Monday, November 24, 2014

Growing into his Vest

Due to being very busy I have not posted our progress in a little while. As I am looking through my notes and training pages from the last weeks I can really see how Luke is growing and maturing. So I decided to look further back through the binder and also see some pictures. Luke has had three vests starting out tiny and  getting bigger (like him) to now he is in his last training vest.  The next gear he will put on is his Bold Lead Mobility Harness which will start his mobility training.  Luke is not the only one who has grown through all of these, I see how much Ara and our family have grown and learned through this experience. It is such an amazing thing that honestly words cant even begin to describe.

With out further delay here is what we have worked on the last few weeks.

Week of Nov 9th -

Get it with Dumbell - I place the dumbell on the floor and tell look to get it once it is in his mouth I click and treat. Sometimes he will give it as well which I will click/treat but right now we are focusing on picking something up and not running away with it lol.

Clik Stik - This is my new favorite tool. We are working on nose touches with this and he has cuaght on very quickly to how it works. So now I am focusing on just different lengths the target is and different positions it is from him.

Find Ara - Another hide and seek game. We are starting in the house, Ara will hide with a treat and Luke will seek her and then she gives him a treat when he finds her. They both have a ton of fun playing this game and it will be very useful later on.

Behavior Interruption -  This is a new task we are working on. Ara will chew her finger nails (until they bleed) and also pinch herself. To start out I am doing the behavior (we are starting with nail biting/hand biting) in a specific location (the couch) and then as Luke for a nose touch, when he touches my hand I click and treat. I will alternate hands as well. This will be a series of progressions and training before he is ready to switch the task to Ara's behaviors.

Body Awareness - Luke has some great body awareness he is very good about backing up and can even go sideways upstairs so we are stepping up a notch literally. I have a coupe of step stools that we are working on Luke Stepping Up on while in the heel position eventually I would like him to have all four paws on it.

Leave it - Upping the Leave it level with treats, toys and food. Luke is able to "leave it" when I put treats in front of him and even on his paws. I am able to pick them all up with out him trying to sneak one as well. After I give him the release word I give him a treat. We also worked on dropping food in front of him and his favorite toys.

Block - We are working on a more solid block from both heel position and opposite side heel. Luke has tended to through his butt out a little while doing this so what I am doing now is facing a wall and having him go to the block position, with the wall there he cant through out his butt. We will be working on this over the next few weeks.

Paw Touch - We are also advancing in paw touch. I will be making a few new props to use for paw touch. He is about 80% accuracy when hitting the touch plates at places and our touch light here at home.

Team Work - Ara and Luke working together doing different obedience and skill work

Obedience - Of course even if I forget to mention it we always work on basic obedience such as sit, down, stand, place, recall, heel, off leash skills ect.


Sheels - We just love this store it has so many great training opportunities and so much fun things to do with the kids. We worked on PAT (public access test training), drop leash heel, find car as well as guiding)

Cabelas - PAT, Door Push Plate, Distractions (big live trout in a display tank), guiding work, Find Car

Albertsons - PAT, Block, guiding work, Distractions (door bell sound was made and Luke did a soft bark, had him refocus), Find Car. Luke did an awesome find car I thought I got it on video but somehow hit the wrong button.

Walmart - PAT, Distractions (many people trying to talk to him and distract him), Guide work, Find Car. Luke did very good ignoring all the people trying to distract him. My husband was behind us with the cart and he said Luke never looked away from focusing on Ara and I. Luke also is doing very well with Left/Right directions.

The Mall - This was our second time to the mall. We did a run through of the items on the PAT (he did super well), there were a ton of new types of distractions including ZOOmers (big motorized stuffed animals you can ride around the mall) those did not faze him. We ate at the food court and he ignored dropped food and did a great under. We got to meet Santa and Luke was not real sure about him. I could tell he was unsure and he gave a few soft woofs so we moved further away while the girls talked to Santa, buy the time the girls were done Luke was comfortable enough to go sniff Santa (who was awesome by the way) and even got some pats and a treat from Santa. We will be going back again to get pictures done of the girls so we will get another chance to work on it.  **When Luke shows he is unsure I always take a step back and move him away from the situation, I never want to push him into anything, poodles can be a bit more cautious than other breeds**

Therapy - Walking with Ara on stairs (leash draped on vest), guide work, push plates for door, tucking into a down stay by my chair, Ara leading him while moving through the lobby and between rooms.

Hobby Lobby - This is Ara's favorite store. She loves looking at everything and picking put fun art supplies and craft projects. It was a quick trip so we worked on PAT, drop leash sit stay and guide work.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Posts Coming Soon

I have had many people email me about how to find a good program, what is the difference between types of service dogs and what exactly are in the next few weeks I will not only be posting about Luke and Ara's progress but will be doing more educational and informational posts about service dogs in general :)

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me write about a certain topic please send me a PM on our facebook page

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween Week

Halloween can be scary for kids and dogs. We have worked all month on getting Luke use to strange noises and decorations. We have gone to the halloween store and in all the halloween isles of walmart, kmart and the party store. Luke did really well with everything.

At therapy this week the girls got to wear their Halloween costumes and had so much fun. We had a doctors appointment later that day so they got to be Elsa and Belle all day. At therapy I made a short video showing Luke operating the push buttons for the automatic doors. Here is the video and pictures.

Luke had permission to be on the pillow.

Ara focusing on Luke while doing an eexercise in OT 

At the doctor office working on getting into tight areas in regular stalls.

Halloween Day/Night
On halloween day we went to a small outdoor party. Luke worked on some drop leash activities such as heel and recall. Also ignoring dropped food and seeing his first people in costumes. He handled everything perfectly. 

Trick or Treating that night had some good and some needs more work moments. Luke did excellent walking with Ara and did not mind any of the other people walking in our neighborhood. He was a bit confused with the girls knocking on doors and people opening them and woofed a couple of times but soon settled in to the routine. He did great on helping Ara with curbs and at the intersections. We did run into some dogs behind fences who were barking and Luke whined at them ( I told him leave it and watch me),  the second time past one he ignored them. The only time both him and the kids got scared was at a house that had some automated decorations. We left the area and helped the girls understand it was all pretend and machines. Luke was fine as soon as we walked away and had no problem going back up and past the house later that night. I had a lot of treats for Luke on hand and praised him a lot during our trick or treating. He and the girls were exhausted after wards but they had so much fun. 

Next year and even at Christmas time we will work more on automated/inflatable decorations. We will also be taking more walks in our neighborhood to work on intersections, dogs barking behind fences and having Ara lead more.