Training my Malamute Assistance Service Dogs

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Icy goes to my 5 year old's class

November 8th 2011 11:33 am
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I did some drawings of how Icy helps me for my 5 year old son's class. They teacher showed them to the kids and they talked about them. The class was very favourable and his teacher was all praise. As a result of the drawings, I mostly answered questions about his fur and things about him as a dog rather than his job. I didn't expect that at all! It was cute!!

Icy was perfectly at ease in front of about 15-20 students. He just wanted his muzzle off! There was also an older kid with autism (I think) who was lead in and gave Icy a good massage. All the kids gave Icy pats, kisses and hugs.

Some of the older kids that saw him in the hall thought Icy was a polar bear!

When we left, we went to the playground (it has wood chips on the ground) and Icy had many a good roll and pushed his snout into the muck trying to get the muzzle off. He seemed to have a good time, and I was sitting down, so I let him get on with it. It was funny!

He was totally relaxed and because he knew the path to the school, he even reminded me of the opening in the wall to the school. I had walked right past it! There were a lot of leaves on the ground and I slipped three times but Icy was there to be my solid support.

 

Professional Physio Opinion of Icy

October 24th 2011 6:29 am
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Icy and I went to our normal Monday group. It ends next week so I'll have to find something else for us to do on Mondays. He knows his days of the week! There was a physio there today and she saw that I have some movement in my drop foot. This is really good news and means I'm doing well working with my body. She also professionally thought Icy was brilliant. That's always good to hear.

She agreed that my back is getting more of a work-out and is in less pain because of Icy. He was really on the ball today. She had a bed to check me out on and Icy stood up (without me telling him or being on the lead) to give me the handle on his back to help me up. He also go up and moved over a few inches when I asked him to. She also saw us walking and on the stairs.

I've been nervous about showing him to doctors and physios in case they think I'm trying to take the easy way out or something. I know when she walked in she thought maybe I was using him just as emotional support. And then she saw him actually working. It was nice. I think there is a niche here for dogs that are not seeing eye dogs or hearing dogs but mobility dogs.

 

New photo of Icy and I out and about

October 15th 2011 6:11 am
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He was so good today. We had a 45 minute bus ride, then we had a two hour meeting and a car ride home, then a walk. He heard sirens, children, push chairs, motorcycles, cars, buses, bikes, and other dogs. You name it and this dog is great. He's to be helping me out.

Here's a new photo from yesterday October 14th. http://files.dogster.com/pix/dogs/05/1058205/1058205_1318682 383.jpg

Icy in his reflective vest with his mobility harness on. I got a thin vest so it wouldn't be so hot and bothersome to him. We get a lot of great comments from professionals as well as bistandards and I haven't had the problem of people coming up to pet him. My mobility is improving the the point where I no longer have the back pain.

Star had a great time while we were out with 4 different people to get attention from, she didn't howl once!

 

Icy to be Service Doging it at my son's school

October 4th 2011 5:48 pm
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I was officially released from the physio/occupational therapy departments yesterday. I am doing so well that my doctor has left a slot open for me if I need to see him but otherwise I'm to continue my own thing.

My 5 year old's school has oked Icy to come in with me in his service capacity. So I have the freedom to go as I please with my big white boy. We'll try it next week. So pleased! This means so much more freedom for me and I can teach the kids a bit about service dogs. Icy will wear his muzzle to start with.

The school has "No Dogs" signs posted around so I asked permission. They thought it was a great chance to show how to relate to a service dog.

They usually don't let you take photos but maybe they can take one at teacher night on Tuesday. It's nice to be at such progressive school. and I have 6 years with them :) I'm hoping in less time than that he will be a regular dog and I'll be walking both my honeys. *fingers crossed*

 

I fell for the first time while out with Icy

October 1st 2011 11:58 am
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I fell on Wednesday when out with Icy on my own. I was stupid and over extended how far I could go and had a hard time getting home. Dave and Jason helped but it was Icy that got me through. We were on a incline and I turned around to see what Icy was whining about. It was a dog coming up behind us on a lead. Anyway, a lot of people wanted to help but I told them I had to learn to do it on my own. So eventually I got on my knees and told Icy "up". He stood like a rock and I used my crutch and his harness to get up. Now this is something I had been meaning to practice with him but hadn't yet. He's so amazing with everything but other dogs. So I guess from now till he stops loosing his top when he sees another dog near us, he'll wear his hated muzzle. I figure I can take it off in buildings. He'll learn. It's all instinct. Dave couldn't believe it. He wondered how we could walk at all. Its like a haze clouds his brain. I'll give it to Dave though, he trusts me to keep at it. Anne for once is all behind me.

The local Dog Warden stopped his van to speak to us personally. He was nice but police officerish. This was before the incident in the park. Anyway, I'm sure he'd heard about a tall woman with a big white husky service dog. He wanted to know the breed and who I was training with. At least now I know that you can train your own dog legally. Wanted to know his age. He said maybe he'd check up on our progress. Like I said, nice. There can't be any complaints about us. He's been excellent apart from barking at a few dogs.

I still stand by my decision. If it had been Star out with me, I would have worried I would hurt her by using her to stand up with. Icy is all muscle and a big guy. He just shrugged it off. We had a few more practices with it on the way home as I had to rest a lot.

I'm taking Icy to our usual Monday meeting.

 

Service Dog Icy Alerts Me to a Car

September 26th 2011 6:16 am
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I just got back from my weekly meeting (not AA). *lol* Icy wore his new mesh reflective vest. No photos. I'll have to take some next time we're out. Dave thought he looked like a gay clubber without his mobility harness on. It worked though. People stayed their distance and said how nice a dog is without touching him.

Believe it or not; Icy noticed a car I hadn't seen coming toward us on a street. Slow but it was coming. It was him constantly looking in that direction that twigged me to it. :)

 

White Alaskan Malamute Service Dog's First Time on the Bus

September 21st 2011 8:33 am
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I had a great time out with my big pal Icy. We walked to the bus stop and rode the bus to the Health Centre and back and an elevator up and down. He rode both like a pro. We even walked by a cafe in the Health Crentre and he didn't even look at the tables or food. Then we waited in the ward for a little over an hour. Icy drank from a cup and had a dog treat.

He was itching to leave by the time we left but he was very good and continued to pace himself with me. He lay the whole time or sat between my legs and watched people. It was raining buckets. It's not a day I could have gone on my own; the distance and the wettness. I wasn't jittery even when I found we were there on the wrong day for the appointment!! He got lots of pets and praise from strangers. In general they kept their distance. Oh I used an ATM too while he sat. At least now I know I can do it. Everyone was very accomidating.

I talked on the phone with Star. She did a lot of talking! Dave said she was a little calmer afterward. She still howled the whole time. Just walked around complaining. *lol*

 

Mobility Harness has Arrived for Icy

September 8th 2011 3:27 am
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http://files.dogster.com/pix/dogs/05/1058205/1058205_1315503 452.jpg

Icy got his proper Mobility Harness. It's like horse tack. It's got thick wool on the chest strap and under the "saddle" bit in the middle. It's stamped "Service Dog" in the leather. The handle is really sturdy, so if I need support I can use it. It heavy but lighter than what Icy had been carrying in his pack so he wasn't bothered. He knew when he saw the box that it was for him. Mom got an extention to the main handle in case he was lower than I thought, which he isn't. But its good because if i needed to, I could use the gear on another shorter dog. We also got a had leather handle that clips on to the many clips on the harness, for Jason to use.

Last night he stood "ready" for a half hour while I walked around him and took photos. He knows that when his gear is on that he is to be still. I think the first thing I am going to teach him is how to help me up. I think I will lie down on the floor (near a table or couch for help) and then say "Help Up". I want him to lie next to me with the handle or stand and let me use him for my left hand and the table for my right to get up. I think that if we practice enough that if I have a fall outside he will know what to do.

Thursday is out "taking the dogs out day" so we'll try it later today. We'll see how Star preforms for Dave because she might need a Halti with her.

Hopefull photos of video to follow.

 

Out with my husband Dave, Lone Star and Icy

August 31st 2011 8:37 am
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My husband Dave and I took the dogs to the memorial garden. I walked Icy and he walked Star. There were lots of people and cars about. Even some loading into stores. Icy was great and we worked on "ignore", "working" & "release". It was great practice with Star yapping behind him. He's the King of Cool. Not one woof out of him and very focused.

We even had to get off the sidewalk twice for buggies and an old lady in one of the motor things. They both sat very well. Dave gave no commands but Star did everything I said. I was pleased. And with Icy and I in the lead it puts her in her place more. They both got a workout. Star is carrying 1 kg of weight in her pack and Icy has 3 kg. Icy's new harness is on its way from the States. It will make my life easier as my back is sore! But it was very good.

We will take them out again on Friday. I had planned on taking Icy to TESCO on Thursday but we are not up to that yet. We'll keep with this Monday meeting, Wednesday and Friday out with Dave and Star for awhile I think. I am also spending more time downstairs. I want to always be down here when Jason comes home from school. It doesn't sound like much but its a lot of work for me. :)

 

August 29th 2011 10:35 am
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I had a great day at my group with Icy again. We practiced the commands that a friend with a Service Dog gave us to work on. He was a pro. He wouldn't even look at someone who wanted to pet him till I said "release". We even saw another dog and he shut his trap when I said to "ignore" it. He lay at my feet with his lead on the floor and was perfect. I walked with him around the room without my crutch.

Thursday I am hoping to take him close to Tesco. There is a smallish but busy steet (proper crossing) to cross and then a treed path. I am hoping we can go into Tesco Supermarket from there.

 
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