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Dagbok Dog

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Sunday night: Target

May 11th 2010 6:59 am
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Early Sunday evening, my person and I went for a long leash walk at a local park that abuts a dog park. There were no dog on the little dog side, so my person and I played fetch for a few minutes. Twice in one day! Score!

After a cool-down, we headed over to Target for a quick training session. My person feels a bit remiss if she doesn't take the opportunity for at least one short public access session per day.

It was really crowded with many loud and energetic children. We haven't done much cart work lately, so even though there was no need for one, we selected a cart and headed off the the side aisles to do a bit of practice before heading into the crowd.

I did really well! Hooray for me! My person passed close to pillars on our left to encourage me into the best position and gave me many, many treats. We went through the TV section because the lights and noise make it chaotic: perfect for desensitization to such things.

We went into the undergarment section where the socks are available, and my person scored a great deal, which brightened the visit in addition to my excellent performance.

We got in a long line to check-out. When the lady in front of us turned and saw us, she shrieked and darted away with her overflowing cart. She wouldn't accept the things she dropped from my person and a kind person took them over to her. Curious how people behave sometimes, isn't it?

My person was a bit embarrassed, but did her best to act as if it was only a vaguely interesting occurrence and nothing really to do with us.

I was great at the checkout counter. A tall boy reached way over me to take something from the display above me and his shirt brushed my face. I looked up at him and thought perhaps it was a new game. Alas, it was not and my person rewarded me for not playing. Not sure how I feel about that, but as always, treats are welcome.

We had to pass through a crowd of several families to get out. Some of the children were crying and many were darting about. I love kids! My person kept interrupting me when I looked at them and clicking when I focused back on her.

I really think we should get a few children to take home, but I haven't seen any for sale. Maybe that's at a different store we haven't visited yet.


The weekend

May 9th 2010 4:03 pm
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My person is having some trouble remembering when we did things. Between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon we:

Went to the grocery store for carrots and bananas (where I did okay, sigh)
Went twice to the dog park for our pre-dawn playing
Took many naps
Had a brief trip into Best Buy (where I was very nearly perfect!)
Took two long leash walks
More naps.

My person thinks she's taken a couple of steps backward in her recovery from her psychotic episode. Maybe, maybe not.

I'm reminding her to remain in the present by laying my chin on her forearm. Her typing muscles are hopping and make my head bobble a bit as she updates my journal.

Silly person...


Lazy Friday afternoon

May 8th 2010 7:12 am
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After my nearly perfect visit to the grocery store yesterday morning, we didn't do a lot. We both napped quite a bit and then went for a long leash walk at a local park.

Because I am so fabulous, I attract a lot of attention. Still, it surprises my person how many toddlers and other children run over to meet me when we are out and about. I'm so much bigger than the kids!

We meet a responsible parent with a toddler yesterday. My person is realizing just now how sad it is that this is unusual.

Fortunately, I love kids. If a small child runs over to me and my person can't intervene, I lick his or her entire face.. My person worries that I might hurt a child because I'm a bouncy dog, so she really tries hard to set up safe situation before the child is allowed to pet me.

This often entails her standing on my leash so that I cannot jump up and so that the child can retreat without me following them to apply more kisses.

Our walk was long and I ran back and forth. We worked on recalls and I galloped like a goofball to my person whenever she called me.

It was a good day. I slept up on the bed with my person and she had no nightmares for me to interrupt.


Thursday AM: Very nearly perfect at the grocery store.

May 7th 2010 8:06 am
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It was chocolate milk day and my person took me into the grocery store with her after our early morning fetch session at the dog park.

I was perfect going in. I was perfect at the milk refrigerator, where I sat politely while my person chose one chocolate milk carton, only to find it was leaking, and then exchanged it for one that wasn't.

I was perfect in the meat aisle. Not even a single air sniff!

I was perfect when my person was stopped by staff who wanted to compliment me on my improvement. This was in the produce aisle which is nearly as tempting as the meat aisle!

I waited in line perfectly at the check-out register and chose a down-stay while my person paid for the milk.

My only moment of imperfection was when the checker leaned over and said hello to me. I focused on her and thought about jumping up.

My person asked the checker to do that again while she gave me treats for ignoring her, and the checker was happy to comply. I was perfect.

My person is savoring this experience to help her get through the times when we struggle. Personally, I'm not surprised at our success. I'm a pretty fabulous dog!


Wednesday, continued: Gordo's restaurant, Target and Rally- class

May 7th 2010 7:22 am
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Gordo's restaurant

After we left the Pugnacious Pug, our people went to Gordo's Restaurant for dinner. The line of people waiting to order was out the door!

I did a really great job waiting in line with my person and Uncle Brad. My person, however, was anxious because she felt I was taking up too much space and kept trying to arrange me. There was a woman behind Uncle Brad who kept glaring at me and at my person and this made my person even more nervous about my behavior.

A toddler came in and was really excited to see me. He came within several feet of me, shrieking, and I looked at him, and then looked away. Am I not fabulous? Auntie Veronica gave the toddler's parents a brochure to help divert their attention (and by default, their toddler's).

I held a sit while my person was ordering at the counter, even though the excellent smelling food was only a few feet away. I held a sit while she paid.

I even held a sit when she was filling her cup with soda, and then I walked politely with her to our seats where Ollie was holding my place.

I didn't do a down in my corner at first, and my person was reminded that it really didn't matter what I did as long as I stayed where I belonged. I did do one air sniff at her food, and then did a down-stay in the corner.

Eventually, I stretched out for a real nap while the people ate and laughed and chatted and educated other people about PSDs. Somehow, my head ended up next to Ollie's bum. This is not the first time this has happened! Our people find it hilarious and had to hold their laughter while Auntie Veronica photographed us.

The restaurant was really crowded when we left, and there were some exclamations of surprise when we got up to go. Apparently, we were being so good that people didn't realize we were there! Yay us!


We had a little time before Rally class, so our people decided to go to Target so that the humans could use the restrooms and my person could do a little shopping. Plus, it was yet another training opportunity.

I did just a tiny bit of peeking under the stall wall, especially when I heard the hand dryer turned on. I've heard a similar sound at home, but this seemed different.

We went looking for a hooded jacket for my person. I'm embarrassed to admit that when I first came to live with my person, I had a chewing problem and chewed holes both of her jackets. I have an attraction to fabrics that we are working hard to control. Not that she doesn't still wear the jackets, you understand. She doesn't have much of a choice, thanks to me!

She didn't find one she liked, but the important thing is that I did not once try to grab at hanging items or items on shelves!!! Hooray for me once again!

It was close to time for our Rally class, so my person loaded me in the car and we were off.

Rally class at Berkeley Humane Society

Nine dogs! There were nine dogs in the Rally class on Wednesday! We were broken into two groups. Ollie was in one and I was in the other.

After reviewing and practicing a couple of new moves, the instructors created a course within a course so that the two groups could stay busy. It was chaotic and loud (one border collie does a lot of barking), but I did pretty darned good. Miss Nancy noticed that I do better with a brisk pace and told my person to practice at the same pace to give me lots of success. Slower paces can come with time.

I am really good at the automatic sit when my person stops and I weave around the cones nicely when I'm not trying to grab them to play with. My back end work is improving already!

My person was energized by the class, which was a welcome difference from last week, when she wanted to run away screaming.

Ollie, Auntie Veronica and Uncle Brad walked us to our car. Before we left, Uncle Brad gave me a massage and let me lick his face a lot. I really like him!

My person was humming along with Chopin and we were on the freeway when I dozed off. It was a long, and excellent day spent with good friends doing interesting thing!


Wednesday advertures: BART--> Petco--> Costco--> The- Pugnacious Pug

May 6th 2010 10:07 am
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We had an action packed Wednesday afternoon!

We woke up early as usual and played fetch at the dog park for about a half hour. My breakfast portion was significantly smaller than usual. I was a little whiny about it, but directed my "want more" energy to my braided bully stick.

Ohlone Greenway-- BART

We ran a couple of local errands before heading over to El Cerrito to meet with Ollie and his parents. The first thing we did was walk over to the Ohlone Greenway where the BART train runs on a elevated track above. I need to get used to the noise so that my person and I can ride the train eventually.

Well, I say we walked, but Ollie's dad rode his cross-country unicycle. That was fun!

The first pass of the train, Auntie Veronica noticed that my human was anxious and looming over me while the train passed. This is probably why I was a bit wide-eyed about it.

The next few passes, my person just tossed treats in front of me instead of trying to feed me as the train passed. I did much better with this, even if I didn't always eat the treats. We walked on a street where I could see the train when it passed, and this helped, too.

While we were on the street, we came across a couple of men working on a house. They were curious about Ollie and me, and our people took this as a socialization opportunity. One of the men had raised and trained GSDs in Europe and I really liked him. I let him hang on to my paw and handle me all over while I licked his face.

The men were surprised to learn that Poodles were being used often in service work and GSDs were being used less often. I don't take this fact personally. One of my best friends is a Poodle!

One our way back down the greenway, I got better and better with the trains coming and going above us. In fact, I started to get frisky and act like I wanted to play when one went by. My person is extremely pleased with my progress.


We wandered around a bit while Ollie's dad caught the crickets he had come for. A couple of young women saw Ollie and began gushing and had to pet him. One of them wanted to pet me. I let her. It is important to be generous to my fan base.

I almost snagged a $1.00 feathered thingy that was at mouth level at check-out, but my person rescued it before it even got damp and put it back.

We walked back to Olie's house, and then we were off to Costco!


I have a problem with pulling. It isn't that I have no concept of heeling. There were portions of our Costco visit during which I heeled exactly the way I'm supposed to. Handler and dog were one. Effortless.

Other portions, I was pulling like a sled dog, ear back and straining forward. My person is struggling to figure out the reasons why and when. She mentioned something that sounded like "head harness." I wonder what that is... I hope it's a game!

My person was delighted to find bargains on Bully Sticks and dried Duck Breast strips. I was delighted she found these bargains! I was practically perfect during check-out.

On the way out, the PSDS tee-shirts our people work attracted attention from a lady who didn't notice she was running us over with her cart in her eagerness to find out what "Guide Dogs for the Mind" meant.

Another lady approached my person to ask about where our people got our vests. My person wasn't paying attention to anything except the lady and her question, and she totally missed a Chihuahua in the baby-seat of the cart.

Well, I didn't miss it. In fact, after a moment of intense interest and common longing between us two dogs (also entirely missed by my person), I jumped up for a better look!

You'd have thought that this would make her focus on me entirely, but no! She tried to finish answering the lady's question. I still wanted a better look at that cute dog, so I jumped up a second time. Auntie Veronica and Ollie rescued us, talking to the lady and her barking Chihuahua and offering her information and a flyer about PSDs.

Ollie was completely silent, exactly as he's been trained to be, even in the midst of all the barking. Yay Ollie! My person and I think he'll be graduating to full SD status very soon.

The video Uncle Brad took of the interaction has been really helpful for my person so that she can create training scenarios to mimic this sort of thing. She also saw how she could have managed the situation to maintain my focus on her. It's embarrassing, but good will come of it.

We loaded our respective cars and then drove back to Ollie's so that they could drop off their refrigerated items before we headed up Solano Avenue to the Pugnacious Pug: soon to be my favorite dog store on the planet.

Pugnacious Pug

The first thing I noticed about this store was the Ollie was getting fed a treat my the woman behind the cash register. At first, my person said I shouldn't have a treat (How COULD she?), but when she heard that it was natural protein, she said I could have it. As it should be! Sheesh!

Though the treats were very special, we were there for the Himalayan Yak Milk Chews. You might think it was a long trip from our place on the Peninsula to Berkeley just to get Yak milk chews, but that's only because you haven't tasted them! They're the best.

Next, Ollie and I and our people go to Gordo's on Solano Ave.


A visit to the insurance office and the Aisle of Glares

May 4th 2010 8:19 pm
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After my person finally bathed, we drove south to visit the insurance office to renew our renter's insurance.

They welcomed us both and were delighted to get a brochure about me. Our agent was really glad that I was so quiet (as usual) because her four year old daughter was nearby and if she knew a D-O-G was in the room, she'd come running out to play and the agent didn't want me to have to navigate that. Bless her!

German Shepherds are not one of the no-no breeds for renter's insurance. Whew! She don't know what we would have done if GSDs were proscribed. My person is required to have renter's insurance by her apartment management. She's never read anything that specifically excuses no-no breed SDiTs from liability and she is definitely not in the mood to fight or litigate.

After our short and successful visit to the insurance company, we headed over to the local Fry's Electronics for some training. My person likes Fry's because the aisles are so wide and easy to turn around in, and the store is so large. It even has a cafe in the center.

What she didn't realize is that the world doesn't revolve around her and me. There are a lot of people out there who find dogs filthy and disgusting. It just so happened that a number of them work at Fry's.

We had no direct access challenge. There were some pretty serious glares and then there were words exchanged openly (while my person pretended she did not hear) between several of the employees, probably meant for her to overhear and skedaddle.

Of course, this made her change her direction. Instead of continuing down the aisle, she turned and walked us right past them, and then had me do a down-stay while she looked at a laptop she had no intention of buying. My person can be mean... and her confidence? Totally fake. Academy Award level. She was shaking, but you didn't hear it from me.

I have to say that I was brilliant in my role as the horrible filthy creature that shouldn't be allowed in stores. I relaxed there with my tongue lolling until she decided she'd made her point, and we moved on.

Not everyone was glaring at us. Some people smiled. We stayed longer at Fry's than we had intended to be sure it didn't look like we were intimidated by the glares.

We found a Jet Li movie on sale and will watch it tomorrow. The ladies at the check-out counter #17 liked me very much. I made it hard for them to admire me, though, because I was sitting behind my person . . . making space for her. Sheesh! She didn't realize until this very moment that that was why I wasn't sitting on her left as she had tried to make me.

I have a suspicion that I'm going to get a very special treat this evening. My person wishes she had noticed what I was doing when I did it so that she could reinforce it, but hey. The truth is that I take care of her a lot better and far more often than she realizes. We've heard from friends that when my person gets spacey, I get seriously focused.


Getting back on track with public access training

May 4th 2010 8:06 am
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Yesterday morning, after a brief nap for me, my person and I went into her office to fax more documentation necessary for disability through her company.

She finds it rather creepy, faxing off private medical records to a faceless person at an insurance company. It is legal and necessary for them to have a minimum of information to process her eligibility for disability, though. Her pdoc helps with keeping the invasion minimal. He's really skilled with ways to fulfill the requirements without supplying more information than is necessary. This helps.

My person is really thankful to have the option of Disability at all. Her company has been very accommodating and helpful. They allowed her to bring me to work with her without any conflict. They also made it possible for her to work from home when I was recovering from my soft tissue injury back in Nov 09 - Jan 2010.

She misses her coworkers a great deal: those here in CA and those in Ohio, too. Sometimes she has to fight feeling worthless because she's unable to work. Most of the time, she remembers that she's doing her best and that limitations are just a fact of her life.

After we left the office, we stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, but apparently we had already picked it up the week before. It's sort of scary for her to have problems with memory. Good thing she has me to help her weather weirdnesses like this!

After a long nap for us both, my person took me to a park by the Bay. When we go to the top of the hill, we can see SF, the Bay Bridge, and Oakland to the North, and the San Mateo Bridge to the South.

On our way back to the parking lot, she let me go into the dog park for a few minutes where I played with a lab mix.

We stopped at the chain pet food store for more chews for me. The staff there was happy to see me! I have fans everywhere, you know. There was a little girl buying a budgie to keep her other bird company and she wanted to pet me while I was in a down-stay at the cash register. Her mother thought it wasn't a good idea, so I just give the little girl my happy dog-grin.

After that, we went home. I got to chew and my person got to try to catch up on chores that have piled up while she was having her more serious symptoms.

This morning after playing fetch early, we went to Lucky's. She suited me up and we walked around the shopping center until the store opened at 6AM. I did a lot of air-sniffing when we came close to the meat and dairy section, so after we picked up chocolate milk, we sped away so that I wasn't challenged unfairly.

I got a lot of looks while my person did the self-checkout with me in a down-stay near the register, but we had no access challenges.

Later today, we have to drive South to sign our renter's insurance renewal. My person inquired into possibly insuring me against accidental loss, but our insurance company doesn't provide such policies. Ah well. I'm not going anywhere and I'm certainly not going to get lost! Silly person...

BTW -- her lip is healing quickly. Not that I feel guilty, because dogs don't waste time with such useless emotions. If only humans could follow our lead, you know?


Early morning collision -- my snout vs. my person's lip

May 3rd 2010 6:35 am
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Really, neither of us is to blame. It was serendipity, but without the positive association.

I had awakened her before 5am, which is our regular routine. I had jumped up on the bed to give her kisses and make her laugh, because she's grumpy by nature in the morning without my intervention.

She was reaching over me to turn on the light and I swung my head up as she turned her head down and WHAM! My snout and her top lip hit.

"Oh," she said. I jumped off the bed.

"Uh oh," she said when she saw the blood.

It took several minutes of direct pressure to stop the bleeding, but she assures me that it looks worse than it actually is and hardly hurts at all.

She must be telling the truth because we went to the dog park as usual, and then to the grocery store to get some coffee beans so that she can get her morning caffeine.

Not a good way to start our day, but the sun is coming up and the day will be beautiful. I'm sure we'll figure out something fun to do.


Sunday morning -- a visit to our favorite used book store

May 2nd 2010 2:44 pm
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My person got up on time this morning, no thanks to me, because I was stuck in my crate for playing tug with the bed linen last night.

She seemed to not hold it against me, though. We were out the door on time to go play fetch at the dog park next door. We played longer than usual, giving me more opportunities to flip the water bowl with my paws.

After my breakfast and a brief nap, we headed to Mountain View to visit her favorite used book store: Book Buyers

Before we went into the store, my person and I (unvested) walked all the way up and down the street so that I could have a chance to explore. After a stop for water, she suited me up and we went inside.

I did really well. The aisles are cramped and there are little plastic dividers that extend a few inches past the books on the shelves. I hit some of these at first because of the way the pouch on my harness extends, but I figured it out.

We spent time in the science fiction hardbacks and then in SF paperbacks before we wandered around looking for the DVDs, just in case there was a Stephen Chow or Jet Li movie available that my person did not already own.

We had to wait at the check-out counter while the person running the cash register did something that took quite a while. By the time she was ready to let us buy our books, there was a line behind us. My person gets very clumsy when there are people waiting on her. It didn't help that the woman running the cash register wanted my person to find a bill smaller than a twenty.

She looked everywhere and started dropping things and finally told the woman that a twenty was all she had. The sigh the lady gave in response was impressive, even by canine standards.

At least the lady liked me, so she can't be all bad. She looked over the counter and smiled at me.

After we got out of the store, my person sat down on the curb and stowed her change and put her books into the reusable bag she keeps in her purse for such things. Then she just sat there a while and scratched me behind the ears and under my chin.

My person took me off duty for most of the return walk to the car. As a reward for a job well done, we stopped at the park on the marsh for a long-leash walk before we went home. There was so much to sniff! (As usual...)

I think the rest of the day will be lazy. Maybe a walk after the sun goes down.

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