Sorry I have not posted much as we have been packing and moving into our new home. I will make this a short but fun post. I asked our facebook supporters to send any questions they may have about Luke's training, Ara and Luke as a Team ect. **if you have a question visit our facebook page like us and send me a message :) **
Q : Why did you pick a poodle?
A: We wanted a dog that would not shed yet would met the mobility needs for Ara. We also wanted a dog as hypo allergenic as possible (even though we know no dog is 100% allergy free) After talking with a trainer friend she suggested a standard poodle. They are super smart, athletic, loyal and sensitive. The breeder we chose helped us pick out the right puppy, Ara and Luke bonded quickly on the ride home.
Q: What will Luke help Ara with and why do you need a dog to do it?
A: Luke is being trained to help Ara in many ways. He is being trained in sensory input by licking, behavior interruption, anxiety alert/response, some guiding type tasks, and once he is full grown we will start mobility training. Ara responds so uniquely to Luke, where she would fight against us she is willing to do it for Luke or with Luke. A great example of this is during therapy, before Luke when she got over whelmed or needed tactile input she would just shut down or have a melt down. With Luke she will have him give her "kisses" and he will sit against her to provide tactile input and it will refocus her and allow her to continue the activity. Luke has given Ara the freedom other children her age enjoy, such as walking with us at the grocery store (instead of confined to the cart) and being able to enjoy special events, just to name a few.
Q: How much does Ara really help with Luke and his training?
A: Ara is "in charge" of feeding Luke. We having a big bin with a measuring scope in it for his food. I tell her when it is time to feed him and she scopes it out, puts it in his bowl, has him sit then tells him "eat" which releases him from the sit. She also helps with his task and regular obedience training. She can have him sit, down, leave it, drop it, come, and place to name a few. She also works with him when I am training his tasks and on team work.
Q: Is it easy having a dog for her?
A: No it is hard work. It is like having another kid sometimes and sometimes it is all eyes on us when we are shopping or at an event. We do 6-10 hours a week of training (broken up in short training sessions at home and then working in public). When out in public I have to work with Ara and Luke, plus little sister and get done what ever we were out to do in the first place. It can be a little chaotic sometimes and then we also have people stop us to ask questions or make comments. With all that said it is worth it for our family and Ara. Having a service dog for a child is not for every family or child and should really be researched before considering it.
That is all the questions for today, remember if you have a question you can visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/servicedogforara and send me a message. I will be doing a couple of these Q & A blog posts :)