Training my Malamute Assistance Service Dogs

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First day of training

September 10th 2010 9:54 am
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I just got back from being in hopital for 5 months. I hade double pneumonia and had to be put into a coma. When I woke up I could only move my eyes. I am now walking with a Zimmer frame. I hope to be without one soon. I also have a wheel chair.

I have found a charity that helps train existing pet dogs to help their disabled owner. I am hoping for some pointers and if we qualify with their training I will be able to take one of our dogs shopping with me. I figure I just have to see if they get scared off by my two being Alaskan Malamutes. Dog A.I.D

I tried some Service Dog training with Star this afternoon. I used Jason's small tiny guitar and after the second "pick up" Star did it! Took it in her mouth and has done it for both my four year old Jason and I for maybe 8 times just for paise. She seems better without a treat reward because she gets to loses her focus.

I'm so proud of Star! Icy fained a bad leg and wouldn't even try.

 

Training Star to be my Service Dog

September 30th 2010 2:04 am
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Star has been in Heat for the past few weeks so we have let the training go for then. Apart from me training the dogs to move out of my way when I am walking with my frame.

I am so proud of Star!

Last night, in the middle of the night, I was on my way out of the bathroom. Star saw me coming and moved her big heavy bone to the side. Just droped it and moved to the side for me! I haven't even taught her that yet!! I'm so proud of her! She just looked concerned and I gave her lots of positive attention.

I just had to share!

 

The Plan for Now

October 23rd 2010 12:05 pm
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As soon as I feel strong enough I will start training Lone Star for being on the leash while I use my walker (later my wheel chair). I've been thinking about it and I have a hiking leash that was Ookies before she died, I can attach it around my waste and then I will have my hands free for wheeling or walking. Apart from the odd pooing incident (she has a sensitive tummy) she has been very attentive and obedient with me. I know my husband Dave is worried about me trying it but if I have trouble the upstairs hallwall is the place to have it as I can catch myself. She'll also learn how to sit next to me when I'm on the toilet. I think this is the way to go right now for both of us to learn to work as a unit.

I will post photos when we start training in this way.

 

First day of leash training with a walker

November 3rd 2010 11:27 am
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I did my first leash training with Star today. It worked just as I figured it would and she was very good about letting me through the door first and walking next to my Zimmer Frame. Today we sat in the bathroom for while (while my 4 year old son was in the bath) and then walked back to the bedroom. I'll work with her along those lines very slowely for now and eventually I will use her downstairs too.

The aim is to hopfully take her out with me when I leave the house.

 

Choclate Collector

December 8th 2010 8:56 am
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I got Star's grear shorted out! I got her the pack on this page http://www.activedogs.com/outward-bound-excursion-backpacks. html a leash and a tag saying Service Dog on it. I got the red/clay colour and I have a patch that a friend is making me with her face and name on it; that I'll attach on my own. There's a good book called "Team Work" that I will buy when I get more holiday money. Star gets fixed on Thursday the 9th (tomorrow).

Star certainly has the natural instincts for it. Today instead of scarfing a chocolate bar she found, she brought it and dropped it at my feet! This is new behaviour for her as she normally eats just about anything and everything. When I came upstairs from exercising she hadn't eaten Jason's dinner either and she would normally have (especially as it was meatballs, sausage & spaghetti). Mind you Icy was good too and didn't go for it either (though he would have had the chocolate).

I can't wait to start really working with her. She's probably the smartest dog I've ever had and she WANTS to help. Without a lead she's been walking at my right side (bad side), right at heel position. I've hardly taught her anything yet and not how to retrieve or heel. It's all her as I know when we adopted her she had never worn a collar before!

 

Star has been spayed

December 13th 2010 7:36 am
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Star was spayed on Thursday the 9th. She is doing well and her stitches look good today. A little blood this morning but just a tiny drop and I've kept her earth-bound all day and resting (no small feat!).

The physios now say that they feel I will get all my mobility back and I may not need Star's help for long. But in my experience she should help give me the confidence I need to trust myself in crowds and stuff! Her gear is apparently on it's way through UPS International Priority. I need to check when it is due to arrive! I'm excited! I figure I'll have Icy wear his pack in the house too so he doesn't feel left out. Maybe he'll want to join in with his pack on! He does love that pack....

I'm not used to fear but I was afraid after the physio told me that on Friday. When you wake up and can't move or talk you have to be ready for a life in a wheel chair. I've been working and fighting but in the back of my mind I was ready for the worst. To hear that it will probably not happen (assuming I don't have a fall) was a lot to take in. I've been focusing on little goals but to hear that they all add up to me being able to walk my son to school was amazing.

 

Tuesday is the Day

December 15th 2010 5:20 am
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On Tuesday is Jason's Christmas Sing-A-Long thing at his preschool (nursery) and I'm planning on going in the wheel chair. I'll have my husband push (in case of ice) and I'll take Star for her first outing. She gets her stitches from her spaying out on Monday so I think even if her gear arrives by then, she'll be to tender. So I will send a message with my husband or MIL so they know she's a Service Dog In Training just without her distinguishing gear. I have a lead that can attach around my waist that I use so my hands are free for wheeling or using my crutch.

I think before the snow hits again on Friday I will take her out in the back garden and get her used to being out with me and Icy used to being alone in the house. I dunno what his reaction will be when we leave him. He can get himself quite stressed over little things.

The physios now say that they feel I will get all my mobility back and I may not need Star's help for long. But in my experience she should help give me the confidence I need to trust myself in crowds and stuff! Her gear is apparently on it's way through UPS International Priority. I need to check when it is due to arrive! I'm excited! I figure I'll have Icy wear his pack in the house too so he doesn't feel left out. Maybe he'll want to join in with his pack on! He does love that pack....

I'm not used to fear but I was afraid after the physio told me that on Friday. When you wake up and can't move or talk you have to be ready for a life in a wheel chair. I've been working and fighting but in the back of my mind I was ready for the worst. To hear that it will probably not happen (assuming I don't have a fall) was a lot to take in. I've been focusing on little goals but to hear that they all add up to me being able to walk my son to school was amazing.

 

That Plan is Scarpered

December 15th 2010 11:36 am
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That idea was not good. Gonna go slowly with her and I. Maybe I'm not even up for such an event yet. I doubt she will after having stitches removed. To optomistic for my own good & hers.

 

Waiting....

January 9th 2011 9:04 am
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I've had to halt my training plans for now as I am waiting on a new leg splint. The old one is very painful and I still use it daily but not as much. The weather has also put a halt on me getting outside as it is all ice and snow right now. I would love to be out playing with the dogs right now!

As my physios seem to think I will have full mobility back, I have now revised my training ideas to training both dogs to help me in the house. I am still waiting on Star's pack and that book "Team Mates" which I had to order from the US.

I plan on walking each dog on a lead around the house first and then the back garden. Then i will take them one at a time to a little park near by. There is total sidewalk the whole way and it's flat. I'm hoping to work myself up to maybe taking them both at the same time and getting our distance up. For the beginning I will work on reminding them of their basic training. Both have packs that they will wear and I will build up their muscles that way again like I did originally with Icy.

So that's the plan for now. As I'm sure you can see, my plans are fairly fluid at this point. I'm still amazed I will not be needing a Service Dog outside the house.

Will power is everything.

 

The other day....Star helped me stand!

January 24th 2011 6:35 pm
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My physio progress has been so good that they think I will be fully capable of going out on my own. So now I have decided to train both dogs to help me around the house. Icy is great indoors but he had a real aggression problem when I first adopted him that made me edgy about using him as any kind of Service Dog. Star is young and getting there.

She still has the urge to help even though she doesn't know how yet (I bought that book "Pack Mates" but I'm waiting for it arrive). A few days ago I fell and my husband was trying to get me standing so I could sit on our bed. Star lept onto the bed and put her paws on my shoulders to support me. When I sat down she moved off. I'm dead serious. My husband attributes it to be bid for attention but she wasn't excited, just worried. Icy just thought "let the man sort it out". Though when I was on the floor both of them would have helped if they knew how.

So I think that is going well. I think I have managed to re-bond with them well. My plan is to have the two dogs wearing packs in the house. Icy loves his pack and Star's should be here any day now. I can start them off caring some light stuff in their packs. Before I got ill I had Icy up to 10lbs distributed between sides of his pack. We'll slowly work back to that. It will give them a little more purpose and exercise while I am getting able to walk them.

As I said before I will start by walking them one at a time around the house, then the garden, and then down the sidewalk to our park. It's not far but it will be a lot of work. The park has a sidewalk I can walk on while the dog is on the grass. I'll take them one at a time first; and maybe take my husband along with Icy as I don't know if he will go back on his training. We had gotten to the point where he no longer looked at other dogs. It took over a year but it was much better than him lunging at a distant dog. I doubt he'd do that with me now but better be safe than sorry. Both dogs are very attentive to how stable I am and what I need. As I am to them

 
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