Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wow what a week we have had and adventures galore

This week we are working on obedience, Rally O, Public Access Training, pushing buttons (handicap door buttons) and distractions.

Mon - Tues we worked on basic obedience. Ara is feeding Luke all on her own now. She gets his scoop of food puts it in his bowl, then tells him to sit (waits until he does) then tells him "eat" (which he then gets up and goes to his bowl) and she puts the scoop away.  Ara is also teaching Luke a new task, she will tell him "lick" when ever she is sad or needs sensory input, she will then put her hand/arm out in front of his mouth and he will lick her sometimes she will say "lick" and bend down for him to give her kisses.

Wednesday - we worked on more obedience and had outings to Big Lots and ACE Hardware. He did very well with stopping at the intersection and even "herded" Ara to the side of the parking lot isle (closer to the parked cars) so we were not in the street.

Thursday - We went to the zoo (love those free passes) with Abuela and Papa. We all had such a great time and Luke did very well. At the tiger exhibit we had one little hicup, we were watching one tiger on the far end and another came up that I did not see and startled Luke (startled me too) he barked but I quickly told him leave it and we moved away from the viewing window to the benches. I put him in a sit and had him to "watch me" exercises. After a minute he was calm and laid down, the Tigers by this time were drawing a crowd because of how active they were. We got up to leave the exhibit and everyone was like "oh that is why the tigers are so interested in us there is a dog". We continued on our way and as we finished up at the zoo we got many compliments on how great Luke was doing and what a pretty boy he is. **It was very hot that day and I made sure Luke had on Mushers Wax to protect his paw pads, we also had a collapsible bowl for water and took a lot of breaks** Here are some pictures: (remember to keep scrolling down for the rest of our week)

Friday we took a day off just to relax since he had worked so hard on Thursday :)

Saturday we went to Bozeman and visited the Museum of the Rockies and Children's Museum. We worked on pushing the handicap automatic door buttons, some are harder than others but he did very well. We got to see a very cool live Gecko display, Dinosaurs, Indian artifacts and more. The employees were awesome and Luke ignored all the distractions. Here are some pictures (keep reading on for Sunday)

Sunday - We needed to go grocery shopping so we headed out to Lucky's and Walmart. Lucky's was a quick trip and uneventful (yay) and then we headed to Walmart. Luke was on the top of his game the entire trip, then we saw another team. Luke did great ignoring the other dog the first time we passed them but then they came around a corner and their dog wanted to play/meet and so did Luke I was able to quickly get Luke turned around and headed in the opposite direction and refocused. He did whine but did not excitement bark (this was huge for him). Once he was refocused he was back to the top of his game and did great waiting at the self check out. We did some polite greeting of the employees since he was not actively working at the moment (Ara was helping me with checking out the groceries).  After dinner tonight I put up my newly made Rally O signs and posts and did a 7 station course in our back yard. Then we worked on more "paw touch" for pushing buttons. I will be getting a video of this up in the next couple of days for everyone :) 

It was such a great week full of adventures, proud moments and good training opportunities. It is amazing how much freedom Ara has now to explore the world around her with Luke by her side. These two are going to make an unstoppable team. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Week of the Big Test

So this week was a big one. I have already done a post about Monday's Therapy day so I will finish out the week in this post.

Through out the week we have worked on the items on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test in preparation for Saturdays CGC Test.

On Wednesday we worked at home, hubby and the girls got to play the part of a "friendly stranger" so that we could practice sitting nicely for pets and also while I greeted someone.  It was very cute as the girls really got into the acting and they learned how to ask to pet someones dog.

On Thursday we went over to my parents apartment to do some more CGC practice. Luke got to work on "paw touch" for the elevator button. Then my mom and her dogs helped with Reaction to another dog part of the test. Luke gets very excited to see other dogs as he loves to play. We started outside on the side walk after a few time Luke settled down and did great. Then we went inside to a long hallway and worked there again he did great.

On Friday we had a couple of outings. We went to Hobby Lobby and got several compliments, he did very well ignoring distractions and walked perfectly with Ara. We worked on stopping at intersections and waiting to make sure traffic is clear. Then we went to Office Max and worked on more polite greeting in store with an employee and even out in the parking lot when two women commented on how cute he was (hey I am not one to pass up a training opportunity) he did so great sitting to be petted no jumping or pulling at all.

Saturday THE BIG DAY. We were the first of our class to do the test, Luke did great and I could see all the practice had paid off.  For the 3 minute separation I put him in a down stay and left the room, while out of the room I thought about the first two classes were Luke excitedly barked at the other doggie classmates and needed a chewy in order to not get board. Then I think about this class and how he was relaxed, did not need a chewy and he only barked once. Three minutes are up, when I came back the evaluator told me Luke did not move at all while I was gone. She noted how great his down stay had gotten and how far he had come since starting class. The she congratulated us  on passing the CGC and the Better Manners Class.

Sunday went to the family day at the Zoo they had a lot of fun activities and the new tigers were on display. We had a few hicups but Luke did very well. He was able to lay down and relax while Ara was in the bouncy houses (big improvement on that), we got to meet Spider Man and get a picture, the Tigers were awesome and one was very interested in Luke. Luke did let out one single bark as the Tiger bounded close but I quickly corrected and he did not bark again. I did move him back a bit once the Tiger was up by the viewing window, one of the zookeepers looked at me and said, "great training opportunity, he is doing great". The two hicups we encountered was when a group of Karate kids/teens run up behind us and past us with big sticks, he alert barked but again settled after I corrected him. We did see the same group a little later and I asked if he could meet them so that he would have a positive experience, they loved Luke and gave him lots of great pets and he gave a lot of kisses. The other hicup was when Chuck E Cheese came up behind me and reached out for Ara Luke again barked but then deferred to me with a solid look. I told him "quiet" and "sit". So we know what we need to work on people running around us and mascots with big heads (he loved spiderman).   Here are some pictures from the day

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Unexpected Training Opportunity

Today was just one of those days were my plans fall apart.  Today is therapy day for A and usually we take Luke to doggie daycare since he is not yet ready for sitting in a long therapy session(s). Well today we could not get there due to traffic and construction so I had to go with plan B so we would not be late and plan B was taking Luke with us. I luckily had all the needs supplies in the car (vest, treats, travel water bowl, and doggy bags), so off we went into therapy.

First off I love our therapy office they are so wonderful and supportive. Luke did exceptionally well and we got to work on new tasks/work. Hey if a training opportunity comes up we are not going to let it pass by.

We worked on going up and down a large flight of stairs. We worked on his position, pace and stopping at the last step/first step and not rushing. Normally A gets very scared by these sets of stairs in particular but with Luke by her side she was able to do them with little problems.

Next came the button to open the automatic door. We have been working on "paw touch" a target on the wall at home. He did really great and did not hesitate to try and "paw" the button, A was even able to still hold his vest safely when he did this. He is so agile and not at all rough/clumsy when doing tasks. We worked on this about 4-6 times as we moved in and out of the offices.

Then we worked on just being relaxed and in a down stay while in the actually therapy. Occupational Therapy was the hardest as it is physically hard for A and her anxiety can elevate. Luke did a few check ins on A, which is again a new thing we are working on. It helped her to refocus and lower her anxiety. For Speech he was wonderful and did a down stay with minor position movements.

So things we need more work on: office sounds and people out of site talking he was vocal a few times (not loud) when he heard a door slam and people talking out of sight.

All in all he got a lot of compliments especially for being so young and was invited back anytime for more training.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 14th weekend

We have had a very active weekend. On Friday we went to a new playground, Saturday we had CGC class and a regular trip to Walmart then today we went to the Summer Art Fair.

Friday we went to a new playground. While the girls played with grammy, grampy and daddy I worked with Luke on doing down stays while Ara is playing and out of site. Also while other kids are running around. He love kids and would love to run and play with them, so this is a big thing for him to work on. He also has a hard time when Ara is out of his site yet still in ear shot. All in all he did a wonderful job, we did down stays while I was standing and then at a bench.We will work at the playground again this week :)
On Saturday Luke had CGC class and will take his test next week. We did some extra work on polite greetings while walking from class to the pet store (we needed some supplies). After class we went to Walmart for a regular trip (normally we only do short trips but he has been doing so well). He did great and ignored distractions, we worked on stopping at intersections and while checking out we did some meet and greet with emplyees and a few adults. We want to make sure that people = good, especially since we had a bit of a set back this week due to a rowdy bunch of guys near our apartment. We also did some treadmill training and he is up to doing 5minutes on it. Since we can not get out to exercise when the weather is bad this is very important training and he enjoys it.
On Sunday we went to the Summer Art Fair. We did get stopped at the gate and told "no dogs allowed" but when we told them Luke was a Service Dog in Training they said, "great enjoy the fair".  I have to say that we have not (so far) had any time of negative access issue. We got to work on position of where Luke is to Ara and some new commands.
I let Luke do a greet with a young man at the water station and as soon as he was done being petted he returned to heel position on his own, he did this several times during the day. It is always great to see when something clicks. We saw tons of peoples in hats, with umbrellas and even a giant chicken statue, non of these phased Luke at all. Ara was a little off today and you could tell because Luke was paying extra close attention to her while she played on the playground. Her tremors were bad and she stumbled alot. At one point she disappeared from his view (I knew where she was though) and I told him "Luke find Ara where is she" he quickly began to search for her and found her visually then went to her and gave her a nudge. Now what is really neat is that he actually went up the play equipment stairs (medal with smooth vent holes) to nudge her and acknowledge the "find" This is a very new command we are working on and the first time we were able to do it outside the house. **As a side note there were no other children on the playground it was just us**  
We also got to work on "under" at the picnic area while the girls enjoyed some strawberry ice cream and while the girls made play dough at the girl scout table.
To and from the event we had to walk on the neighborhood side walks and cross walks, so we got to work on stopping and waiting at intersections and dealing with some light traffic.
It was such a great day with many compliments, questions and new training. Here are some pictures

So what are we working on this coming week?  We will be working on politely sitting while I or Ara is greeted by someone and staying in heel position when approach by another dog/human team. These are the two hardest things for him on the CGC, he can be a little over excited sometimes in these two situations.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4th of July

We had such a great 4th of July weekend and we did a lot of training.

On Friday we went to the local park for a 4th of July event. There were a ton of people, bouncy houses of all shapes and sizes, face painting, activity stations, a great band playing and food. Luke and Ara worked so well together.  We did get stopped when we got there and asked if Luke was a service dog. I told them he was an Service Dog in Training (in MT SDiT have the same access as service dogs) and they said great have a good time. Ara was able to wait in the lines, maneuver easily through the crowds, and keep calm.  Luke did have a few moments that showed me what we need to work on. He did not like when Ara went into a certain type of bouncy house. He could hear her but could not see her and he kept trying to stand up and on his hind legs to see we will need to work on separation. He also got excited at one of the activities areas that had basketballs, so another thing we will work on.

After the park we came home and got ready for the fireworks. We sat at the end of our driveway and watched the show. Luke fell asleep through them and even when our next door neighbor sent some huge ones up over us he did not flinch. He was off duty during the fireworks, since I did not know how he would react. Here are some pictures from our day