Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making huge progress - Two Weeks in Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We had a wonderful time with family and friends, enjoyed some yummy food and church fellowship. I know going to church with a service dog can sometimes be hard due to the fact that churches do not have to follow the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), thankfully we have have found a wonderful church that is very accommodating to Ara and Luke and really go above and beyond to make us feel welcome.

These past two weeks Luke has made some wonderful progress and so has Ara. Ara is doing things now that were a struggle or near impossible for her to do a year ago. She can walk through the grocery store, go on long walks, fun events, she is sleeping through the night, talking in complete sentences, able to sit in church and so much more. Most of this is made possible by Luke help and her speech and OT therapies. We have been so blessed this year and are looking forward to an even better next year.

What We Worked On at Home:

Find Ara - So we have made the game a bit tougher for Luke to include more areas of the house that Ara hides in. This is fun for both Ara and Luke. We are also adding in a "sit" when he finds her. Eventually I would like for Luke to find Ara, and either bring her to us or if unable to come and get us.

DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) - Right now we are working on where he needs to put his paws/body when she is laying on the floor or bed. We also worked on teaching him to just put his head in her lap. Ara enjoys this as she gets to "act". I will tell her to lay down and pretend to cry and then will cue Luke to her, then put him in a down, then ask for his paws over Ara's legs or hips. He is catching on very quick. Then I will tell Ara to give him his release word so he knows he is done with the task.

Gear Conditioning - Conditioning him to the BLD Harness, he will now put his head all the way through and I can put it on and buckle it. We are working to make it very positive and fun for him, so lots of treats and playing with a ball as rewards.

Behavior Interruption -  Worked on nail biting interruption with a nose touch and also on her zoning out episodes with a nose touch to the cheek.


Church -  (Christmas Eve) - we worked on down stay, guide tasks, brace position, find out and find car. It was very crowded at church and Luke did very good navigating the crowds. Luke has also picked up on where Ara needs him and were he should stand, so we are shaping that. For example in the bathroom instead of doing a down stay he will aromatically go stand parallel to the potty incase Ara needs him. I was able to tell Luke "find out/take us out" and Luke lead Ara (with me behind them holding the leash) outside and waited for the next direction. "Find Car" is becoming more reliable as well. (Sunday) - Guide tasks, down stay, block, "say hi", find out and find car. "Say Hi" is a new command we are working on, we use it when we allow people to pet or interact with Luke. This tells him it is ok to be petted and greet people. If we dont give the command he will ignore people. We mostly use this with small children, teens and such. It gives us a chance to tell them about service dogs. It was snowing heavily when we left church and Luke was able to find the car with no problem. Here is a video of Luke finding the Car.

Lucky's - guide tasks, block, find out, find car and ignore distractions.

Walmart - Guide tasks, PAT, find out, find car and distractions. He is getting more reliable with the right/left turn directions and also with maneuvering through the large crowds. I have add in an "over right/left" cue now as well. With this he will go as close as possible to the side of an aisle, walkway or a wall, instead of walking in the middle ect.

Red Lobster - Under, down stay, guide tasks and ignoring many distractions such as food on the floor, kids ect. When we entered they told us "sorry no dogs" after telling them Luke was a Service Dog in Training they had no problems. I never get mad when someone asks or says "no dogs" as there are many people who try to bring pets into places they should not. Luke did wonderful and the dinning area had filled up by the time we were ready to leave. As we leave we here many people say "wow there was a dog under there" even some of the employees. I actually love hearing that, as that means he did a great job of being well behaved.

Walk through our Neighborhood - We had a day of good weather so we all went on a long walk through our neighborhood to the walking trail. We worked on heel, guide tasks, left/right directions, went through a pedestrian tunnel and had many distractions. We saw a bicyclist, jogger with a puppy and trail went by a busy road. Luke handled everything with out problem, he only looked at the puppy and gave a small whine but did not break from position or pull. Ara really enjoyed the walk and only had a few times where she zoned out or had issues with noise.  Here are some videos

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