April 4th 2010 7:14 am
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Yesterday was fabulous! We drove over the bridge to meet with Ollie and his mom for a training session. The first thing we did was greet Uncle Brad (whom we adore), who held my leash while my human went inside to meet Ollie's sis, Sabrina. I whined a little, but didn't cry. It helped that Uncle Brad is such a good person to hang out with.
My human told me that Sabrina was a love. I won't meet Sabrina personally, so I like to get news about her.
We walked through El Cerrito to a path that runs below the elevated BART track. I was happily walking along when the most horrible noise came and went. I looked around and couldn't see whatever it was. Very strange. Whatever it was, I got treats while it was there.
We met some other dogs on the path. I was surprised by an Aussie hiding in the bushes with its human. An off-leash dog came trotting near us, but did not come close enough to greet.
And that horrible thing kept coming and going. I grew a bit more accustomed to it and was able to enjoy the treats my human was feeding me. My human said she was very proud of how quickly I recovered each time.
Finally, I figured out that the horrible thing was above us, even though I could not see it. I wasn't able to completely relax while it was near, but I was less startled by it by the time we left the path and walked away from the thing that was coming and going.
We walked until we came to a creek. I sort of jumped over it and my human sort of kept her feet on the stepping stones and then climbed up the hill to an open space. Ollie and I got to play together for the first time! We ran and chased each other. It was great!
Our humans recalled us occasionally and I mostly did okay, but it was really hard to hear past the excitement. At one point we both got so excited that we both were put on leash for a break.
On our way back, I was pulling my human so strongly down the slippery path that she almost fell. She dropped my leash, expecting me to cross the stream to get to Ollie.
Ha! Silly human! I adore Ollie, but why would I cross a creek when I could gallop down it? I turned around when my human called me, but I didn't stop. Rather, I galloped up stream until I heard my human call me. I galloped down stream past her again until I heard her call me once again. When I turned around, she was running away from me!
That did it. I came running and returned to her. I was soaked and happy. My human needs to take me to a place where I can swim and play in the water.
I shook water all over her and she had to laugh because I was so happy. We walked back to Ollie's house and my human told me NOT to heel, because I was so wet.
Uncle Brad met us with towels. I love getting toweled off. It's like a game with my favorite toy: fuzzy fabric. My human buckled me into my seat belt harness and Auntie Veronica helped her set the guidance system to find an address of a restaurant where we were going for lunch.
When we got there, Ollie was already waiting and vested. My human was struggling to put on my harness when an off-leash dog approached and started barking. I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. Its person leashed it and then kept telling it not to bark. Silly human! Finally, it went away and we went into the restaurant.
I did great. I was pretty tired after our long walk and romp. Ollie and I napped while the people ate and talked. At one point, I noticed a lonely bit of food on the floor under the table and stretched to pick it up. My human noticed and told me to leave it, so I did. Sigh. What a waste!
Before we said good-bye to our friends, I got to practice ignoring a friendly person. Uncle Brad came up and petted and stroked me while my human gave me treats. We discovered that I'm ticklish on my belly and cannot currently ignore someone touching me there. Good to know, my human says. Otherwise, once again, I did fabulously.
I slept all the way home and then slept another few hours until it was time for dinner.
It was a great day and I'm so happy I got to spend it with Ollie and his Mom! We love training with them.
April 3rd 2010 6:45 am
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I was a star at our obedience class yesterday with Miss Nancy. We did down/stays, sit/stays leave its, heeling, and recall exercises and I aced them all with enthusiasm and flair.
As scheduled, my mat suddenly turned into a toy ten minutes before the end of class. However, this time, it was easy for me to leave it when my human told me to. She still took it away, of course, but this was an improvement and I got much praise for listening.
Another thing I'm doing well is picking up my leash and giving to my human when she drops it. We only started doing this yesterday and I'm already 90% with no distractions. What can I say? I love to learn new things.
Today my human and I are heading over the bridge to the East Bay to have a training session with Ollie and his mom. We're going to work on heeling with distractions near a BART underpass so that I can begin to become accustomed to the sound of the trains. I might also start working on ignoring friendly strangers if we can find people who will ignore me if I try to interact with them.
We love training with Ollie and his mom. We get good advice and a chance to set-up challenging situations. It is relaxing to be around people and pups who understand that we sometimes have to stop and work on something challenging.
April 2nd 2010 6:55 am
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If my human hadn't been out of chocolate milk for her coffee yesterday morning, we probably would not have done any public access training. But she was and we did. She took me into the grocery store after our early morning exercise session.
We should do this more often! I did really well. I did some air-sniffs because the dairy fridge is right next to the meat section, but I didn't sniff the floor. The people there really appreciate me, so I think we should go there every day! Our checker did much better ignoring me this time and I didn't break my sit at the cash register.
After breakfast and a quick nap, we went to CostCo. This was not as successful as our grocery store section. My human has decided to limit our access training to training only instead of training while running errands.
The assistant manager stopped us near the entrance. Not to challenge access, but to tell my human all about his GSD and to ask questions about me and issues specific to training a GSD. My human wants to maintain a positive relationship with CostCo staff, so she chatted with him for a few minutes. I was in a Down the entire time and just watched people streaming past.
I did pretty well heeling in the peripheral aisles when we were practicing, but when we stopped in the cheese department, I kept breaking my sit. It was very crowded and my human needed to reach past a cart to get my favorite cheese. She started to get flustered at that point from all the attention I was getting and the way I was responding to it while she was trying to do her shopping.
In the check-out line, we were trapped between a talkative woman who directed half of her conversation to me instead of my human and a woman with a 4 year old boy who was fascinated by being so close to me and kept wandering closer even though his mom told him not to disturb me.
My human needed to manage me, but was disoriented from the non-stop chatting of the woman in front of us. When the little boy stepped on my tail, I jumped a bit and then moved away. My human apologized for my bad manners in leaving my tail out where it could be stepped on.
And when it was our turn to check-out, there was a pair of fuzzy sweat pants sticking out of a box under the counter. Fuzzy fabric things are my greatest challenge, and this one was at perfect mouth level in a place my human had to stand to finish our transaction.
My human's stress went up. What was she worried about? I didn't grab at it, even though I thought about it. Silly human...
This experience has convinced my human that our next few CostCo visits will be training only. No cheese, no milk or bananas. Just walking around the warehouse, doing heeling, sits, downs, stays, touches and watches.
When we got to the car, my human unvested me and buckled me in for our freeway drive to the pet food store where we get my special kibble. We practiced walking with a cart while we shopped. We picked up a lot of chews for me, too.
The check-out clerk adored me, and offered me treats in exchange for a sit and a down. After we unloaded our treasures into the car, we practiced a bit more with cart work before returning it to the store and then driving home.
My human was exhausted by our trip. I, on the other paw, was ready for more action! Public access work is fun!
Today we have our obedience class with Miss Nancy at the BHS. My human might take me to the library afterwards because she's desperate for something engaging to read to help her detach from her current episode. I'm ready any time for more fun!
March 31st 2010 7:13 pm
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I'm all for having a break, but this is getting to be too much. Tomorrow, my human needs to take me out for some public access training!
The alarm didn't go off this morning so I had to wake her up without that cue. We were a bit late getting to the dog park, but it was still raining a bit and no one was there except for our husky acquaintances Mason and Jessica. We exchanged sniffs and a play bow or two. Mason likes me and he loves my human. Jessica likes to be left alone.
We bounded through a full play session and then went home for breakfast. I chose to nap in my crate after my post-breakfast potty break. This time, my human closed the crate's door and starting moving furniture around.
I wasn't sure I approved at first -- my world had been perfectly fine just the way it was! Soon, though I got bored and dozed between her sneezing fits while she moved tables and chairs and bookcases.
She likes our living room and dining area much better now. There's more space to play. She's planning on rearranging the bedroom tomorrow. Fine with me, but let's go to CostCo or the library first, shall we? I'm not getting any younger!
March 30th 2010 6:28 am
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I know my human wants to be grumpy when I wake her up, but she can't keep it up for more than a lick or two to I apply most expertly to her face.
We didn't do any public access training. My human wasn't feeling well enough to be in public. Something to do with things she was hearing. She tells me that this is getting tiresome, but there is no choice but to do her best.
After our morning ball games and breakfast, we napped. My human woke up and started doing household chores, I dozed in my crate. When I woke up, she was on the computer. Again.
I ask you, fellow pups, what is it with humans and computers? Sheesh. I spend half the time I work at home getting her to take a break and do something constructive, like play with me.
She took me to a local park in the afternoon for a long leash walk. We worked on the long lead heeling exercise Miss Nancy taught us, but mostly we just walked or trotted up and down hills
On our way home, she got a phone call that made her get busy as soon as we got home. She's going to help with an event. She says "there is so much to do!" and wonders if she is going to fail, but I can tell she's pleased to be useful.
After her evening call to our friend (who happens to adore me too, by the way), she played a Nina Ottosson game with me and then we went to bed. She woke up a few times in the night when it was raining really hard, but she didn't need me to stop any nightmares. After checking in with her to make sure she was okay, I stayed on the bed while she... you guessed it! got back on the computer.
Humans and their machines.
March 29th 2010 7:09 am
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Sunday began as usual, playing at the dog park followed by breakfast. I napped until I decided that my human had been on the computer long enough. After I got her attention, she settled in for her nap and we both slept a few hours.
We did some training at home: the one step heel, stay, and variations of touch. My human gave me something wonderful to chew and I was content to let her use her computer again.
There was another nap, and then we went out to an open space in a local park to work on recall on the long line. We also did a couple of heeling exercises that Miss Nancy taught us. And finally, we just ran around and played. I chased her, she chased me. I got the zoomies and she laughed and laughed.
After dinner, my human talked a lot on the phone. I spent my time far more industriously gnawing on one of my chews.
There was a final trip outside before we went to bed, where she read for a while until she dropped the book. I slept in my crate for a couple of hours, and then jumped up on the bed to snuggle. I like to sleep in contact with part of her body and she likes it too.
We have nothing scheduled for today, so I wonder what we'll do. It's going to rain the rest of the week, so we'll probably need to take a long walk at one of the parks, just to hold us over.
My human is feeling very boring. Most people she knows aren't interested in details about SD training and that is pretty much all she does. Thank goodness for our SD friends who understand the fascination!
March 28th 2010 6:40 am
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I had to wake my human twice last night. I licked her face until she opened her eyes, and then I licked her face some more until she said "stop, stop... help!" She needs me to be close to her heart after the dreams, so I stretch out beside her and get loves for a while. I don't know how to turn on the light yet, so she's been leaving it on all night. Good thing I'm a champion sleeper!
My human is becoming more confident that my soft tissue injury to my back legs has healed, and Saturday was a boost for her. I chased the ball longer than usual with a burst of especial enthusiasm at the end. No pain!
I hope she'll stop worrying about me soon. I'll find a way to tell her if something is wrong.
We napped a couple of hours after breakfast before my human had to get back on the computer. She co-facilitates an online peer support group for people with mood disorders. Sometimes this is stressful and she needs my help to stay centered and present for the others.
Fortunately, we had time for another nap before we had to get ready for our final Walking class with Miss Nancy at the Berkeley Humane Society. I have trouble walking on a loose leash when interesting things are going on around me. With few distractions, I heel like nobody's business! No hands needed!
My human has struggled to be consistent when there are distractions, but sometimes, we just have to get from point A to point B. She Releases me at those times, but it doesn't make sense to me, because that cue is for when I'm doing recall exercises, or taking a walk on the long line, or after my human has taken off my leash.
My human mixed up the time when class started and we got there a half hour early. We did some recall exercises in the class room and some heeling and stays. I was perfect.
And I did really well during class. My human learned another way to teach me to stay at her side and we did figure eights while I started to understand.
Then we did exercises approaching other dogs and then turning and heeling back with our humans. We also did a double circle exercise where several teams were walking in the center in one direction, while the other teams were walking around them in the other direction.
I did great with this! Of course, I know these dogs by now, so that helped, but I really wanted to play with Appletini, who is an occasional guest. (That isn't the way to spell that name, but please remember that I am a dog and such silly things as spelling are below my notice).
For our graduation, we all went outside and did curb work, then we walked in pairs down the long sidewalk, and finally, we crossed the street after waiting at each curb. We were all walking out in the real world together!
And I got a certificate! Now I have two from Miss Nancy to prove what a fabulous girl I am and how much I love to learn new things.
We are hoping that Miss Nancy will agree to be our official trainer. Miss Nancy said we could schedule a private session if we wanted, but that we're doing just fine. My human really feels that she needs coaching because her memory problems make it difficult to perform the exercises properly after learning them in class.
It was a good day. We did a lot of lounging, but also worked hard with training. Balance. This is easy for dogs, of course. Our people don't always get it, though. Silly humans.
March 26th 2010 7:04 pm
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My human was already awake when the alarm went off, so I didn't have to wake her up. I did, however, have to jump up on the bed and snuggle for a few minutes so that she could start the day with a smile.
She made coffee, and opened the fridge: "Hey!" She said. "Who drank all the chocolate milk?" She looked at me.
Even though I am a whiz at learning to open and close doors, I've never tried to open the fridge. (Although, now that I think of it...) Anyway, I did not take her chocolate milk. And there was no one for me to accuse because it's just us.
After she took me to the empty dog park to play chase, drop, and drool with the tennis balls, she suited me up and we went to Safeway. I frolicked a bit in the parking lot, to be honest. She NEVER takes me into the grocery store. I'm always left behind to fog up the windows.
We got some double takes, but we walked straight to the milk cooler and then straight to the cash register with our carton of Organic 1% Chocolate Milk. It was too much work to try to sniff anything.
The lady at the register forgot that she wasn't supposed to notice me. I'm so pretty that it makes it hard to remember. The lady called to me and I broke my sit because it is only polite to acknowledge one's fans. My human says we'll be working on dealing with friendly strangers sooner rather than later, whatever that means.
I had a bit of a nap after breakfast and then we got in the car (I had to wear my seatbelt harness... ick!) and drove to Berkeley for our Friday morning obedience class with Miss Nancy.
We got there early, so my human took me for a twenty minute jog to help me get the ants out of my pants (?). It helped, but when it was my turn to show my recall, I nearly knocked her over in my enthusiasm. I forget sometimes that she has a different relationship to gravity than I do because of the lateral bipedal whatchamacallit of humans. Miss Nancy said that my human should consider doing agility with me.
After class, we walked around the area and then she suited me up and we went into a neighborhood cafe for some much needed caffeine. For her, not for me.
She unvested me, and we sat outside the Berkeley Humane Society for a while and just watched people and dogs and cars and bicycles go by. And then I saw our friend Veronica! And Brad!!!! I got wiggly because I rarely get to greet them and had trouble sitting politely.
We got back in the car (and me into my seatbelt harness, ick!) and went to Target in Albany. Ollie showed his confidence in having shoppers walk over him while holding a down/stay and having friendly strangers pet him. I'm not doing that stuff yet. My challenge was to not pursue familiarity with any of the textiles within reach. I did great!!
There were escalators there, and my human kept going near them, but made no move to try to make me go on them, so I was examining them and kept getting closer and closer to the ascending steps.
As Uncle Brad said, it's a huge improvement that I had to be coaxed away from the escalators so that people could use them.
We went into the food corner and both Ollie and I tried to back under tables. I backed up a few steps until I realized that this was much different than doing it at home, and therefore not to be done at this time. Oh well.
We ended our Target visit with a recall exercise outside. First Ollie, and then I had our leashes held by Uncle Brad and then we ran to our people when they called us. We were both fabulous at this.
We said good-bye in the parking lot and I slept all the way home. It was a busy day. I think I'll go take another nap.
March 25th 2010 5:03 pm
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Is there anything better than a sunny spot and time to snooze?
My human and I have not done anything lately other than the basics: chase tennis balls--> eat--> nap--> walk--> nap--> eat--> nap-->walk--> eat--> got to bed.
Well, we've been doing some work with "touch" and "watch," and opening and closing doors.
March 24th 2010 5:39 pm
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Yesterday started in the usual way. I woke my human up so that she could throw the tennis balls for me. I got an abbreviated breakfast, though. Only a tiny bit of kibble and a little soft food.
My human was rushing around and I was so glad when she got my leash. She dressed me in my seatbelt harness (ick) and we drove away. It was pretty boring, so I was napping until we stopped and Jolanda and her mom got in! I was so happy to see them that I was at the end of my tether giving kisses and interfering with stowing of gear.
Jolanda stayed in the footspace of the front seat, but I could smell her and see her mom, so I was content. We almost never have people in the car with us. Something big was afoot.
I dozed and when we stopped, we were at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Polar and his mom was already there. We recognized Polar from his photo in his Dogster account. Just when I was jumping out of the car, Zeus's mom drove up. I could hardly wait to greet her, and then there was Zeus!
Rethy and Ollie and their people arrived soon and while we were greeting and exchanging sniffs / news, a bus pulled up and the Sheriff driving stepped out. I liked him. He have me treats that tasted just like the ones my human gives me when I do something well.
And can you believe it? All of my friends lined up and got into that bus! I didn't like it that my human wanted me to follow her up into the bus. I refused a couple of times, but then let myself be coaxed up. Those steps were deep, and narrow from my perspective. I was a bit more willing to get back off than I was to get on. But only a bit!
We went for a walk with the others to help expend some of my nearly unlimited energy. Then it was back into the seatbelt harness (ick) and on the road.
Sacramento International Airport
I wasn't surprised to get out of the car into a parking lot, nor to go inside a place that had automatic doors and lots of people, but I was surprised when my human walked toward escalators. I wasn't certain I wanted to climb the stairs that were sandwiched between escalators, but they turned out to just be ordinary steps.
We dogs had to work extra hard to keep our people stable while we waited around one of the baggage claim areas. Then we trotted over to get in a line of people and bags. It was Security. My human was flustered and disoriented. She leaned on me to take off her shoes and put them in a bin with her purse.
Finally, it was our turn to go through this gate thing. There was a nice young man on the other side telling my human what to do. She got really flustered when she heard she needed to send my treat bag through the same place as her shoes went. I didn't know what was going on. She asked Aunt Nicole to hold my leash and stepped through the gate thingy. Nothing happened, and she called me through.
The nice young man needed to check my pack for explosives. I don't know what explosives are, but my human was happy to comply. I wanted to kiss the young man, but my human reminded me where my focus belonged.
I just followed my human while she collected her shoes and purse and someone reminded her about my treat bag (thank goodness!!!) and we moved past the confusion and found the others. My human had to sit for a moment to put on her shoes, but she needed to stay sitting to get her bearings.
When they were able to walk again, we headed down the terminal to the end where "our" plane would be arriving. We squished together in facing seats in the waiting area. I kept infringing on Rethy's space a bit at a time, so my human took me to an empty area to wait a while.
Suddenly, everyone was up! Our time to get on a plane had come and we had to hurry because time was short. My human and I ran down the hallway thing and stepped on the plane.
I don't know what the big deal was. The plane never took off. We moved around a bit and sat in different places. My human wanted me to curl up in a small foot space. Instead, I tucked my head under the seat in front of us to sneak a sniff of one of the other dogs.
The people were nice and happy to see us. Of course! Who isn't? They learned how service dogs can be of any size and the difference between an ESA and a PSD. Ollie and Jolanda's moms passed out fliers about service dogs like us.
And then, just as suddenly as we got on, we lined up to get off the plane. I was last as usual, because I have this problem with pulling and my human has stop to help me remember I'm supposed to be heeling politely.
Then it was a sprint to the parking lot! I wouldn't potty on the grass nearby, and made everyone wait while my human loaded me into the car. On the road again.
The Coffee House
We met Rethy and her Mom at a coffee house and squashed together with our people on a sofa and chairs. Finally, a chance for a proper nap! My human needed the coffee because there wasn't any room for her to take a nap with me.
My human woke me and this time when we got to the car, she took off my harness. She was not thinking clearly and almost left it lying on the grass next to the car!
I slept and slept during the drive. We diverted to SF to drop off Jolanda and her mom to meet with Jolanda's dad. The smells were different and I had to stay awake to examine them. We said good-bye to Jolanda and her mom, then it was back on the freeway for home.
It was a successful event! I had to work more than ever before for my human and she kissed me and said "thank you, my little monster," so I must have done okay.
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