Training my Malamute Assistance Service Dogs

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Icy's New Coat

May 16th 2012 11:52 am
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Here is a photo on Dogster of Icy in his new coat:

http://www.dogster.com/dogs/1058205/photo/5523925#c omments_form

There is also one at the as his main photo too:

http://www.dogster.com/dogs/1058205

He's very happy with the fit and seems to be less hot wearing it. I made sure and made it big for him so I think he gets more air-flow going through it.

Went out on Monday with Icy. We had a great walk and meeting. Everyone thinks Icy acted well and they were calling him a hero. I think he is too.

I think they have been talking. My MIL was in town and someone came up to her that had seen it happen. Wanted to know if we were alright. He said that he thought that the aggressive dog was a goner when Icy opened his big mouth. But he didn't attack or even growl. He was also amazed at how easily Icy was controlled by my MIL and then me. My MIL talked some more. The more people that have a good opinion of what happened the better. My MIL says that the Dog Warden would have been here with the police the day after if they thought Icy had been in the wrong. So I think we're good. Maybe that dog and man are known to be trouble makers....

I was told yesterday that it is a credit to my training that Icy calmed down for my MIL till I could get to him. He has also walked fine for an elderly gentleman that I used to know.

 

Icy is a hero as I was attacked by a dog

May 10th 2012 2:05 am
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We had an interesting walk yesterday. We were about to be attacked by a dog when Icy broke free from me and faced it off. Scared it literally shittless and he herded it away from us by ROARING. I was out with my MIL who isn't all that steady and in her 70s.

I lost my balance and fell on the cobble stones and she went after Icy (who didn't go more than a few paces from me). A man out with the aggressive dog knocked her over and grabbed Icy's harness. He got pulled around in a circle until he gave him over to my MIL who was closer. He sat on my MIL and kept barking. I crawled across the cobbles to get to them. He calmed down instantly when I got there. My MIL stood up and I told Icy to "stand" and used the harness and him to get back to my feet. The crowd that had gathered seemed shocked that he calmed down instantly and helped me up. I told them that was what I had trained him for. Though I have only had one other fall while being out. The idiots with the dog staid to watch.

I put Icy's neg muzzle on and we walked off. There were a few other dogs in the area including two seeing eye dogs and he ignored them. A few people tried to help us get up but most gawked. Icy didn't touch the other dog or any person involved. He just scared the dog and the owner shittless (which was probably needed). I could have had a much worse fall if the dog had gotten to us. As it is my MIL and I feel kinda battered but no damage.

Scary. I was worried WE would be reported. But the three of us had been to my son's school for a meeting, then went to a supermarket and ate at the cafe. We had even stopped and sat on a bench and waited to my MIL to come out of a shop. It was unexpected and most of the people thought it was Icy who was the aggressor.

A lady came up to me to ask if the other dog had tried to attack and then told me to calm down and Icy was doing his job. He has been moping since we got home. Poor lad. I can't tell him he did good when he shouldn't have broken away from me. But if he did not, I don't know what would have happened.

Everyone seems to agree Icy acted the Hero. I'm proud of him.

 

About the Bond

April 25th 2012 7:38 am
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Icy is devoted. All my rescues have been close to me but Icy is like an extension of me. We were close before the training but now we're really close. Its wonderful. I think from a trainers point of view the most amazing thing about it is that he watches over me but he lets me lead. That is so rare especially for the breed. Star and I are close too but not like Icy. I always thought Cora was my "soul dog" but Icy has become that. Cora had so many issues and I think she and I worked through them. That's what I have had with all my rescues. But Icy gave up trying to do his own thing and really gave himself to me to mould. I have no experience with service dogs but if they all give themselves like this than I am amazed trainers can give them up to someone else in the end. I would be so worried about him being treated right. And what if they didn't bond like this? I mean when I went into the hospital I had spent a year dog aggression training Icy. I've never heard of another dog, let alone a service dog, that has worked through that stuff for the good of the owner so fast. Years of work in the space of one year. I just think he's amazing. We're his 5th home.....

I've actually started to think that he's the result of karma. Since I gave myself for so many souls in need (cats and dogs). He's giving back. I just leaned back and his eyes opened on to me. He knows what signs I make when I am going to start moving or getting up. *shakes head* I don't know.

I read something the other day like "If you save a soul you are then responsible for that soul." It made sense to me. I wonder if Icy saved my soul?

‎"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog... He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world...When all other friends desert, he remains."
-George G. Vest- Speech in the U.S. Senate, 1884

 

Supermarket Training

April 4th 2012 12:46 pm
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http://files.dogster.com/pix/dogs/05/1058205/1058205_1333569 231.jpg
A new photo of Icy working.

This was our family trip out to TESCO Supermarket today. It was a great trip out. My 5 year old son picked it chocolate Easter Eggs and then Icy and I sat in the cafe upstairs while while my husband did the rest of the shopping with the family. A lot of compliments for the big boy and no negatives. His second time in TESCO.

I need to buy the big boy another working reflective vest. His coat is so thick right now that the one he has been wearing doesn't fit any more! I know someone who can custom make him a vest. I just bought a new big girl collar for Star from this seller and I need to get in touch. I can't find any vests thin enough not to suffocate him that are for his size.

It was very busy today and had a lot of signs and he never looked at anything but his family. He was wonderful.

 

Icy and I went along to a meeting

March 29th 2012 9:20 am
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Went out with Icy today and I think I'm in better shape than I was last time at this building. I wasn't huffing and puffing by the top of the stairs. Icy was fab like usual and just went to sleep. Tomorrow there is an Easter thing at my son's school and I'm going to walk in with him. He'll wear his new "bondage" wire model muzzle so people feel safe. *rolls eyes* I bought this one for him in the hopes that he will be able to breathe better through it. He doesn't breathe well through his nose (poor dear). I'm keeping his cloth muzzle for other training but at the school I think it would be nice for him to breathe. *lol* I can't wait to see my son's show. I think there will be singing....

 

Night Walk with Icy

March 23rd 2012 8:16 am
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Yesterday I took Icy out for the first time since before Christmas. I was going to wait but with the toe surgery pending I thought "why not?".

So he, my mother-in-law and I walked to son's parents night at dusk and it was very dark when we left. So he got some night experience. He was so brilliant that even with my balance being bad right now, he compensated. There is quite a hill down to the school and we had no problems. :)

He was great at the school and all Jason's teachers spent some time stroking him.

So next week I will take him to an appointment with me without worry.

 

Lone Star learns to go for help when asked

February 13th 2012 7:18 am
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I have an infected big toe that keeps breaking open. It has limited my activity though I haven't posted on here in awhile because it has been to icy and slippery for me to even think of walking outdoors.

This last fortnight I keep falling (I'm assuming because of the antibiotic that I'm taking for my big toe; or it could be just that my balance is buggered due to the toe) and today I fell right in front of the bedroom on a standing fan we have. Nothing hurt but my pride and a few bruises.

My husband Dave was alseep and our 5 year old son came running up to me to see if I needed him. The first person to come up to me was Star (Icy was at my head and she came to my face) and when I said "go get Dave" she left with my son. I found out after our son woke Dave up that he awoke to Star sitting on his chest looking into his eyes. I haven't yet worked out how to teach the dogs to go get Dave (or I was going for "help" but didn't say that word today) and Star worked it out. As she is head of my nursing (apart from the humans) when I am in the house, she took on the responsibly. I don't think Icy would leave me in that situation outside but it could be useful for Star to know in the house.

 

Icy and I at the Outlet Stores

December 11th 2011 7:46 am
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Had a very frigid day out at Stirling Mills Outlet Mall last weekend. Dave got the one pair of shoes big enough for him and they were only £15. Adidas ones with super comfy souls too. We had a muffin at a cafe. Icy came with us into the Nike shop, Adidas, a toilet, that cafe and a long bus ride. In between it was like an outside mall. He was marvellous. Jason was not. It was cold and he wanted to go home. So I guess it was good in that we got the shoes, I got some exercise, and Icy got some experience.

My fears of him not looking professional enough seem to be ungrounded. Once again, no one took one side look at the big guy from any staff. A lot of comments on him but all good. It was a new place, so he was watching everything but no problem attention. He must have looked proper for those big name stores to have let us in. We had to talk to the staff at both shoe stores to find out if they had Dave's size (it's like a 15 US). Not one look or manager walk by.

It might well be my last time out on my two legs for this winter. Though we are going to try to get out our usual Monday meeting tomorrow morning. If it's not to icy or there is no snow. Looks promising today....

On the way home from the doctor yesterday, Dave and Jason were talking. Icy is a "helper dog" because he can go into shops and things. They decided Star was a "hinderence dog" as she's Icy's opposite. :)

 

Excepted at TESCO supermarket

November 30th 2011 2:15 am
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We went out in the blowing rain. We had a nice little meeting with the local authority about Jason's school. Dave, I and another parent were all that showed up. Just as well we went! We walked the whole way home without me needing to sit.

And...da Da DA...

Dave, Jason, Icy and I walked through TESCO supermarket without one bad look or problem. That's with trollies (carts) and Christmas lighting and stuff. He even walked past bones and dog treats without a look.

I was really proud of both of us. I didn't have any of the vertigo I was having with riots of colour like supermarkets of tv advertisements, and he was totally on the ball. Sat when we had to wait. Moved out of the isle with me when someone needed past. Then sat. He did look around to orient himself but I could see it was just that. No undue interest. He was on the job. I wouldn't hesitate to take him in again. I have been waiting till we were a better partnership before being ballsy enough to walk into a supermarket like I owned it. I might try and shop for something small next time. Something I can fit in my back pack for the way home.

We had a nice walk home but the wind played havoc with my balance.

 

Icy on the Bus

November 11th 2011 11:54 am
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Had a great day out on the bus with Icy. 1 hour each way due to traffic. By the ride home he knew to move his bum out of the way when people came by. He was his usual great self at the meeting and one older gentlemen (in his 80s I think) took him out for an impromptu walk. I was a little worried, though I knew he would be returned. But he was excellent and didn't pull at all. The man was all paise and he seemed to know dogs. So it was good in the long run but I don't think I will let it happen again. MY ICY!!!

We saw 5 or 6 dogs and he just wooo wooed at them when his muzzle was on and did a little barking one time without it. But no lunging or getting into his long horrid barking. It was very low key and he let me lead him by them or hold his mouth. I was very pleased. Little steps, eh?

 
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