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...
January 8th 2006 12:12 pm
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We haven't had a class since the first weekend in December. Instead of classes in the month of December we had outings. You can read my diaries for those.
On to the good news... Sophie, Coco and I are now in ADVANCE TRAINING... We also have a new dog named Majic who was in another advanvce class and they thought he would do better with the three of us. Majic's dad is in a wheelchair and that will help us to not be afraid of them. Majic is a mixture of lab and something else... Really cute, furry dog... Majic's dad was so surprised on how quiet (except me - duh) the three of us were and that we all accepted Majic. As for my talking... Mom says SHUSSSSSSSSSH for me to be quiet. After a few minutes I settled down and went to asleep. Instead of NO... mom just says SHUSSSSSSSSSSSH to get me quiet.
We watched a movie from the Dog Whisper - Ceaser Milan... Mom watches that show when she can get a chance and has corrected me with some of Ceaser's training methods. They really work.... SHUSSSSSSSSSSH is one of them.
We have classes at a new location. It has wall to wall mirrors, bright & sunny (skylights). Jake said is Shadow brown? Mom said yes... you can really tell my true colors in the sun light. I have a little brindle that is covered up by my vest. My top of my head to down along my back is really dark.... looks black, but could be a very dark brown.
We only watched half of the movie.. We'll watch the rest next week. We were given a movie to take home and watch.
Then we went over our excercises. Majic was first, Sophie was 2nd, I went 3rd and Coco went last. We all did very well. The only thing that was said to mom was that she was to say "LEAVE IT" when I went by the dogs. Mom isn't allowed to give me a yank.. only the LEAVE IT command. Mom and I are both new at this that we have to learn from our mistakes and move forward from there. So far I'm the only dog that can come back to my mom and park my butt on her right side. The others just come and sit in front of their moms and dads... I've been doing that for over a year and I know that's where I'm suppose to be. I just have to learn not to rub my mom's leg w/ my head thou. I like to do it because I'm telling her "I love you"... So, mom has to work on that.. Otherwise, I'm doing really well. I also got to show them that I can go under the table w/ ease. It takes awhile to learn it and mom trained me really well because I have to stay under the table during all meals...
Well, that's all for this week... See ya all...
December 30th 2005 3:01 pm
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We went out to the Spectra Mall for another outing on Dec 28. We were to meet up with Sophie. Coco was on vacation with her mom. Joyce and June were there along with Roxy (June's SD).
Before they arrived mom had to meet up with her VA Rep to talk about the harness that she has to order at the same mall. Once mom gets my harness then she won't have to meet anymore with the Rep because all of her needs have been met reguarding mom's Independent Living requirements.
Our group ordered lunch at the counter. Sophie and Wendy went to the Costco counter and the rest of the group went to Charlie's Sub shop. Mom didn't have a problem ordering at all. We've done so many food stops in the past 17 months that it's nothing new to me. Sophie on the other hand has never been out for a dinning experience. When she came back her mom told her that she put her paws up on the counter and got scolded for doing it. Joyce said that is definately a no no and to practice with her with food around on the kitchen counter. I only once did a counter search and grabbed some steak off the counter when I was around 4 months old. Mom caught me and took a newpaper roll and tapped my butt slightly. She mostly did the snapping in her hand. She said in a firm NO - BAD BOY!!! I never did it again and I now stay out of the kitchen during the cooking unless mom fixes my dinner.
Joyce and June had the chance to watch me and mom ordering our food. I just sat next to mom and then we walked back to our seats to wait for our order to be ready. Mom is still sore from her near fall the other day and Joyce went and got her food. I laid down next to mom and she never even looked at me while she was eating that wonderful smelling steak sub. After lunch we took a stroll in the Mall and Joyce took pictures of us working. It sure was a fun day.
Our next class is on Jan 7, 2006 at a new location. So, see ya all back after that...
December 19th 2005 9:12 am
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On Saturday mom took me to the school's annual Christmas Party. When we got there we saw Coco and Sophie from our class and went over to talk to them. Mom talked to Wendi and Wendy (yes - 2 of them) and I said hi to my school buddies. Mom put me in the under command & I obeyed her. There were about 12 dogs there and that was the most I've ever seen in one enclosed space. Mom got her school shirt today and she'll wear it to other events for the school.
Mom talked to others and they wanted to know about our trip last month. We had to wait for a very long time for our lunch to arrive. When it did there was enough to feed a flight squadron (Mom was in the Air Force in the 70s). Mom and I went up to the line and got her food (Italian). She went back and ate it up. She wasn't very hungry to eat a huge meal at 12:30 PM.
After we were done Joyce came around with a card with our name on it. On the back was our numbers for the gift exchange. Mom had #2. Wendi was 1st and she went up and grabbed a bag. She had to open it and it was a cute Penquin that sang and danced (the theme of the gifts was that they had to move). Mom was next. She either could take Wendi's or pick up her own. So, she went up to pick a bag out. She got a dog (looks like a bull dog) with a biker hat and jacket (motorcycle gear) holding 2 Aces in one hand. Mom pressed the paw and it sang "Gambler" - the famous Kenny Rogers song. It took about an hour to get thru all the gifts. Some did take others and some didn't. Mom got to keep hers. It sure is cute. Our other Wendy took the gift mom got from one of the people there. She wanted it because it had 3 dogs on it... One golden, 1 small black dog (I'm actually brown, but look black) and a spoted dog... Why it was neat was that we have those 3 kinds in our class... Oh, Tahoe finally got the boot. They were told to try next year when Tahoe settles down and gets more mature.
There was so much food left over that mom took home a huge salad and a huge pan of pasta.
Mom took Sophie and Wendy down to the bus stop. It was the first time I had another dog in my car. I thought it was pretty cool.
Well, the next time I write it will be next week - the 28th - That is the day we're having our first lunch as a group.
December 12th 2005 9:33 pm
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Well, we went on the 10th and 11th to the 7th Annual McElligott Christmas Feis at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. It was held outdoors in a covered area on the tennis courts. Saturday morning was really cold and mom had all these bake goods and supplies to set up the Baking Contest. Mom is still upset on the way the Feis committee handled where the contest was going to be held. At 1st they stuck us out in the pavillon where the posted awards were going to be held. The concrete was soooooooo cold I wouldn't even sit on it. The hotel staff gave mom a blanket for I could lay down. Mom stayed there for 2 hrs until the lady in charge and some others moved the table and everything else down to the dancing area. Mom told them she would be down soon because she had to meet the judge. The judge came and then we went down to the dancing area.
The Celtic plates mom had done for the awards were beautiful... Too bad there weren't very many competitors. Mom had 3 goods entered - An Irish Christmas Cake (aka fruit cake), Traditional Soda Bread, and Tea Brack. Then one family came (actually 2 children) came with their Non Tradtional Soda Bread and Tea Brack. I stayed on the blanket while mom was talking to the judge about the score sheets etc... Since mom had bake goods entered she told him that she would be back later. So, mom went down to watch the dancing. My sissy would be dancing in a short while so mom wanted to stay close.
The judge had fun judging the bake goods and gave some excellant comments. Mom finally got to taste her fruit cake that she made. It was her first attempt. She said it was yummy... I couldn't have a piece of it.. Mom won a first in her Traditional Soda Bread (duh - only competitor), 2nd in her Tea Brack and 1st in her Irish Christmas Cake (duh - only competitor). The people in charge never helped mom and she was suppose to sell the goods by the slice. She sold some and then just covered up the breads to let others take them. They never paid for the plates and so mom sold some of them to try to get some money back..
I got loads of loving from all the dancers.. Even the judges loved me. I wore a Santa collar (it had jingle bells on it) and four little things with bells on my legs. Everybody thought I looked cute.. duh.. mom says that all the time. Mom would walk around to let me do some of my exercises. Dang.. I never get a day off..
The weather was nice and warm by Saturday afternoon. I got to see sissy dance and she didn't even place - bummer... Sunday was overcast and was a little bit cooler out. I got cold and started shimering and mom covered me with her jacket. The only part that stuck out was my nose.
It was a fun weekend.. I love the music now.. It doesn't scare me anymore. My next adventure for Service Dog School is this coming Saturday - Dec 17.. We have a Christmas party with the other doggies from our class plus others who have graduated from the school this year and from the past..
I'll see you after the party... They have a gift exchange for the handlers (like mom).. She got something really cute and I've seen it and really like it..
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/Feismo m/ShadowTheElf2.jpg (I'm an Elf)
(I'm an Elf)
(Hey - Cover Me Up)
(Hey - Please Cover Me Up)
(Mom's Irish Christmas Cake)
December 5th 2005 1:05 pm
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Today we met up with Coco, Sophie, Tahoe and Roxy (Certified Service Dog from Happy Tails) and Joyce, our trainer. Mom put on my boots before we left the house because I have tender paws. I don't like to be on hot or cold concrete. Plus I like them a lot.
When I arrived I saw June and her Service Dog, Roxy. Roxy is a beautiful German Sheppard. I said hi with my little whine. Mom told me to "settle". I wouldn't sit down on the cold concrete. I finally did and mom praised me a lot. Then Tahoe came out of the vehicle barking and lunging at Roxy and me. I didn't say a thing, but stared at Tahoe for being naughty. Then we saw Joyce, our trainer, come to the Mall entrance. Sophie also was there waiting for us to cross the crosswalk going to the Mall. Tahoe was behind us. When Tahoe crossed he started barking and lunging. He almost took his handler down. She corrected him, but he kept doing it. Joyce was talking to us and Tahoe kept it up. She finally told that Tahoe had to go home. The school will not tolorate out bursts from any dog.
So, Joyce and the rest of us went inside the Mall and walked down toward one end that had benches. We all sat and talked. Joyce was checking to see how we handled ourselves in a Mall situation. I layed down next to mom. We also exchanged cell phone numbers.
Then we were given some papers with dates on them - HOMEWORK!!! They contained all the commands we've learned in class. It had under each command an area with three repetitions x three sets. It had numbers 1 - 5 next to each one - One being BAD to five meaning EXCELLANT... It means I have to do three repetitions for each command three times a day. That shouldn't be a problem because mom has being doing that for months. Only now she has to mark me from bad to excellant. Joyce said to make it more interesting to do all the commands once thru & mark. Then do them a second time thru and then mark and then do them a third time thru and mark them. She told us to do them the best way for we won't get bored doing them. Also, for the LEAVE IT command we should put it in differant locations - floor, table, chairs etc for they can learn it that its never allowed anywhere. Also, no one in the house is to give him Service Dog commands - only mom is allowed that privilege. Also, now mom has to leave the door open and give me the WAIT command. Then mom has to disappear for about 3 to 5 min (she'll set the buzzer on the stove). Then she's to walk back and tell me to WAIT.. then she'll give me a TREAT!!! A HUG!! and tell me that I'M A GOOD BOY!!!
So this is the list of commands that I have do 3 times thru - 3 times a day.
ATTENTION: LOOK AT ME
This weekend I have another Feis (Fesh) to go too. It's called the McElligott Christmas Feis put on by my sissy's Irish Dance School. Mom has to run the Baking Contest because she's in charge. She's going to be busy all week finishing up her bake goods. Since she has a professional Bakery Chef coming to judge she can enter her three bake goods she entered - Traditional Soda Bread, Tea Brack, and Irish Specialty Cake (she made an Irish Christmas Cake and its been in the fridge for over a month getting a brandy bath every 10 days).
So, I'll write some more on the 12th and talk about the Feis.
December 5th 2005 12:32 pm
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For class on Saturday we went over the laws concerning Service Dogs. We learned about the ADA laws and the AZ laws. We also got to watch two videos concerning access to Hotels and Restaurants. Mom learned more on how to handle situations when you're denied or have to move (segregation).
Next week we have an outing on Monday to a Mall. This will be a one hour class to see how we do.
We didn't do any of our normal tasks and we will have only 2 classes this month and 3 outings - Mall Court, Christmas Party, Mall Store and 1 class.
November 27th 2005 9:51 pm
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School was fun on Saturday.. Only I wasn't very good on listening to my mom. We both made silly, little mistakes. For example... Mom forgot to put her arm thru the leash loop... Then Jake knocked on the door and we all jumped up and guess what.. I took a walk and mom got in trouble... She had to go fetch me... Today I called up first. I did most of my things right, but mom depended to much on the leash in some of the exercises. I know how to back up, but I didn't pay attention and kept turning around. We had one exercise where we would walk across the room & mom would drop the leash and I had to stay on her side.... Cool - I did it with no problems. On one of my sit - stay - come commands I took a journey to another dog and mom raised her voice with a NO (apparently mom is using that word to much and has to learn to control it) and was snapping at me. When she said it in a cheerful voice I came. I guess I had an off day and will get back to the home training by doing more. Today we had a "mini" test on becoming a service dog - things that we covered in class... Mom has to hit the books more because some of those questions were hard... We also had the UNDER command - no problem with that one.. I've been doing it since I began my training - I have to lay under the dinning table every night. The newest material is the "TAKE IT" command. They gave mom this paper towel roll with a rope for our training. Only problem - I WON'T TAKE IT!!!! Mom tried for 5 min and I wouldn't open my mouth. She'll keep trying and hopefully one of these days I'll learn it..
See ya next week
November 24th 2005 9:51 pm
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I did an awesome job for my first airline trip on the weekend of Nov 18th. We flew on a United Flight and they were awesome. They did require a health certificate and proof of that I was a Service Dog. During the security check at the Phoenix Airport mom set off the buzzer. Her metal knee sets it off all the time. So, mom and I both got wanded and patted down. I didn't mind the pat down at all.. I sat up during take off (between my mom's legs) and then I settled down for a long nap. The flight was only about an hour and half. The attendants thought I was beautiful and couldn't believe that this was my first time flying. When we got off the plane they brought mom's bags from the overhead compartment and gave me a set of wings.. ahhhhhhhh
The Irish Dance competition was HUGE!!! There were over 1700 dancers and then you add in all of the families... try around 4 - 5 thousand. I managed really well navigating around the crowds and even learned how to press the handicap button to go outside. It was kinda hard to press and I only was able to do it a couple times. The fact that I did it was awesome. We also saw a Guide Dog on Saturday in the one ballroom we were in. Then I saw her/him later in the hotel lobby area. I started my little whimper of chit chat.. Mom said "Shadow - Ignore - Walk on".. I didn't say anything after that.
When we went into the ballrooms to watch the dancing I would sleep under my chair for hours on end. Mom usually sits up front because there were less people crossing our path. I would let mom know with a little nudge that I had to go out.. not a whimper at all. People were impressed by my looks, temperment and how well I worked for mom. When mom had to get up I would come really close to let her grab my collar to get up (can't wait till I get the harness).
I would sit in a corner of the elevator when it was packed elbow to elbow.. I would go back to the room.. mom took off my gear and I would go to the dresser where my treats were and would do a paws up - then sat down to get them. Then I would start running from the bathroom to the window... back and forth to just let loose from working.
I had no problems until Sunday during my sissy's competition. I was there for almost four hours - taking a 5 min break and then back to the room... The musician was about 5 - 7 ft away and never said anything for the 4 hrs when I was sound asleep under the chair. My sissy didn't recall and mom was sitting with some friends while she watched their daughter dance in the final rounds. All of sudden one of the teachers came over and asked me to move to another area of the ballroom. Mom politely told them that it was against the law to segregate me from my friends etc.. She told them "NO". So, mom didn't move at all. The friend mom was with have 2 daughters that were petting and loving me and are allergic to dogs.. only if they touch them.. Well, they never had an allergic reaction to this extremely clean dog. Then another teacher came over and told me I have to move. She said that the musician has Asthma problems. Mom still said "NO" and she was carrying on so and disturbing the parents whose kids were still dancing that we left the room altogether. I went for a walk to vent some steam. Then we went to another ballroom to watch the awards ceremony.. no complaints all weekend until that musician raised a stinker about me being in the room.. People are so stupid when it comes to having a Service Dog in the public arena...
We had to go to a Sizzler's across the street from the Hotel for dinner meals and they all thought I was great.. Many people came over to say that they saw me working at the Oireachts (O=rock=tus) and thought I was an amazing Service Dog.
Mom also had to show the health certificate and the letter stating that I am a Service Dog when we checked United Airlines. The check-in at the San Francisco airport was worse then the Phoenix one. They wouldn't believe mom that her knee set off the buzzers. Mom put me in the Wait Command and then mom crossed thru the machine.. Guess what - It went off!!! Then we both had to be wanded and patted down. This time it took 10 minutes to get thru the Security Check point. Our return trip on the United Flight was great. This time I was laying during take off and then sat up for the landing.
We had to use a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel (never was on one of those - we live in the country and have no bus services) and back again. I didn't mind the ride at all.. even thou it was quite bumpy..
Mom said I did an awesome job. You would think that I'm completely trained.. Which now I think I can really be called my Service Dog... I don't think we'll have any problems on completing the program..
November 12th 2005 10:13 pm
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WOW!!! What a day for me at school. I arrived early and opened the classroom door to find Sophie having fun off the leash. Sophie and her mom got there about an hour before and so she let her have some fun time. So, Sophie had to be rounded up to be settled down by her mom. I'm not use to dogs playing and so I kept my cool.
Then the trainers came and we talked about "Target Training". This covers the subject of learning to touch things (objects). It's also an "Attention" command like what I use - "Look at Me". Well, they asked my mom if I knew how to touch other things on command. I'll do it once in awhile and mom is really trying to teach me it. So, they took a stool out and placed it in the middle of the room and I had to go over too it with my mom. Mom said "TOUCH IT" and I did.. She praised me.. asked me again & I touched it again. They saw that I was trying to do paws up onto the stool and asked if I could do it.. WELLLLLLLLLL what did you expect - I DID IT!!!
The next thing we had to learn was the "BACK" command (going backwards). Joyce asked my mom if I knew how do it.. Of course I do - I got run over by a shopping cart months ago when I wouldn't listen to mom when she backed it up.. She asked and I ignored.. Silly me learned that command pretty fast. So, they had chairs lined up with the seats facing the center and the backs toward the wall which had enough space to walk your dog thru and ask for the "BACK" command. June & her dog Roxy (they're graduates of the program) showed how its done with a scooter. Then I had to go up to show them that I could do it. I did it in front of the seats & not the backs of them. Mom walked me up to them and I walked along all six chairs and then she said "SHADOW - BACK" and I walked backwards all the way to the first chair.. YEA - Mom said "Good Boy" and gave me a treat.. Then Coco went up to try it. She only could do a couple steps backwards, but at least she tried. Then Sophie tried it and she only managed a couple steps. Tahoe wasn't there today....
Then we had to go thru our routines that Jake gives. Coco went first and he did pretty well in some areas and in others he needs some more practice to learn them. Next up was Sophie. They put a harness on her w/ a handle to see how her mom could handle it. She did pretty well in the exercises and just needs more practice to master them. Then it was my turn. I went to the center of the room and Jake told me to sit. So, mom gave me the command "SHADOW - SIT".."SHADOW LOOK AT ME".. Jake was explaining to the other students that they will all have to learn to stay in that position for a few minutes. So, I did just that because he didn't give mom the next exercise. He also stated that I'm looking and waiting for the commands - I'm so intuned to my mom & I love looking up to her to do anything she says. Then I had to do the "SHADOW - SIT - SHADOW - LAY DOWN - SHADOW - SIT" for three times thru. No problem there. Then I had to walk in the room around the chair and come back and do the same commands again. Next I had to go do the "SHADOW - PAWS UP -OFF" on the chair. The chair was rocking and I jumped off really fast. The second & third time I did it correct because I figured out that the chair was rocking. The next thing I had to do was the walls up and I did that three times (SHADOW - PAWS UP - OFF). Then Jake put the meat on the floor and I had to walk by it.. "SHADOW - LEAVE IT - GOOD BOY".. Then he did that crazy thing by putting the meat in my face and mom had to do the "SHADOW - LEAVE IT - LOOK AT ME". I finally did it after a couple times (I better learn to do it the first time she says it - Mom told me that we're going to do something differant and have someone else hold the food instead of her). Then I had to walk over to one corner to do the "SHADOW - SIT - STAY" and mom went to the other corner of the room. Then she said "SHADOW - COME" and I came right over and parked on her right (I'm the only one in the class that can do that). Then I had to walk over to the corner again and do the sit - stay - come.. Only this time Jake put the meat on the floor while I was walking back. Mom said "SHADOW - LEAVE IT" and I ignored the meat all together. I just wanted to get back to my moms side. Then I had to do it again and this time mom had to go to her seat and call me.. and there was that meat in my path.... I just listened to the leave it part and went under the table and sat at moms feet and she told me to lay down. It was at this time that Coco's grandma asked about me on why I'm so advanced in my training. Joyce then told the class that I had a private trainer for a couple months when I was really young and that I've been working out in the field of over a year. Well, she said that its amazing to watch me work.. YEA... Jake said that we'll find something to trip me up.. Mom told him that picking up items will be one of them.. He said that's the hardest part of the training and since I'm smart I should be able to learn it.
Also, today I was better in the chatting department. I now have to learn to "shut up" in class. At least I only do it for the first five minutes. Joyce told mom to do it at home. Only problem is I don't talk at home because there's no other dogs around. I know I will settle down soon or latter.
The class then ended and mom packed up. We left and did the "WAIT" command at the door.. Love school!!!!!
Well, next week I'm going on my first airplane trip to San Francisco, CA. Mom's really nervous that I might be bad.. I'm going to show her that I will be a good dog. Also, Joyce told me to call another graduate who had a problem flying with her Service Dog. She got stuck in the airport with all sorts of problems and missed her plane. So, mom is going to call her to find out what really happened for I won't have any problems. She's flown loads of times and this was her first problem with flying with her service dog.
So, I'll see you all again on Nov 21st and will let you know how my trip went..