Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Captain's Log...Day Six

Today we really got into giving our dogs commands and the difference between letting them know when they are "working" and when they are "free" to just be dogs. We are also learning a lot about how to foster the bond between Oreo and Tess and how to have Oreo want to be around Tess more than anyone else.

Basically it breaks down to always giving Oreo a lot of praise and treats whenever she goes over to Tess as well as "baiting" Tess's chair with treats so she'll associate Tess with things she loves. Today, without even given the command, Oreo went over and "lapped" Tess. This simply means she went over to Tess and rested her head on Tess's lap, well in this case, Tess's leg. It was beyond adorable and Miss Oreo earned herself much praise and many treats for that!

Oreo realizing that Tess has some treats for her.....

We also are learning that just because these are service dogs doesn't mean they are robots and are always perfect. That is why we are being trained on how to carry over everything they have learned and continue to reinforce and build on it once we are home. There is so much more to it than I ever thought but it is so interesting and really impressive how smart the dogs are. Also, these dogs are still puppies so they will need corrections from time to time.

Some of the dogs are really sensitive to corrections and really want to please. Oreo is one of the sensitive ones. I felt like the meanest person on earth today when I put her in the "down" position and she got up before I "freed" her and I had to correct that behavior with a gentle pull down on her leash while saying, "No.", then releasing tension on the leash and reinforcing the "down" command. Poor Oreo looked so ashamed of herself and I couldn't reward her with a treat until she had maintained the "down" for a bit.

We also worked on "heel" and a few other things. It was a long day but a good day and as far as the question you are all wondering goes, yes, Oreo alerted to two more seizures with Tess today. Smart girl!

Another dog alerted up to 45 minutes before his girl had a grand mal seizure.  I cannot explain what that is like as a parent to see and be able to trust. There simply are no words.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a fun picture of Oreo giving Tess "Five" and "shake'. Of course we had to stabilize Tess's hand but Oreo was patient with her girl and kept trying to make sure she made contact with Tess's hand before giving up. She really is a great dog!

Until tomorrow....
       Putting a treat in Tess's hand to get Oreo's attention to give High Five

                     the trick...High Five!

          Not sure if you can tell from the pic but Oreo is shaking Tess' hand rather than the high five

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to start my day...such great news. Uplifting for everyone who reads this. As someone who has had a dog her entire life...I for one know how much loves comes from dogs and the people who love them. This is so exciting. Thanks for taking the time out of your already busy journey to update us all.