BORN TO SERVE - My Life Of Being A SERVICE DOG

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Service Dog School - Week 20

March 26th 2006 2:08 am
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WOW!!! What a fantastic day at school. Coco and I get to take our PUBLIC ACCESS TEST on Wednesday, March 29th. Apparently they think we're ready for it. Yea... BRING IT ON... I've been waiting for that test for the past 18 months.

All of us did great in our routines, but man did I do an awesome job. Mom was so in sync with me today. I was the one who went first. I did everything right... I walked around the room next to my mom when she dropped the leash completely on floor. Mom had just a happy voice today and I really liked that instead of her being a DRILL SERGENT!!! The balls were flying off the wall and I had a hard time listening to my mom saying "LOOK AT ME".. She forgot to stand in front of me and I'll remind her during our practice sessions. I'm tired of cranking my head to the side. Another thing we had to do was to go too one corner where I had to sit and stay. Then mom walked away and I couldn't see her at all with all the tables, people and dogs in my view. Oh, I can see her if I look at the mirrors. OK.. she's in the corner on the other side of the room... Then BAM!!! Shadow "COME"... and off I run to find my mom with my tail going 100 mph. She gives me the biggest hug and kisses and gives me a treat. Next I had to walk to the center of the room where there was a plate with food on it.. Mom said "LEAVE IT" and then she told me to "SIT" and I never even looked at it because I was looking at mom. Then the food was put in my face.. it took a few seconds till I looked away towards my mom. I did the back up with no problems... No problems either for the paws up and the Sit at the door while my mom disappeared. I'm so excited on what I did that I can't remember everything I did... Only that I did them correctly. I even did the "take" with a rubber bone.. I put my teeth on it and that was better then doing NOTHING... I even did the "lay down" from 4 ft. It took mom a couple times to tell me, but I did it. Joyce told mom to count to 45 before saying it again. OK Mom you'll learn how to do it. The last thing we did was the group down next to each other and then walk away. Sophie was a perfect angel the 1st time.. the 2nd time she came over to greet me and I got all goofy... Mom corrected me and then finished doing what I was told.

So, today shows me that I can do many things right and really, really have to work on the TAKE command. I want to graduate in Dec and I'll have to work extra hard..

Will tell you how I did on the Public Test that I take on Wednesday. I then get the school's TRAINING vest...

See ya

 

Service Dog School - Week 19

March 19th 2006 1:28 pm
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Well, we had no school on March 11. We had bad weather and so it was canceled. Arizona hasn't had any rain for 143 days and boy did it rain. We had over three inches in our area. Many roads were flooded and our dirt road looked like a running creek.

So, we did have class on the 18th thou. We went over our commands and have learned to do the "look at me" with a bouncing ball next to us. That was hard to ignore. All of us did really well in class. All of us still can't do the "take" command.

Following our exercises we went over the certification test. Oh my, WE HAVE TO DO THE "TAKE" COMMAND!!! We have to learn to pick up our leash and walk with it in our mouth. Also, we have to pick up items from the floor. We were told that it could take 6 months to a year to learn it. All of us doggies and our owners were saying - yea... right... So, we have to work at it. Also on the test is the down command from a distance. We were taught today not to say our name... just say DOWN... We also have to take a walk down our street. Only problem is mom can't with the rocky, dirt road. It causes to much pain in her leg to walk on an uneven surface. So, maybe they'll allow us to do it on the grass. Also, we have to go to a nearby mall for the rest of our exam. They'll even throw food on the floor to tempt us. They'll do that home too. Guess I really, really, really have to work harder. You only get 2 chances to pass the test... If you don't - you can never take it again.

So, back to practiing. Mom had to take a couple weeks off due to taking care of her 1 yr old grandson. So, she'll have to do it during his nap and after he goes to sleep at night.

See ya...

 

Service Dog School - Week 18

March 7th 2006 10:45 am
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At our class on Mar 4th we got to watch the video taken the week before. It was interesting to see what we were doing correctly and what needed to be corrected. So, it looks like we did really well for being in a differant room when the video was taken. We discussed what could be done to make us not look like "robots" with a leash at one end. We have to learn to get extra cuddles and excitement after our folks are done with each command. Mom also has to use a more firmer voice when she says certain commands. So, she'll learn that when we practice at home.

The next thing we did was go too JBs for lunch. It was a real surprise to see Sophie acting like a lady and resting comfortably next to her mom. I just did my thing by laying down next to mom and going to sleep. Poor Coco had a bad day. She's been in restaurants before, but was shaking like a leaf with her tail between her legs. She wouldn't sit at all. After her mom's lunch was served she packed it up and took Coco home. Hope she's OK..

We're going to be starting to go too more outings and don't know where yet. We do have an event planned on 1 Apr and that should be fun.

I'm still having problems with the "take" command. I sure hope I can learn it.

See ya all on the 11th

 

Service Dog School - Week 17

February 25th 2006 8:05 pm
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Today we had to do our class in a very small, crowded room. The room we're normally in was overbooked with a Birthday Party. We talked about the law that they're trying to pass that would require Service Dogs to fly below or the owner pay for any extra seat. I sure hope they don't pass it because I'll never be able to fly with mom and mom would loose the right to travel.

Joyce decided to video tape us that we'll review in next weeks class. On an easel board she had all the commands and it was up to us to do them without any help. Jake took notes on what he saw wrong and would tell us at the end of the class. Everyone did really well except for poor Sophie. She's just a happy go lucky Golden with a mind of her own. Mom didn't seem to have to much of a problem with me except with the TAKE command.

After we were all done we were told that we shouldn't have done the come command where we were placed by our handlers. We should have been sitting where mom was calling me too.. and we should have been sitting there and mom should have been standing where I was sitting.

Jake talked to all of us and told us what we have to work on. I was told that my mom shouldn't have bent over to do the UNDER, never drop the object for the TAKE command, and mom should use more of her voice instead of her hands in the ATTENTION command.

So, mom will be working with me again all week. She's getting upset with me because I don't like the TAKE command. I hate putting any object other then food into my mouth. Mom will just keep working with me on all my commands and especially the ones I hate..

Next week we're going to review the tape to see what we did wrong or right. Then we'll be taking off to JBs Restaurant for lunch. The only one in the class who hasn't been in a restaurant is Sophie. That's going to be an interesting lunch.

See ya...

 

I'm An International Star!!!

February 24th 2006 12:10 am
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Yesterday my sissy got her Irish Dance Magazine in the mail. This is an International magazine for Irish Dancing. Mom sent in a photo of me wearing my sissy's Irish Dance tiara from her solo costume to the magazine (published in England) last December. Mom thought they wouldn't put it in the magazine because I'm a dog and not a real Irish Dancer. Well, mom was looking at the magazine and I WAS IN IT!!! I was in the candid shots with dancers from all around the world. You can see the picture of me here:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/Feismom/Shadowweari ngKatestiara2.jpg

They had the picture with a number - Then you looked at the words for my number - Shadow, Phoenix, AZ - His First Oireachtas... They should have said I was a Service Dog, but who cares... I'm now an official Irish Dancing Service Dog because I got my picture in an International Irish Dance magazine...

 

Service Dog School - Week 16

February 20th 2006 10:24 pm
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I was a bad boy in class on the 18th. No matter what mom did to hush me up I wouldn't. I did OK in my routines. I guess I had an off day. Mom was up all night on Friday because my oldest sissy (I met her last May at my Nana and Papa's 60th Wedding Annv) called telling her that she had to be out of the home she shared with her boyfriend by the 24th. Sissy has two lovely boys.. One is 6 and the other will be 1 on Mar 3rd. So, mom was on the phone for quite sometime trying to calm her down. She told sissy that she'll come to Arizona to get the help that she needs to get back on her feet. At first sissy didn't want to, but gave in. Mom was so stressed out that she wasn't even thinking straight in class. So, she only blames me on the talking and herself on the little mistakes in the exercises. By Sunday mom had the airline tickets to have them fly in on Thursday. So, it's still crazy around here, but getting better. I can't wait to see my buddy who's 6. We had a blast last May. The little one was almost 3 months old and I couldn't play with him. Mom said I have to be really careful with him because he's just learning to walk.

Today, Feb 20 I went out to the Mall with mom and her sis-in-law (mom's brother & his wife came for a week vacation from the Upstate NY area). I must have walked 10 miles BOL.. BOL.. BOL.. and I had a blast. What ever I did wrong in class on Saturday disappeared today. Mom even took me into a Pet Store to see the doggie's in the windows... I only uttered one little whine and man I heard mom in a stern voice... SHUSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH.. and so I didn't dare say another word...

Hopefully, next Saturday I'll have a better day..

See ya..

 

Disability Expo and the Feis In The Desert

February 11th 2006 10:09 pm
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On Wednesday, Feb 8th, we went to the Disabilty Expo at the Phoenix Civic Center. The only dogs that came from our school were the ones from our class: Sophie, Majic, Coco and Shadow. Sophie and I were the only ones who sat at the school's booth. There were other dogs from differant organizations. It was a good testing day for me to HUSH. We walked around to see the other exibits and saw many interesting things for the disabled. When we came in they gave us a bag that we could use to collect stuff at the differant booths. Also, they gave us a raffle ticket stub for you could have a chance to win a door prize. Well, mom heard her number called and she went up to see what she won. She had the chose between an autographed Mercury basketball, tickets to a Roadrunner game and 4 family tickets to see "Disney On Ice".. Mom chose that and she'll keep me home that night because the floors are very narrow where you sit. So, basically no room for me.. I'll stay home with my Nana. Had a great day at the Expo and we left around 2 PM...

On Saturday, Feb 11th, we went to the Feis In The Desert. We only stayed in the Championship ballroom because sissy was dancing. I was so good. Mom took me out on breaks and I would just return to lay down and go back to sleep.

Sissy did better with her dancing this time. She took 4th and took home a lovely crystal (ruby color) bowl. Oh, during the treble reel special (sissy didn't do it) I was sitting up and watching the dancers go one at a time doing one step. My focus was totally on the dancing feet. Well, when the last dancer finished the whole group of about 20 dancers did this awesome step together and I HOWLED!!! Since everyone was clapping and I couldn't I used my voice to cheer the dancers on. People in the back of the room couldn't hear me, but mom could and some of the people next to her. They thought it was so cute that I was cheering them on doing it doggy style...

Well, next week its back to the classroom. Still working on the TAKE command. I still HATE IT!!!

See ya...

 

My First Wedding

February 5th 2006 5:54 pm
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On Saturday, 4 Feb 2006, I attended my first Wedding. The Wedding was for my sissy's best friends, John and Ann. Sissy has known Ann for 11 years. They met at the Feis In The Desert in Feb 1995. They've participated in Irish Dancing for all that time. They've been 2 hand partners on and off for 8 years. John started Irish Dancing about 4 yrs ago and Ann helped teach him to dance. From there they became close friends and then fell in love. Sissy got to know John thru the Irish Dance group called Gaelic Thunder. Gaelic Thunder performs at the local Rennasaince Fair held every Feb - Mar. Sissy was in the troupe in her Senior year in High School. Since then she hasn't had the time to participate.

I've known Ann for 18 months. Mom brings me to dance class if she takes sissy. Sissy doesn't like the rush hour traffic and if mom takes her they can take the diamond lane all the way to the exit they get off (try a 60 mile trip from home - Sissy is very dedicated to Irish Dancing).

I knew most of the people at the Wedding since I see them at the dance studio. I was really good on going out for a quick "outhouse" on the grass. I also got to meet another Service Dog named Karma who's a Standard Poodle. I only did a quick hello and when mom said "shush" I got the message to hush... At least I'm getting better at it. One of the bridesmaids mom is in a wheelchair and uses Karma to help her out. So, two of the bridesmaid moms have Service Dogs (sissy and Robin).

After the Wedding we went on a short trip to a hotel for the Reception. Mom said UNDER and I went under the table. I stayed put until mom had to go somewhere.

The Wedding was a blast and I was SOOOOOOOOOOOO good...

On Wed we go too the Disability Awareness Exibit in Phoenix. That should be fun... No class next Saturday... Thank goodness since I have another Feis to go too...

See ya on Wed..

 

Service Dog School - Week 15

January 28th 2006 10:57 pm
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Today was an awesome one at school. We listened to our lecture that covered our trainers conference trip last weekend in San Diego, CA (disability forum) and she got to bring back some goodies for us. We all got a toy. Then Jake asked Coco to come up and he wanted to show us how to do the stay at the door - walk out - come back - walk around in a circle - another stay - walk away and out of site before returning. Man that looked like fun. So, they asked me to come up to do it. This shouldn't be hard because we do the "WAIT" and the "STAY" (we alternate - Wait (standing) Stay (sitting) everyday as mom exits the house - the front door, garage door and back door - she covers them all). So, I go over to the door and Mom says Shadow SIT/STAY and goes outside the door and turns around to face me. I'm totally fixed on my mom. Then she comes back reinforcing STAY. Mom picks up the leash and we walk in a circle and mom says Shadow SIT/STAY and she exits out the door and DISAPPEARS!!! I stretch my head over to see where she went and I didn't move from my sitting position. Then all of sudden mom reappears and says Shadow STAY. Then I went back to my seat while Sophie tries it. Both Coco and Sophie did pretty good, but I was the best one who did it correctly.. YIPPEE!!!

Then Jake called me up to do my routines first today. He grabbed the sand timer (2 minutes) and told mom to do the LOOK AT ME command and to hold it for two minutes. Mom usually doesn't hold any treats and today I was HUNGRY for treats..... but I really, really, really focused on mom. Everytime I broke the LOOK AT ME mom got me focused immediately onto her. Jake was counting how many times we broke... He said "half done", "almost done".. DONE!!! I only broke 3 TIMES!!! Yippee!!! Then I had to walk Shadow to the door to do PAWS UP... I did it PERFECTLY!! In fact..... I almost opened the door by the pushing on the lever.. Hey maybe I'll be able to do that in the future.. Then back to the other corner to do the Shadow SIT/DOWN... SIT/DOWN.. SIT/DOWN... SIT DOWN... YEA ... I wasn't clinging onto moms leg (mom worked with me at home in front of the mirrors for I wouldn't be afraid of my "doggie image".. woof.. woof... Then I had to cross the room and mom put me in the Shadow SIT/STAY and she walked back to the other side. Then she came back to me and then we went back to the other side. Then mom walked away again. Then Jake put a nice piece of sausage on the floor between my mom and me... Mom said Shadow COME... and I ran -- She did stay Shadow LEAVE IT, but I know better not to look at it and I ignored it 100%. Then mom took my leash and we had to walk and she dropped the leash in front of that good smelling sausage... Mom did say Shadow LEAVE IT, and I did ignore looking at it and just walked by. Then we went back to the table and mom said Shadow UNDER and I went right under the table.. She said Shadow DOWN and I laidd down for her... Jake forgot to do the TOUCH command... Ooopppppsssssssss mom hasn't been working on it. I touched a towel a couple times and that was about it... So, back to more training on the TOUCH command. I also refused to do the TAKE command. I usually do it when I want to do it... OH BOY... mom says I can't do that and so she still has to work with me on that... I just don't like taking things in my mouth unless its a biscuit or my dinner. I go to chew on one of my toys and I only put it in my mouth for a few seconds and leave it... So, mommy really, really, has to work on the TAKE command...

Sophie was up next. She's such a goof ball. She wouldn't keep focused on the LOOK AT ME command. When the 2 minutes were up she had over 12 violations of not staying focused... Jake said that all the dogs have to do it with less then 10 mistakes of staying focused. He said Shadow is the only one so far who can do it the best and we should all strive to beat Shadow's record of 3 violations of not looking at me... and getting back to focus ASAP like Shadow... Sophie did good on some things and totally blew it with the LEAVE IT command... She went right up to the sausage w/ her mom yelling LEAVE IT!!! She had to actually go and take her away from the scene. She did it again when her mom dropped the leash. She had a hard time doing the UNDER command and wouldn't go under until her mom sat down and then it was still a struggle.. Sophie even went to the other side of the table. So far I'm the only one who can go under and lay down before mom even sits down. I've been doing it for 1 1/2 years... Oh...my birthday was on the 22nd - I turned 2 years old and I can't believe that I've been training every day for 18 long months and loving every minute of it...

Coco was the last one up since Majic didn't come to class today. Coco is doing very well in most areas and did the same thing as Sophie... Going up to the sausage. When I'm home my mom puts food on the floor and I actually will walk around the couch to avoid it when mom says LEAVE IT... I totally don't go near it.. It tooks months of training for my mom to get me to ignore it. I once was like Sophie and Coco.. I would go after the food... Not anymore. Mom puts food on the coffee table, chairs and floors and then tells me to LEAVE IT... All part of our future testing.

Then class was over...... My mom brought her nephew who's visiting from Colorado to the class. He was blown away with all the commands and how the dogs did them. He was totally surprised on how much I have improved since the last time he saw me. Mom took him out to lunch because we got out of class late. We went to the Village Inn restaurant near our home. Mom's beautiful watch she got from her daughter and son-in-law for Christmas broke just before we went into class. Kay Jewelers was near the restaurant. I was the first Service Dog to go into the new restaurant. I was on my best behavior. Mom said Shadow UNDER and I went under, turned around and laid down. There was some nice looking crumbs under the table and mom said LEAVE IT... I then put my head on her foot and went to sleep. When we were leaving the staff started asking questions about my breed.. They all said I was beautiful... Mom told them that I was a boxer/lab mix and that my daughter came up with BOXADOR for my breed. I showed some of my commands and they were all impressed... I love showing off. Then we went to Kay's and had to leave the watch there... Mom hopes it will be done before next week, but it could be as late as the 10th of Feb...

Next Saturday I don't have class because my sissy is a bridesmaid in a wedding for her best friend from her Irish Dance School. They've known each other for 10 yrs now... So, mom is going to the wedding too. I was going to stay home because my granny wanted my mom to have fun without me. Thought it might be easier in case someone said something about a dog being there. Well, the bride said you're bringing Shadow because I'm formally inviting him. So, I get to go too my 1st wedding on the 4th.. The 4th is also my nana's 84th birthday. I'll give her a birthday kiss. My mom is going to get me some Irish print material and make me a bandana for the wedding... I'm hoping she'll get me something that is sparkly.. The Irish bandana would be OK (can use it for all the March events that honor St. Patrick), but a fancy one would be better for a wedding. So, mom will let you know what she got and will take some pictures of me at the wedding....

On February 2, 2006 we have an outing for the Legislative Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Phoenix. So, mom has to go and she gets a free lunch. My mom's nephew will be coming too for mom can use the diamond lanes to avoid rush hour traffic.

Then on February 8, 2006 we have another outing for a Disability Expo at the Civic Plaza in Phoenix.

Because of that all day event we don't have class on the 11th. That's good because mom is taking me to the Feis In The Desert - Irish Dance competition to see sissy dance. I love the competition. I get loads of hugs from the kids when mom gives me permission.

So, I'll write back about each outing that's coming up... So, no school until Feb 18th...

See ya.........

 

Service Dog School - Week 14

January 15th 2006 1:44 pm
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School was so much fun yesterday. We got to watch a movie on the "TAKE" command. They made it look so easy... yea right... Mom keeps working on it with me and I still "hate" it.

We then had to go thru our excises. Sophie was the first one up. She did OK in some areas and others she still needs to work on. Then it was Majic's turn. We found out today that he's a Flat-coated Retriver. They look almost like a Golden, except that are black and smaller. He did really well on his exercises. Then it was Coco's turn. There was great improvement on the responding of the commands. I was the last one up. I was doing OK until mom had to make me sit and lay down. I can do it, but I kept sliding closer to mom. Otherwise I managed all the commands.

The next thing we had to do was all line up and sit next to our mom's and dad. Mom gave Jake a 2 min timer my sis got for Christmas in her game. We then had to do the "LOOK AT ME" for the whole two minutes. As soon as mom caught me looking somewhere else she put me right back into focusing in on her. Jake then told us to put all our dogs into the "SIT/STAY" command and walk away. This was the first time we had to do this. It was a test on seeing how we did with distractions. Well, Sophie decided she had enough of sitting and got up to greet me. Mom clapped her hands and said "SHADOW - COME" and I ran to her and sat on her right side. The other dogs also obeyed and returned to their parents. So, they decided to try it while laying down and only being half away from them. Then we were told to have them "COME". I ran really fast and got on my mom's right side and sat.

We then went back to our seats to pack up for home. Mom was talking to Jake and he said I'm like "VELCRO" the way I cling to mom's right side. He was stating that it could be a separation anxiety problem. Mom told him that she leaves me quite often and I'm usually asleep when she gets back. Then mom did the "SIT/DOWN" command again & I did it perfectly. Mom thinks its the mirrors. She thinks I don't like having another dog so close - hahahah - it's me.. I think Jake was thinking that way too because I did them perfectly away from the mirrors.

Well, no classes next week because our trainer will be out of town. We got an email from her stating how good we were doing in class and that if we keep it up we could become a certified team by the end of the year.

Mom is going to keep working on the commands and putting more effort into the "TAKE" command.

See ya in two weeks...

 
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