a card?" I said, "No, she doesn't have a card, and we don't need one." (I should mention that we were in the doorway blocking traffic). Right after I said this, I walked off into the store, with him saying behind me..."Well, you might get stopped because you don't have a card!"

Suuurrrrreee...I'll wait for that. :rolleyes2:

For those that don't know...under the ADA, ADs are not required to show proof or wear anything special. Summer has a big red vest that states "Assistance Dog, Do Not Pet" on her back. She'll have an ID card shortly...but she doesn't NEED it. Sawyer goes out in a purple vest, and has no ID card...just a tag on his collar that says "Service Dog Sawyer".

Add to this, the person with the dog does not have to show proof of their disability...for all the guy knew, this was my dog. :| But as an AD trainer in the state of MD, I have the same rights as the disabled (my SDiT can go with me everywhere).

It's one of the few times I've been challenged...it got my blood boiling! lol But Summer remained calm and collected next to me...despite my death grip on the leash (so I didn't smack the greeter) lol Last time I got challenged...a woman in a fast food restaurant said, "You don't look blind!" I turned to my mom and said loudly..."OMG, it's a miracle! I CAN SEE!"...and then went about my business ordering my meal. :dance:
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby madremissy » September 16th, 2008, 8:42 pm

It's one of the few times I've been challenged...it got my blood boiling! But Summer remained calm and collected next to me...despite my death grip on the leash (so I didn't smack the greeter) Last time I got challenged...a woman in a fast food restaurant said, "You don't look blind!" I turned to my mom and said loudly..."OMG, it's a miracle! I CAN SEE!"...and then went about my business ordering my meal.


:spit:
I love this thread. Have I missed it? Did you post a picture of Summer somewhere. She sounds like she is doing great. Along with your wonderful training. :D
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 16th, 2008, 8:45 pm

madremissy wrote:
It's one of the few times I've been challenged...it got my blood boiling! But Summer remained calm and collected next to me...despite my death grip on the leash (so I didn't smack the greeter) Last time I got challenged...a woman in a fast food restaurant said, "You don't look blind!" I turned to my mom and said loudly..."OMG, it's a miracle! I CAN SEE!"...and then went about my business ordering my meal.


:spit:
I love this thread. Have I missed it? Did you post a picture of Summer somewhere. She sounds like she is doing great. Along with your wonderful training. :D


I haven't gotten my pics up yet...hopefully this week. :) You can see some of her pics from earlier here:
http://www.fidosforfreedom.org/assist-d ... summer.php
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby madremissy » September 16th, 2008, 9:10 pm

Awwh look at her big floppy ears. Again, great job in what you are doing.
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Postby airwalk » September 16th, 2008, 9:14 pm

Erin, I'm thrilled at what you're doing and I do understand the frustration at being challenged...but I see every day folks that take advantage of the AD dog provision.

Their dogs are no more AD's than the man in the moon - but they claim they are and then promptly take them everywhere. The dogs misbehave and suddenly the person gets their panties in a bunch because someone questions them again.

Additionally, I get a bit frustrated and the lack of protection for other folks. My sister, who is really very allergic - gets on a plane to Vegas. There is a Standard Poodle on board - it is the guys AD to help him not gamble???

Thankfully this one was a Poodle and did not create a major allergic reaction, but folks really do need to consider that some other humans are not comfortable with having dogs around and some folks are highly allergic and that can cause issues.
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 16th, 2008, 9:58 pm

airwalk wrote:Erin, I'm thrilled at what you're doing and I do understand the frustration at being challenged...but I see every day folks that take advantage of the AD dog provision.

Their dogs are no more AD's than the man in the moon - but they claim they are and then promptly take them everywhere. The dogs misbehave and suddenly the person gets their panties in a bunch because someone questions them again.

Additionally, I get a bit frustrated and the lack of protection for other folks. My sister, who is really very allergic - gets on a plane to Vegas. There is a Standard Poodle on board - it is the guys AD to help him not gamble???

Thankfully this one was a Poodle and did not create a major allergic reaction, but folks really do need to consider that some other humans are not comfortable with having dogs around and some folks are highly allergic and that can cause issues.


Sure, there are always going to be folks that take advantage of situations...that's the way of the world, but by asking for more than is legal, it makes it harder for legitimate AD users. The businesses need to educate their employees in the proper procedure. Asking a dog that is causing a commotion to leave is legal, whether it be an AD or otherwise. You can have a program-trained Seeing Eye Dog that is causing a ruckus, and you can have someone's pet poodle causing a ruckus...both can be asked to leave, legally. I always say, if the pet owner who is illegally putting vests on their dog gets the dog to behave...I have less problem with it. At least the dog is under control and behaving. :|

What can a place of business ask?

They can ask if the animal is a Service Animal.
They can ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform.

What can they not do?

They cannot ask you to leave unless the dog is causing a disturbance or is posing a direct threat to health and well-being of others. (Allergies and being fearful of animals are not considered a direct threat)

They cannot ask what a person's disability is, they cannot ask for special ID cards, and they cannot charge extra fees for having a Service Animal (unless the animal damages something).

Can I ask how you know that the Standard poodle was not a legitimate Assistance Dog...or the others that you mention? There are many hidden disabilities... :wink:

The trouble is...when people demand to see "ID" or "Cards"...and someone shows them something...then it makes it harder for the rest of us. I do have a trainer's badge...but I rarely carry it with me...it's just one more thing to switch over to each bag or wallet. I don't legally have to carry it...it's just another pain in the ass for me. ;) John does not have cards or anything for Sawyer...because he's owner trained. What to do then? There are some that are calling for nationwide certification...but can you imagine the headaches involved with that?

People taking their dogs places find it more challenging than they realize usually...because it's not easy. You have to make sure you have everything for the dog's comfort when you leave the house and then the car. Clean-up supplies, equipment in good working order, clean dog, and it takes time to pay attention to the dog and deal with it constantly. :|
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Hundilein » September 17th, 2008, 11:05 pm

Here's a few puppy pictures of Summer. These were taken during her 2-3 days at my house before the journey north...back when everyone was mistaking her for Score.

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Postby TheRedQueen » September 18th, 2008, 12:55 am

Another good day...

We went shopping at Ross, where she laid down quietly in the dressing room while I changed. She was quiet and calm the entire time, even when two employees started calling her... :rolleyes2:

She attracted a lot of attention at Wal-mart after that (a different one)...where the greeter waved to her and said hi, but ignored me....lol As I was at the fabric counter, we talked to a woman who was very interested in her training and very impressed by her. :)

Then we went to FFF for training...she worked on the main training floor with another trainer...and was okay for being in overload. She even saw a former trainer (from prison)...she was so excited, she tried to climb in his lap. The happiest I've seen her with people!

Then she ran around with the gang after that...wore herself out good.

So we attempted something new...we took her to dinner with us. Jenn (Fenella) and me...and Summer. Applebee's for 1/2 price appetizer dinner. :D We went in, I guided Summer under the table and she just stood there. I asked for a sit, she stood there. I waited, she sat, and I treated. Within a few minutes she was down, and I treated. I randomly treated her lovely down under the table...she then eventually got comfy, curled up and went to sleep.

Success! :clap:

This girl is GOOD...Sarah, you picked a good one!
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 18th, 2008, 5:50 pm

"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 24th, 2008, 10:25 am

After a bad start to the day, Summer and I went out yesterday. We went to a local pet store for some treats...where she wanted to eat some small dogs, but let them pass. I had to drag her past them...embarrassing. :oops: But it would have been more embarrassing to have her eat them, I suppose. I didn't trust the small dog owner enough to work it out with Summer and the other dog...the other owner was a bit clueless, so we didn't "train", we just avoided.

I had to tell a perfectly lovely young girl who asked "Can I pet your dog?", that no in fact she couldn't...(I hate this part!). I then hurriedly explained what Summer was doing and why she couldn't be petted, etc. Turns out the family has a dog that looks a lot like Summer. :)

Then we went to the Scrapbooking store, where she did very well in tight spaces...backing up when asked, staying close, lying down automatically when I squatted down to look through papers. Very nice. It was odd though...she was like the purple elephant in the room...NO ONE was looking at her, or talking to me...there were quite a few women in the store, but it was like no one wanted to disturb us. It was more eerie than if someone had just said something about the dog in the store. Because they were all very careful to avoid running into her also...tiptoeing around us. A bit strange, but funny.

Summer barked at some skateboarders when we came out, but shushed when I said "Quiet!" They had stopped right then, so she didn't bark anymore. I was hungry and tired, so we didn't stop for any "training" with the skate punks. ;)

Then we went grocery shopping...I had to get quite a bit, cupboards were bare...Summer was perfectly lovely the entire time. She snuffle the floor in the meat dept. twice, so I brought out the clicker for attention...and the rest of the trip, she kept her eyes on me...even walking past the meat displays again...and the bread (she loves to try and sniff the bread). Very good trip. :mrgreen:
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby amazincc » September 24th, 2008, 3:16 pm

I love reading about her progress... and you are an amazing person to train dogs this way. I don't know if I would have the patience that requires. :wink: :)
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Postby Hundilein » September 24th, 2008, 3:27 pm

So it sounds like she's doing decently well on the skills, but needs to work on the barking and not eating small animals? What all is she going to learn as far as skills? Is there sort of a "standard" skill set that Fidos teaches before matching the dog with a person? And then I assume once she's matched you might work with her and her person on other things she might need to do? Sorry for all the questions. I'm just fascinated by all this, and so proud of "our" girl :)
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 24th, 2008, 4:15 pm

Hundilein wrote:So it sounds like she's doing decently well on the skills, but needs to work on the barking and not eating small animals? What all is she going to learn as far as skills? Is there sort of a "standard" skill set that Fidos teaches before matching the dog with a person? And then I assume once she's matched you might work with her and her person on other things she might need to do? Sorry for all the questions. I'm just fascinated by all this, and so proud of "our" girl :)


She's not too bad at barking...it's just when she does, it's LOUD! ;) No quiet wuffs here.

Okay...I'll break this down a little more. Our FFF dogs come in as puppies or adolescents...they start in a Puppy Raiser's home or our Prison Pups Program, or a mixture of both. When they are of age...around 1-1.5 yo, they go to a Trainer (which is me...). The puppies used to only learn basic commands during their first year, but nowadays, we teach everything fairly early...including the "specialized" skills such as tugging and retrieving*. (Score was retrieving objects to hand at 10 weeks) So when the trainers get the dog, it's faster for us now.

*Summer's Retrieve: Summer already retrieves everything and anything. She's a bit crazed about having something in her mouth when she comes out of her crate, so I find things to shove in her mouth to take upstairs: shoes, laundry, water bottles, metal dog bowls, etc. She's a bit distracted still with directed retrieves if there are many things on the floor...I may train her with the laser pointer. She will however carry and pick up stuff well if it's the only thing on the floor. I dropped my clicker last night at the store, and she picked it right up for me. :D

The dog has to have a retrieve (a good one) to get a red cape/harness. Our puppies go out in green capes for their first phase of training (green for "GO"...meaning they can be petted). Once they're officially in training, they wear red capes (red for "NO"...meaning no petting, they're working). So for Summer to be working in public, I had to see what her skills were in the retrieving arena. ;)

I haven't tested her tug officially, she likes to tug with toys...so I imagine it's also good.

If she seemed to have Hearing Dog aptitude, I'd work with her with hearing alerts, but so far...no so much. She appears to be destined to be a SD. (thankfully, I'm not crazy about training hearing dogs)

I'll do as much public access work with her as I can. I also work her hands-free (leash around my body) usually, so she's used to cuing off body language rather than depending on the leash to be steered around with. She also has worked with me in wheelchair, and with me in a walker...and she's comfy with both. Eventually, I'll probably work with her in a balance harness also...putting weight on her as I walk. (Once she gets a bit older) I'll also work with her stand and brace work as she gets a bit older.

Once she's solid on everything, she starts working with clients on Wed. nights. We'll see who she "meshes" with, and then specific skills will be trained once we know what that person needs.

ETA...she's always going to have a high prey drive, we're just working on the self-control she needs to NOT go busting out after them to eat them. However, we would make sure that she got matched with client with no cats, small dogs, etc. We don't want to make someone's life harder. ;)
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Hundilein » September 24th, 2008, 4:56 pm

Thanks for the explanation!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 24th, 2008, 5:13 pm

Generally how old are the dogs before they get given to their new partner?
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 24th, 2008, 5:22 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Generally how old are the dogs before they get given to their new partner?


The usual deal is 1 year as a puppy in training, 1 year as an AD in training, and then matched with a client between 2-3 years old. If it gets too close to 3 yo, we find another program that needs them. We recently had a very nice standard poodle...fully trained, and REALLY well trained too...all sorts of specific tasks. He just wasn't right for any of our SD clients, and since he was getting older, we sent him to another organization who needed a SD at the moment.

Our clients have to do a certain amount of hours before they can be matched...during this time, they work with different dogs, including Therapy Dogs that are owned by the trainers. This way, we decide what type of dog would be best for them. We have slow dogs, fast dogs, dogs that need motivation, dogs that need clear commands, dogs that will work with anyone...and so on. We have clients in scooters, manual chairs, power chairs, walkers, canes; clients that are deaf too...some that need balance help, some that don't.

We try to pick dogs that have a relatively long life-span...so giant breeds are out for us...a Great Dane would make a nice SD for someone with balance issues, but they'd have a shorter working life. It's all part of the decisions on what dogs we bring in (which is my job...).
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 10th, 2008, 10:17 am

I haven't posted lately as we haven't been doing too much...she's come along on some short trips to the stores and such, but nothing major. Her retrieve is fabulous...she will put anything in her mouth, and in the yard manages to shove numerous toys in :rolleyes2: ...what potential for a future SD client!

Her heeling is much improved, she tends to forge when she gets excited...I found that she'll forge for the first few minutes walking into a store...kinda like a kid "OMG!!!" :shock: , then she settles into polite walking. I've just been stopping and letting her figure it out and re-adjust her position. Of course, it's not great when we're walking in a crosswalk to the store...but those cars can wait! :wink: She loves the clicker, so she'll re-adjust to hear that click! She doesn't always take the treat in those first few minutes either. She's settling down faster now though.

She's also coming along in her sits and downs. She was having trouble holding them for more than a few seconds...but that's gotten better. Now if I'm shopping and it looks like I'm gonna be a while, she'll automatically lie down and wait (WONDERFUL!). I like a nice default down. :D

We went to Wal-mart last night for the first time with John and Sawyer accompanying us. It was hard for her to settle down at first...OMG!!! Sawyer is here too! :shock: But she did. And when I say that it's hard for her to settle down, an observer would be hard pressed to notice her "unruly" behavior...a dog person/trainer would see it...but the casual observer wouldn't notice. She's just pulling a smidge on her leash, her eyes are roaming around a bit more...rather than keeping an eye on me, and her panting is elevated...just a bit. I wouldn't be taking her out if she was really truly acting up. ;) Just to clarify!

Anyways...at Wal-mart last night, she was surrounded by admirers...but we could deflect all of the petting onto Sawyer (who loved it)...and she could do her job in peace. It was nice. It was also funny to hear whispered comments..."hey look, there's a dog in the store...wow! There's a second dog!" One woman who works at Wal-mart came up and said..."Okay, I know that's Summer, so who is this other one?" and then talked baby talk to Sawyer. lol Summer has a fan-base now!

She loves to retrieve while we're out...she picked up numerous items for me that I dropped or that fell off the shelves...Sawyer was bent out of shape...so John let him get some stuff too! She however, had trouble doing a solid stand when I put my hands on her...as I was on the floor looking at something on a bottom shelf. So that's one skill we'll have to work on in the future.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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