Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Many Adventures this week Feb 16-22

I am late writing last weeks adventures so I am going to cover our outings and adventures this week. Our in home training consisted of obedience, vest work, place, team work  and leave it.


Doctor Appointment - Luke did paw touch to open the doors, did a very good working on under with a single chair, down stay and distractions. At one point they needed to take Ara to do an eye exam down the hall and to the right. I was busy with little sister and Ara stopped a the door and got tense and stiff and would not leave with the nurse. Luke broke his down stay and went to heel position on Ara. I asked if it was ok if she took him with her (the office was empty only staff was there), they said sure. So she lead him to the eye exam area.....a few minutes later Luke comes back in the room and gives me the 'look' and comes to my heel side. I take his leash and he leads me back to Ara. Apparently he realized I did not follow and Ara was really tense so he came to get me. He also did "around" to try and help her feel more comfortable, and know she was safe.

Speech - Paw touch, down stay, and also did good with little kids running around the office.

Dentists office - The dentists is in the same building as Speech but up the big set of stairs (you can see them in the previous video they are the second set). This appointment was for little sister and Luke had never been to the dentist office before. It was very crowded and there was very little room for all of us. Luke had to lay on a large hose (asked if it was ok before he laid down). There were all sorts of new sounds, smells and sights and Luke handled all with out a problem. Some of the other nurses could not believe we all fit in the little space and how great Luke behaved.

We also worked on the Stairs. Ara was able to go both up and down both sets of stairs with Luke's help. We will be working on it again next week so hope to get another video.

Doctor Appointment - Ara had shots at her last appointment and she had a reaction to one of them so we went in to have it checked out. Luke did a down block with out being cued. Also find out and paw touch.

Walmart (twice this week) - Walking with cart, distractions, right/left turn directions, guide tasks, block, find out, find car and ignoring barking dogs in the parking lot. I was so surprised how many older people made kissy and distracting sounds at Luke while we were there. Not only is it very distracting for Luke and makes his work harder but it is also very upsetting to Ara at times. Please if you see a service dog out in public do not distract the dog, which includes making noises/sounds at it or petting with out permission.

Church - Guide tasks, bracing position for curbs, distractions, down stay, block, "say hi", find out and find car. Luke alerted to Ara's anxiety by a soft bark, we are working on making this a silent alert by paw touch or nose nudge. We were able to stay the whole time this week.

This week we also met with a new dog trainer. Her facility has a bunch of fun equipment such as fit paws, open (yet secure) field, agility equipment and more. She offers an open practice once a week for people to come in and use the equipment and field. She is also going to help us with Luke's excitement around other dogs.

At Home

At home Luke is getting very good at distress response and DPT with out being cued. Also as the weather gets nicer we are able to go on more walks and the kids are learning to ride their bikes. We are also adding in "just for fun" tricks to keep training upbeat and interesting for him.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Picture and Video Over Load - Feb 2 - Feb 15th

Wow is this month almost over. We have been so busy this short month with birthdays, therapies and doctors appointments, not to mention fun outings too. I also got some great videos and pictures these two weeks. We are also working on Ara being in the lead on some things now as well.

Do service dogs ever get to just be dogs........ yep look at this silly boy
Sleeping in the recliner
Brought me a rose we were using for a craft project

Skills: (At Home Training)

Vest Work - This is something I have always forgotten to put on here. I will have Luke were his soft vest around the house and do some extended time training. Like long down stays on his place (bed or mat), responding to Ara when she is in distress, behavior interruption or DPT, Under (maneuvering under tables/chairs), puppy push ups, and the list goes on.  This gets him use to doing commands both with out a vest and in his vest. We started this when he was 4mo old.

Leave it (with "watch me") - Always working and reinforcing this one. When I say "leave it" I also want him to focus his attention to me. So I have added the "watch me" to this. He has a very good leave it with food. However he loves to put things in his mouth and bring you things you dont want. So I will see him looking at one of the kids stuffed animals or a leggo and tell him "leave it" and give a verbal "yes" and praise when he does. Leave it can also be used for distraction or focusing on the wrong thing, for example getting distracted by someone trying to call him, I will tell him "leave it" and "watch me". He has gotten good and will now automatically look at me after I say "leave it".

Drop it - Oh the fun of having a dog that loves to pick things up. Luke is awesome at drop it no matter what he has in his mouth. This can be a life saving command (dog has something sharp, dangerous or a choking hazard in his mouth) and ever dog should know this one.

Place - We are still expanding the length of time he is in "place" and also him going to place no matter where we are in the house, waiting for the release command and coming directly to me after the release.

Down/Long Down Stays - We are working on quicker responses to down (while vested) and longer intervals of the long down stays.

Obedience - Every week we run through his basic obedience (both vested and not). Ara is usually the one giving the commands/signals now as well as the praise.

Outside - YES the weather is finally getting nice again. So we are working outside more. We are starting with obedience and going on walks. During the walks we work on directions, stopping at intersections, backing up, switching sides ect.

Team Work - Having Ara lead her own training session in which she chooses what we work on and gives the commands and praise, with me just guiding them both.


Therapy - We work on so much at therapy - under, long down stays, behavior interruption, distress response/ DPT, stairs, team work, leave it and paw touch/push. Luke did a great distress response during ST with out prompt and when done came right back to his down stay area. We are also working on making the paw touch on the handicap door buttons into a automatic task.

This was a very hard video for me to make because I had to watch while she struggled with something that should be easy for a child her age. This is how Luke Helps.

Doctors Office - Paw touch for the door button as well as the call button for the elevator, Down stay and "quiet". Luke was in puppy brain mode for this appointment. He barked at voices he heard in another area and was pushy about greeting her doctor which he never does. Corrections were made and he settled down after a bit.

Stores - (Grocery/Walmart/Target/Toy R Us/ Payless ect) too many to list these two weeks. We worked on PAT, guide tasks, directions, vocal commands and hand signals, distractions, block, find out and find car.

Birthday Party at a play place - We rented a little play area for the girls party. I knew this would be a challenge for Luke so he got to stay for a little bit then went to doggy daycare. One of our friends has a young child with seizures and Luke was drawn to him and kept trying to smell his face. He also barked a few times as people were coming in and could not sit still very long as he was excited. He got to meet everyone then daddy took him to doggy daycare where he had a very fun afternoon.

Red Lobster -  Let me start off by saying we were there for 2 1/2 hours due to how busy they were and we were a large party (grandparents and great grandparents with us). It was very busy in the waiting area and Luke did some anxiety work, by alerting to her anxiety increasing, licking her arm to get her to focus on him and then helped me take her outside to get some fresh air. After we were seated he did a perfect under and laid quietly the entire meal except twice when Ara needed him. He was not distracted by the wait staff standing around the girls singing them happy birthday, the rolling floor cleaner and ignored dropped food. He did awesome.

However we did have our first negative person in public. As soon as we walked in Ara went to the lobster tank and a women standing next to it started talking bad about us loudly to her friend saying "some people think they can take there pets any were and call them service dogs" and made a disgusted noise. I removed Ara and Luke from the situation and walked over to were our family was standing. The entire time we were waiting these two women gave us dirty looks and talked about us. We had out of town family with us so I did not confront these two women however I did give them the dirtiest look I could muster.

Mall - We went to the mall on Sunday and did not realize the mall opens before all the stores we used the time to walk through the Public Access Test. Ara participated in it where she could and luckily there were a few other families there so we even got to do the part about Luke laying down and being petted by kids. Luke passed every part of it with flying colors (except the out to eat part). We also worked on " left and right over" which is where Luke guides Ara over to a wall or safe place out of the flow of the crowd. Ara was playing on the little kids coin rides and I was talking to some people who asked about Luke. Luke did great with visually checking on Ara and then giving me eye contact, he also did a great Find Ara when I walked him away from the area. We also worked on "door" for operating the push buttons, find out, and find car.

Sams Club - Finished the rest of the Public Access Test as we ate at the food court. He did a great under and ignored all dropped food. Walked great with the cart and ignored all distractions. We also worked on block, guide tasks and find car.


Ara has been really struggling these last two weeks as we go through medication changes and such. Luke has been doing some great response work with out prompting.

Passed the walk through of the Public Access Test so hopefully we will be able to do it soon and video tape it.

Doing more on his own as far as response and guiding in public.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Always Busy Busy - Weeks in review Jan 19- Feb 1

We have been so busy these last couple of weeks. The girls birthdays are coming up and I have been busy getting ready for their birthday party and family coming to visit. The last two weeks we have had some new experiences and also proofing some known tasks. Luke is going through his teenage stage which means some days he is off and full of puppy mischief.

Skills (At home training):

DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) - This has been one of Luke's most helpful tasks. He is getting to the point will he will automatically go to her when she is upset and will lay his paws on her if she is laying down flat. He needs a little help with positioning when she is siting or curled up. He is still very much a puppy at times and sometimes tries to play with her by bringing her his slobbery squeeky toy instead. Here are some pics of him working on DPT

Behavior Interruption - We did a lot of training with Luke interrupting certain behavior such as nail biting, lip pinching ect. So Ara is helping a lot now with this training. She will hold a treat in her hand and then put her hand near her mouth and Luke will nudge the hand and she will reward him with the treat she is holding. This task will take longer to train because Luke also has to learn to really watch Ara. So we will also be getting Ara to do the watch me command to help him learn to focus on her.

Find - We had more fun with Find Ara and Find Dad.

Targeting - Nose Touch and Paw Touch with Clik Stik and push lights

Open/ Close Fridge - Another of Luke's favorite things to do. He has just about got it down pat and we are working on a better tug for him to make it easier for him.

Retrieve - Luke will bring me random items through out the day such as stuff animals, a shoe, toilet paper role and other odd items. However, we have hit a bit of confusion with practicing retrieving wanted objects. So we are going back to basics and will start re training.

And of course we always work on basic and advance obedience such as sit, down, stand, under, long stays, ect.


Kmart - General public training and distractions. We went with out Ara because we were picking up her Birthday present :)

Office Depot - Directions right/left, forward and stop, distractions, find out, find car

Local Toy Shop - This was a new experience for Luke (Ara was not with us). This local shop has a place for kids parties so there were a lot of kids and a birthday going on. Luke had never been around that many kids yelling and running around. He was very distracted at first but was able to refocus on me after a few minutes. I have noticed that when Ara is not with us while doing training he is much more easily distracted, when Ara is with us I hardly ever have to refocus him.

Bank - Luke had his first trip to the bank. We got to have a little tour and see the big change machine so that the girls could cash in their change. It was very noisy but did not phase Luke at all.

Vet Office - The vet was very impressed with how well behaved Luke is and how well he listened to Ara. Luke is in great health and the vet loved hearing about how he helps Ara. However as we were leaving we had to walk by two biiiiiggg puppies and Luke lost it and wanted to go play with them. He was not vested at them time, reminded again that yes he still is a puppy and has things to work on lol. I do not vest Luke when we go to the vets or pet stores as these places are highly distracting and he is not ready to be "on duty" in these places yet.

Pet Store - Working on ignoring and not reacting (excitedly wanting to play) to other dogs. Lots of high value treats involved with this. We will be working on this as often as possible.

Church - Luke is doing great with going to church and doing long down stays, blocking and guide work. Here is a pic of Luke blocking, unfortunately Ara was having a bad day and we had to leave early but that is ok.

Tax Place - Again another new experience for Luke a cubical type of setting. We worked on long down and being quiet. Luke sometimes will bark when someone comes in a door behind us, it is a single alert bark. I am working on redirecting this behavior into a quieter alert.

So we had a lot of great new experiences and of course more to work on and refine. I for one can not wait for Luke to come out of this teenage stage, but until then I will be adding some extra busy games for him. The weather has gotten nicer so we can also go on longer walks.