Skills (At Home Training):
Tricks - So we are adding in some just for fun/body awareness training. We are working on "Spin" in both directions and him weaving between legs. We will be adding in more as we go. These are really fun for Luke but also challenge him and help him with body awareness, which in turn helps with his service dog work.
Distress Response and DPT - More and more Luke is doing distress response on his own, we are adding in the DPT with the response and also working on DPT with out the distress aspect. We are calling DPT "cuddle" even though it is much more than that.
Paw Touch - Working on paw touch both for hitting the buttons for doors as well as for alerts or to get help.
Obedience - We are working on distance of obedience commands as well as place, off leash obedience and just overall stepping up the level of obedience. I also let Ara have her own training session with Luke. She was in charge of the treats and giving the basic commands. She did great :) and so did Luke.
Outside - the weather was some what nice so we worked on some team work as well. We walked around our neighborhood with Ara giving Luke commands and working on straight lines of walking, with obstacle avoidance and stopping at intersections.
Doctor Appointments - Guide tasks, distractions, under (chair), down stay and focusing on Ara
Dentist- So this is were we see Luke having an off day. Luke did great with paw touch for opening the door, watch me and guiding. How ever he was very antsy and did not want to do a down while I was filling out paper work and Ara was playing with toys. We were one of two patients there at the time so they had Ara back in no time. Once Ara was in the chair Luke laid down but would not be still he kept readjusting and moving around then he alert barked when he heard heavy foot steps and then barked again when a door slammed. Each time it was only one bark and I was able to get him focused back on me. He did finally settle down after doing so focus exercise and after Ara told him she was ok. I apologized to the staff about him barking but they said it was ok and they understood he was in training. So what do you do in this situation? For us I will first try to redirect Luke and get him refocused if that does not work I will remove him from the situation get him to refocus and then try again. We are working on a different way for Luke to alert through paw touch. I dont want to take away his ability to tell us something so that is why we are working to shape this differently. **if your dog is showing any signs of fear, aggression or stress. Please remove the dog from the situation and consult a trainer for additional help**
Therapy Appointments - We are working more and more on Ara and Luke's teamwork as this is a place that is very comfortable for them both. We also worked a little on stairs, down stays, Ara doing "watch me" and paw touch
Hospital - Ara's Papa had to go to the hospital for a few days and we were able to visit him. Luke did very well. We had to walk across a busy road to get to the hospital and Luke did great with the intersection and guiding. Once in the room we let him say hi to Papa, and Luke ignored all the noises of the machines, doors opening/closing, knocking ect. Luke helped Ara by doing a block, licking her arms to try and get her to focus on him and we had to leave because her anxiety was getting too high. Luke lead her out to the hall way and we waited for the rest of the family. The fact that we made it into the hospital with out a meltdown is huge for Ara.
Sams Club - This was an odd start to this trip. We sat down to eat some pizza before shopping and as we were finishing up a older lady came up and said "what kind of dog is that" pointing under the table. I told her he was a standard poodle and the women all but climbed under our table to see him and was making noises to try and get him to come out. Then she says something about "sneaking him in" I said no he is my daughter service dog and is allowed in with her. She finally left, but that was the first time I had someone almost climb under a table to see him and invading our space so much. What did Luke do while this was going on? He ignored her and did not move an inch. We worked on a little team work and verbal commands while shopping and getting Luke to watch Ara for directional cues. Also did some DPT using his head and body while Ara was sitting.
We also went to a few other stores this week as well, working in narrow isles with many obstacles and working on right and left over, which is starting to really come along nicely.
So we had a lot of great team work opportunities and training this week and we had some not so good moments, but that comes with training. Dogs are not robots and will have off days like we all do.