Friday, December 24, 2010

Training Day 55- Last One (kinda)

So today was the last day that I went to my trainer's to work with Bailey. Next week if I get a chance to visit him it will only be to hang out and not for training. On January 3rd I will be bringing him home and the training will be less scheduled and more randomly throughout the day. I have been thinking about how I want to continue the blog. Blogging every day will get very boring for my readers (and for me). So I will be posting blogs every Friday to give a recap of the weeks training, unless something blog worthy occurs that just can't wait until Friday. I feel Bailey is ready to come home and I think having him here will speed up his learning of tasks/strengthen our bond even further.
So when we got there today Bailey was in his crate. He was tap-dancing to get out and once the door opened he immediately gave me kisses. We had a little visitor today. A fifteen year old poodle mix named Louie. My trainer asked if he could stay in the den with us since the dogs out back were getting rowdy. So I started Bailey off with the light switch today and it's become waaaay to easy for him. Bailey kept turning the light on over and over without being asked and with no hesitation in between.
We then moved out back to work on an old favorite- auto sit. Bailey was pretty rusty and needed reminding. But once his memory was sparked he was right on every time. At one point I was walking Bailey and an adorable chocolate doodle was let out of the tennis courts to head home with her owner. She came around the corner and saw Bailey with me. For a moment she just stared and then suddenly put her front paws forward and bent her head down, butt straight up in the air, almost looking as though she were about to attack Bailey. But it was her way of getting ready to attack play! She jumped up from her crouch and bullet sped towards Bailey, tail wagging, ready to wrestle. Bailey said hello but kept his cool since he knew he was working. The whole thing was so cute!
After auto sit I took Bailey to get busy and then we went back in the den for some chill time. He crashed out instantly and slept like a rock. Soon we had lunch and then it was play time! I wanted to be there for one last play time in the side yard because I really enjoy watching him play with all his buddies. Here is a video of Bailey playing with his friend Charlie. Sooo cute!
Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Training Day 54-Home visit #2

My trainer offered to drop off Bailey at my house today. My aide went outside and got him out of car and brought him into the house. She said he was eagerly looking around the dining room for me, and as soon as he saw me in the bedroom he jumped up on me and gave me some "hello" kisses. He seemed a lot more comfortable today in the house than he did the first time he was here. He walked around the house with his head up and seemed to know where he was going. Also, once I took him off leash he immediately settled onto his bed and began to chew his bone. Last time it took him a while before he relaxed and used the things I had bought him. Even then he merely pushed the bone around curiously but never actually took ownership of it.
  So after a bit of chill time I wanted to try the light switch task on my actual light switches throughout my bedroom. He did amazing. He turned on the lights every time. First I had him turn on the one in my bedroom a few times and then we moved into the bathroom and I asked him to turn on that one as well. Then I put him back on leash and I took him into the living room to decorate the Christmas tree we got a couple day ago. He just settled down next to me and watched all the activity. Sadly it's raining today so I couldn't take him outside for play time. My aide did take him to get busy when there were lulls in the rain storm. At lunch time I had Bailey on leash with me and he did great! He just settled down next to me while I ate and chatted with my aide. After lunch it was time for me to "get busy". I decided to chance it and let Bailey off leash. He did great!  In fact he went over to his bed and just laid down. My teeth brushing didn't seem as interesting to him this time. ( I was kind of bummed because I had my camera ready for Bailey's cute look). After that we took him back to my trainer's house. I was sad to drop him off but I know he's coming home soon.  Here are some pictures of Bailey chilling on his bed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Training Day 53-Presents!

So when I got there today Bailey and his friend Lucy (a pit bull, not his Chihuahua girlfriend) were hanging out in the den. My trainer asked if I wanted her to take Lucy out of the room and I said no. Lucy is usually pretty mellow and I thought things would remain calm. Boy was I wrong. Bailey greeted me with tons of kisses and tail wagging. I think his excitement was infectious because Lucy seemed pretty happy to see me too. When my aide left the room to put our lunch away the two dogs saw something outside and went totally nuts. My aide came back into the room when she heard all of the fuss. She described what she saw as the equivalent of 40 kindergartners running around during recess on a sugar high. All of Bailey's manners disappeared. Lucy and Bailey were zooming around the den, barking and jumping on and off the furniture over and over. We tried to get them in line and they would momentarily sit but as soon as we blinked they'd be back at it. After a couple minutes they calmed down and began to listen. It was pretty funny,all that chaos.
I wanted to actually get some training done, so we put Lucy in the crate to rest. It was a good distraction for Bailey actually, because he could still see her while we were training. We did the light switch and Bailey did awesome. He is a lot more confident jumping and didn't hesitate at all today. We then worked on "leave it"  and Bailey was a pro. Lucy's Dad came to pick her up so Bailey had no more distractions.
  In one of the SD forums I participate in, some of the SD owners decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange. Luckily right as I was leaving today my package arrived from my Secret Santa. So since Lucy was now out of the room, I thought it would be a good time for Bailey and I to open our package. Bailey was so excited and couldn't hold still for pictures. He kept sniffing the package all over and wagging his tail. Then once the box was open he shoved his face into it to see what was inside. It was so cute! Here are some shots from Bailey's first gift opening.After that it was chill time and Bailey crashed out.

  Once he had a good rest I wanted to do the light one more time. He did great. After that it was lunch time. Bailey crashed out again. After that my aide took Bailey out to "get busy". I think he's trying to act like a grown up because my aide said for the first time ever, he kind of lifted his leg while getting busy. But he was still leaning forward at the same time and positioned in the middle of the lawn. Funny boy. After that we put Bailey in his crate and headed home.
Over the weekend my trainer took Bailey, his brother Liam and her dog Magic to visit Santa. She said Bailey was great and wasn't shy around Santa at all. I was honestly kind of surprised, I mean a fat man in a red suit with a giant beard can be kind of scary sometimes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Training Day 52

Today it was raining. When we got there today Bailey was waiting for me in the den. He was happy to see me and gave me a bunch of kisses. We went straight into a light switch session with the tall switch. I can tell he is still not 100%  comfortable jumping but is getting better. He sometimes looks up at me like "Mom do I really have to jump on the wall?", but he's slowly getting more comfortable.
So after light we did a very scaled down version of hide and seek inside of the den. I'm sure Bailey must have thought we lost our minds because I was at one side of the room and my aide was at the other (not in very exciting hiding places). My aide sat on the couch on one end of the room and pretended to be reading. I was on the other side of the room with Bailey. As soon as I hit my bell my aide would say"go get help".  Bailey went along with it but definitely had a "what the hell, she's right there!" look on his face. So after this exciting game we practiced the "leave it" command. Bailey is a pro at "leave it". Even when he had a fat piece of chicken right next to his feet, and my aide left the room, he still left it alone. At one point he even backed away from the chicken treat when my aide tried to tempt him by moving it closer. We didn't do this very long because it was too easy for him.
We did "look at Eva" next. At first my aide would say "look at Eva" and then treat/click Bailey when he looked up at me. Then she didn't say anything but just waited as Bailey sat next to me, and every time he made eye contact with me she would use the clicker and give him a treat. He did well but I need him to be rock solid on this so we can continue to work on eye commands. Then we tried another technique. My aide would hit my bell and say "look at Eva" and when Bailey again made eye contact with me he would be rewarded. When I hit my bell Bailey almost always looks in my direction, but I need him to make eye contact with me. This is something that I am going to focus on a lot more until it's 100%.
After that I wanted to see if he needed to get busy but since it was raining and I'm in an electric wheel chair I just asked my aide to take him out back without me. She said he did great and "went busy" quickly. Then it was chill time and Bailey crashed out in front of my chair. While in a deep sleep  he began momentarily wagging his tail happily. Soon after he seemed to be making nursing motions with his mouth. Must have been dreaming.
Before lunch I wanted to do one more light switch session, but Bailey was so not into it. Like all of the other dogs in the house he was in sleepy rainy day mode. I soon stopped the session knowing that I can't force him (and don't want to ) to do anything he's not feeling up to. So we had lunch while Bailey slept solid. And then put him in his crate and left for the day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Training Day 51- Home Visit

Today was different. I wanted to bring Bailey home for a visit. So I drove over to his trainer's house and my aide went inside to get him. Bailey was super excited to see me and immediately ran up into the van and jumped on the back seat ready to begin our adventure. When we got to my house my aide hooked Bailey's leash to my chair and I took him inside. He was a bit nervous and sniffing all around. My Mom came in to say hi to Bailey. Although still shy his confidence seemed better and he did not growl at her, in fact he warmed up pretty quickly. Then  I took him through my room and into the back yard. I let him off leash and Oh My God was he happy! He zoomed from one side of my backyard to the other. We just had some rain out here so he was having a blast running through the soft dirt and making his feet look as though he was wearing brown boots. At one point while he was playing he kept running zoomy circles around our avocado tree. Watch...

So after that we washed off his paws and I brought him back inside to my bedroom. I wanted to make him  comfortable so I let him off leash and just ignored him (so he could sniff about as he liked) while I checked my email. I had already set up a dog bed for Bailey's visit and eventually he crashed out on his bed next to me. My aide had taken some video footage of Bailey playing in the yard. We began watching the footage and Bailey hearing his own collar tags jingling on the video jumped up and began barking at himself. Knowing that since this was his first day here he was probably a little more jumpy than usual, I just muted the video and he quickly settled back into bed. Then it was lunch time. I wanted Bailey to be next to me while we were having lunch and not roaming around the house. So I put him on leash and set up his mat next to me at the table. This was a great way to simulate a public restaurant visit. After giving curious looks to my aide as she fixed lunch he quickly settled on his mat next to me. He stayed there for the entire time.
After lunch I wanted to see if he needed to get busy so I took him back outside. I just let him cruise around for a while and get acquainted with all of the new smells. Then I brought him back inside and put him back on leash for his first bathroom visit. I was kind of nervous that when my aide moved me onto the toilet that Bailey would try to give me kisses, jump on me and knock me right off the john. So that's why for this first time, I kept him on leash. He did great and after a minute just settled right down onto the bathroom floor. When I was back in my chair safely my aide began brushing my teeth. Bailey has never seen this before. He sat up and was staring at this new activity with the funniest quizzical look on his face. It was so cute! After that I went back to my computer to get some work done and Bailey crashed out on his bed again.
My trainer was having lunch about 15 minutes away from my house. She offered to meet up with us and take Bailey back to her house for me. So we all got into the van and headed up the road to meet her. We got there a few minutes early and just chilled in the van. Here are some photos of Bailey while he was waiting. A great day but a bit hard to leave him.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Training Day 50

Wow! I can't believe I've been training Bailey for fifty days. So when we got there today Bailey was in his crate in the den. He was so excited to see me and kept jumping on me and giving me kisses. We first worked on the light switch. Bailey is more comfortable jumping now. He jumped up and flipped the light switch every time he was asked. Next time we work on this I am going to have Bailey walking on leash next to me. I will walk him over to the wall and then ask him to turn on the light. He's pretty good at this with the lower light switch but I want to make sure he is comfortable jumping up to get the light while on leash.
We then went into a session of "go get help". I was with Bailey and then my aide walked away to hide. He did great when she was inside the tennis courts. But when she hid outside of the tennis courts he would just stand at the fence staring at her instead of actually going around the fence to get her. It was pretty funny but definitely something we need to work on. We then practiced fetch and tried to get his majesty to bring back the toy. He did it a couple of times but then after that would become distracted. After that it was chill time and Bailey crashed out.
 While Bailey was sleeping I felt like a mean Mom. I would periodically turn on my wheelchair so that it made a beeping noise and when Bailey looked up at me I gave him a treat. I did this exercise to get him in the habit of looking up at me every time he hears my wheel chair even if he is fast asleep. I tried my bell but he didn't move a muscle when I rang it while he was in a deep sleep.  But even if he was sound asleep Bailey would jump up when he heard my wheel chair turn on.
 Right before lunch we did one more light session and Bailey did great. It's so awesome to see him jump up on the wall and then use his nose to turn on the light. He is a lefty and often uses only his left paw while standing on the wall. After lunch it was play time. One of my trainer's roommates is also raising a puppy for service work and he brought her into the side yard for a short play session. She is now almost seven months old but I met her when she was only eight weeks old, sooo cute! Here's some video of Bailey and Pammie playing together.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Training Day 49

So when I got there today Bailey was in the tennis courts running around with his buddies. As soon as he saw me in the backyard he bolted for the gate and began barking happily.  As soon as he was let out of the tennis courts he made a bee-line towards me and jumped up to give me a ton of kisses. After that great hello we went inside to start training.
 We first worked on the light switch. Bailey's trainer put masking tape on the lower two light switches so that we can start working with Bailey using only the tallest one. It's a little tricky because he has to jump up to hit that one and he's not comfortable with that just yet. After a couple times of him looking up at me and being like "Mom I don't understand", I had an idea. I moved my chair right up to the side of the board with the switches and told my aide to encourage Bailey to use my footplate as a stool to get to the light switch. He was slightly hesitant but got it. Not only did he stand up on the footplate but he actually hit the light switch twice when he was standing on my chair. I was  very proud of him for catching on so quickly.
So after that it was time for hide and seek. This time we played the game a bit different. I had Bailey with me on leash. Then my aide went to hide on the other side of the tennis courts. When my aide started to say "go get help" I began leading Bailey towards her. She continued to say this as I walked Bailey over to where she was. When we got there she said "good help" and gave Bailey a treat. We only did this twice. Then I took him off leash and told him to "stay" while my aide went and hid again. As soon as she began saying "go get help" he left my side and went to find her. When he found her she gave him praise and then said "go find Eva". He turned around and ran back to me. I was so pleased. But by the last time we did this he was pretty worn out and just laid next to me when she hid and said "go get help". So I had to walk him back over to her. He  understands the idea of the game but was just a little too tired to play. So after that it was definitely chill time. Bailey conked out and didn't move at all for about twenty minutes.
After his majesty woke up I wanted to work on the bell. I'm starting to do the bell a little different . When I hit the bell and Bailey looks up at me, he gets peanut butter and my aide says "good look at Eva". In between me hitting the bell she also says "look at Eva" and again "good look at Eva" if he looks up at me. I want to start incorporating "look at Eva" with our auto sit sessions. This is important because he needs to get in the habit of constantly making eye contact with me so that I can give him eye/head commands. He doesn't quite have this down a100% but he's got the idea. I needed to leave a bit early today so after the bell session we ate lunch and then headed out for the day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Training Day 48-Dog Park

So when we got there today we didn't go inside but instead immediately followed my trainer to the dog park. Now a little explanation. I and some other SD owners would never take our dogs inside of a dog park. It's just too risky to bring our SDs in there. Although our dogs are very well behaved many people have dogs that aren't. If an SD were to be attacked (even if it wasn't super aggressive or causing injury) it could cause them to be fearful, anxious and /or aggressive with dogs in the future. This will wash out any service dog. So then why did I take him to the park today?  Well, I wanted to work on his confidence around other dogs so that he will stop the mild growling that he sometimes does. My trainer and I walked Bailey and his brother Liam through the parking lot and would stop at places where we knew we would see other dogs. At first Bailey was very uneasy and would mildly growl when he saw another dog. We asked him to re-focus on us and when he did we rewarded him. We also would use silly happy voices and say things like "what are you growling at silly boy?" so that the dogs would know that they had nothing to be fearful of. By the end of the outing Bailey was much better. When we were getting ready to leave an SUV pulled up next to my van. The driver walked around to the back opened up the doors and six different dogs came jumping and tumbling out the back. None of them was on leash yet luckily they just headed straight for the gate. Bailey looked at this crew with curiosity but he never once barked or growled at them. And he quickly turned away from them and focused on me. I am definitely going to make this a weekly training event. I know soon Bailey will not give a second glance to another dog if I keep doing this exercise.
So after that we headed back to my trainer's house and had some lunch. After that it was play time and I was so bummed that I had lent my camera to a friend and didn't have it with me today. Dara, Bailey and Liam (three doodle mixes) were all playing together. Usually Liam (since he is bigger) dominates the play time and can easily steal any toy from another dog's mouth. Yet today Bailey and Dara joined forces and decided to gang up on Liam. It was adorable the way they kept playfully wrestling him to the ground. It was the first time he had been outnumbered, but he took the beating pretty well and the play session lasted quite a while.They were so cute! A good day. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Training Day 47

As you may know the reason (well part of the reason) Bailey  has been living with his trainer is because our family dog Annie was very dog aggressive. Also because she was quite old I didn't want to introduce a puppy into the house and stress her out. She was the sweetest dog with people. Kids use to climb all over her and she wouldn't do anything except stand there patiently. She knew all her toys by name and if you  said "Annie go get your monkey" she would look all over until she found her monkey.When nobody was paying attention to her she would lie on her back and "smile" (she would pull her top lip back) and wait for someone to not be able to resist her smile, and give her attention. Up until recently as I would be heading to bed Annie would come from wherever she was at and lay down on her bed in my room and spend all night with me. We had to put her down on Saturday. She was the best dog and will be missed!
So when I got there today I was eager to see Bailey after such a sad weekend. He was in his crate and made a happy fuss when he saw me at the door. After we let him out he jumped on top of me and immediately washed my face with kisses. Then we went straight into a light switch session. Today we worked on something a little different. The light switches we have on the big wooden board are at three different heights. But in the real world a light switch would be positioned higher. So today we took the little mobile switch board and held it up higher against the wall. My goal was to get Bailey to jump up and put his front paws on the wall in order to flip the switch. He was hesitant at first but eventually I got him to jump up twice onto the wall. But both times I could tell he was not use to this and he did not flip the switch. I still rewarded him for jumping up though . Like everything this will come.
 So after that I took Bailey out to play hide and seek. My aide took Bailey into the tennis courts and practiced sit, down and stay. I hid in the back yard. Bailey was really into the game today and every time my aide said "go find Eva" he pulled her through the courts and into the yard to find me. After that we went inside to chill for a little bit and my Mom and Aunt came over to hang out with me and Bailey. He was kind of nervous having so many visitors but didn't bark or growl at them (definitely an improvement). Eventually he went up to both of them asking for attention. He would go in a circle from me to my aide to my Mom to my Aunt getting love and pats. So cute! I figured out that the trick with new people is to just have them ignore him and then eventually he can't stand that no one is giving him attention so he gets over his shyness and approaches them. So after their visit it was time for lunch. Bailey just chilled while we ate lunch and then when we were done we took Bailey out into the side yard for some play time.  All in all a good day.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Training Day 46

So today when I got there Bailey was in his crate in the den. He barked happily until he was let out and then jumped up on me and gave me kisses. My friend was coming over today to film me and Bailey for a school project. So while we waited for her I put Bailey on leash and did a light switch session. He did great and flipped the switch every time I took him over to it. After he nails turning it on confidently 100% of the time, then it will be time to start teaching him to turn it off. Oy, we'll see how that one goes.
Because Bailey was a little uncomfortable meeting a friend of mine last week I decided to use some tricks today when he was meeting this friend. Instead of having her talk to him and try coax him over I had her completely ignore him and just talk to me and my aide for a while. Initially he was a little hesitant and let out a worried growl,but soon, feeling ignored, went up to her and licked her hand. After that she sat on the floor and he was totally cool with her.
So we all piled in the van and drove to Petco. I wanted to take Bailey to Petco without his vest to work on his dog/people hesitation (he sometimes gives a worried growl when he sees other dogs). Of course when we got to Petco there was only one other dog in the store. When we passed by the little dog Bailey showed no fear at all. He even went up to it to say hi. Go figure! Also this was the first time I let people pet Bailey because he didn't have his vest on. Only a couple people tried to pet him. He kind of shied away (which I actually want him to do when he's working) but didn't seem too bothered by the strangers reaching out to him. No growling what so ever in the store.
Bailey did act different today at the store. I think because he wasn't vested and "working" he was a bit more relaxed and less focused on me. Which was totally fine because that was kind of the point of the trip. While standing in the check out line he did catch a whiff of all the barrels of dog treats sitting right next to him. But as soon as my aide said "leave it" he turned away and sat politely next to me until we checked out. I was very pleased. After that we went back to my trainer's house and just chilled for a while. Then I called it a day and left him with his friends in the side yard.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Training Day 45

When we got there today Bailey was not crazy hyper like on Monday. He was in the kitchen wagging his tail when I came in and patiently waiting for me to get him. I let him out, he did his little happy dance/trot and then together we went into the den. My trainer came in a few minutes later to tell me about Bailey's night before. He was in one of the obedience classes with a couple other hyper dogs.  She said he did amazing, even when his brother was brought to join the class too. During the conversation a funny thing happened. Bailey kept looking up at all of us talking (and not paying attention to him) and pretty soon began turning on the light over and over and over again. It was hilarious because we were trying to have a conversation but had to stop every ten seconds and praise him for being a good boy. So after that we did the light switch since he was clearly into it. He did great! It's becoming too easy for him.
After that we did hide and seek and he did pretty good. He seemed really into it today and zoomed around the yard to find me three times in a row. One of the times my aide even had to let go of the leash because she couldn't stop him from running on the pool cover (and trying to take her with him). I tried to do an auto sit session after hide and seek. But Bailey was too worn out and just laid down every time I stopped my chair. So we headed back inside and Bailey crashed out hard.
While he was sleeping I checked my email and then received a phone call from a friend. We put the phone on speaker and Bailey jumped up and kept looking around trying to figure out who was talking. It was so cute! After that I wanted to do one more light switch session before lunch. This time I had Bailey on leash next to me and I walked him up to the light switch.  Watch how well he does...

After that it was lunch time. During lunch Bailey was soooo annoyed with a fly that kept landing on him. He tried to catch it and missed. Even when it stopped harassing him he was still looking all over the den trying to hunt him down. So after lunch it was playtime and one of my friends stopped by the house to meet Bailey for the first time. Bailey was very shy and barked when he first saw her. It took a good ten minutes before he was comfortable enough to go up to her and say hi. Now I am sure Bailey is going through a fear stage because he is a bit shy but not THAT shy! Eventually he warmed up and they even played a round of fetch together. He also kept going up to her asking for attention. After that we left for the day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Training Day 44- hyper pups

So I normally don't go to Bailey's trainer's house on Mondays but tomorrow I have an appointment and won't be able to see him. So when I got there today one of the dogs (not my dog) had been having some fun in the den. Mac , a Bull Terrier had taken one of the feather pillows off the couch, tore it open and spread its fuzzy feather guts all over the den. So needless to say the den was out of order this morning. Bailey and his brother were out in the side yard so I went out there to hang out until the den was cleaned up.
I have never seen the boys as hyper as they were this morning. They were jumping on everything and everyone. At one point Bailey was trying to get my aide's attention and jumped up sooo high that his eyes were looking right into hers (she's 5'4). He usually NEVER jumps on anyone but me, but they were so hyper today that he just couldn't help himself. He must have jumped up on me to give me kisses at least 25 times! In between jumping spurts the two boys were zooming all around the yard pursuing various toys.
Once the den was de-feathered we brought Bailey inside. I wanted to do a light switch session before he crashed out. He got it!!! He was consistently turning on the light. In fact as soon as he saw the bag of treats come out of my aide's pocket he walked over to the light and flipped it on without even being asked. He did this about ten times in a row and I was squealing with joy. The biggest difference is that Bailey now clearly understands the motion to flip the switch with his nose. Where as before he would sometimes hit the switch up with his nose and other times just touch his nose lightly to the switch. So after that he passed out and it was time for lunch.
After lunch we did one more light session and Bailey did almost as good as the first time. Watch:

After that it was time to go. I put Bailey in the kitchen with all the other dogs and left for the day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Training Day 43

Today when we got there Bailey was waiting for me in his crate. We let him out of the crate and took him into the backyard. He was so excited to see me that he gave me tons of kisses. I took him to get busy, since I was about to take him out for a coffee date with a friend. We loaded Bailey up in the van and drove over to Starbucks. When we got there I chose the table that was closest to the window and right next to the counter with all of the milk and sugar for the customers. I thought this would be a great place to sit since it would give Bailey lots of practice ignoring distractions. Right after we sat down and Bailey settled onto his mat, he suddenly stood up and gave out one quick bark. I looked through the window to see what he had barked at and a medium sized dog had just appeared right on the other side of the glass from Bailey. The dog's owners sat at the table with him at their side to enjoy their coffee. My aide told Bailey "quiet" and he quickly sat down on his mat and gave her his full attention. He then laid back down onto his mat and turned away from the dog at the window. The dog was sitting outside for at least 45 more minutes and Bailey chose to completely ignore him. What a good boy!
He was so good the whole time we were there that this was the first time that for a moment I actually forgot he was next to me. Because he was laying right next to the counter, several times during our visit  people were standing literally two inches from his face, and he didn't flinch a muscle. We also kept getting bombarded with freindly starbucks baristas offering us holiday samples. Again Bailey didn't acknowledge them at all.
So after our 1 1/2 hour  coffee visit we went back to the trainer's house. I took Bailey out back to get busy. He peed for a minute straight. It was then lunch time, and he just chilled out the whole time. Then it was time to go and Bailey went into the side yard to hang out with his buddies.
For those of you who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Training Day 42

When I got there today I couldn't find Bailey anywhere. Thankfully I knew that he was probably on an outing with my trainer and would be back soon. When he got back from his outing I was waiting in the den and he was super excited to see me. He quickly jumped up on me and gave me lots of kisses. My trainer had taken him to the grocery store for a training session and focused primarily on the "leave it" command. She said she took Bailey up and down the aisles with many smells such as dog food, soap and meat. He did great. She also commented on how well he walked beside her, never pulling at all. What a good boy!
 We went straight into a light switch session and he nailed it! He's turning on the mobile light switch 85% of the time, which is awesome. Then we did an old classic, bell training. He did phenomenally and got up/looked up at me every time I hit the bell. Even when I barely hit the bell and it gave off a quiet "ping" he still jumped up to attention. Then it was time for hide and seek and I decided to do something a little different today. Instead of playing hide and seek in the tennis courts we just went out to the back yard by the pool. My aide would take Bailey around the corner near to the tennis court entrance and practice sit/stay. While she did this I would hide in the back yard.When my aide said "go find Eva" Bailey would pull my aide around the corner to find me. During one of the games a funny thing happened. Remember how Bailey loves to run on the pool cover? Well when Bailey came zooming around the corner to find me with my aide in tow, he decided to take a short cut and began running across the pool. My aide had to slam on her brakes (so to speak ) and barely missed landing on top of the pool cover. Bailey did great because even though she stopped him from running he chose a different path and still pulled her to find me. After hide and seek it was chill time. I gave Bailey two bones to chew (he always needs two) and he quickly passed out.
While he was sleeping  a couple brought over three of their dogs to be boarded overnight. It was the first time these three dogs Butch, Lucky and Charlie had been to my trainer's house so it was quite a symphony of barks and howls. At first Bailey was trying SO hard not to bark, you could literally see him trying to fight off the urge. But after a few minutes he gave in and started barking to see what was going on and say hello. So we did some basic obedience practice to redirect his attention. Bailey is funny-when he is doing basic obedience and in a down stay he randomly let's out little "boofs" , because he just  can't help himself. Overall he did really well despite all the commotion.
Before lunch we did one more light switch session. This time I had Bailey on leash and I walked him over to the light switch (as I will do when he lives with me). At first my aide would say "get the light" and Bailey would flip the switch. Then we tried it with me walking him over to the switch and her not saying anything (again how it will be when he lives with me). After a minor delay he hit the switch and was rewarded. What a good boy. After that it was lunch time, and Bailey just chilled.
Once we finished lunch it was play time and I wanted Bailey to meet the three new dogs staying at the house. Everyone got along very well and Bailey made a new friend, Charlie a twenty pound chihuahua mix. All in all a very good day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Training Day 41

So today was different. I met up with  Bailey's trainer, who brought  Bailey and his brother Liam, for a day at the Universal City Walk. For those of you who don't know, City Walk is a loud, visually overwhelming outdoor mall next to Universal Studios. We planned a day seeing a movie and eating lunch out with the two boys. We decided to meet up in a parking lot down the hill and then all pile up in my van for the drive up to the City Walk. When we got there my trainer took the two dogs out of her car and I saw Bailey scoping out my familiar looking van while I sat inside. When the door opened and he saw me waiting for him he began wagging his tail excitedly and immediately ran up the ramp and jumped on the back seat.  We drove up to the parking lot, parked and began our walk up to the movie theater. Bailey was awesome and was not distracted by anything; randomly spurting water fountains, loud rock music, squealing kids and flashing lights. Liam, who I always see off duty really surprised me. Normally when I see him he is a big goof ball and is always trying to get Bailey to play with him, but today on duty he was Mr. Professional.
So this was Bailey's first movie and he did phenomenally! My trainer brought blankets for Bailey and his brother to lie on during the movie, and Bailey crashed out. The darkness of the movie theater didn't faze him at all. At one point during the movie loud gunshots were fired and Bailey didn't even flinch. I was beaming with pride.
After the movie we went out for lunch. Both boys just laid at the foot of the table quietly, despite the people dining next to us and the servers constantly walking past them. I was most impressed with Bailey "working" with his brother (and play mate) right beside him. Bailey didn't even try to play with him and if Liam was trying to get his attention Bailey would ignore him. What an awesome day! I'm so proud of Bailey.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Training Day 40

So when I got  there today Bailey was in his crate in the den waiting for me. When I went into the den he jumped up on me and gave me some hello kisses. Then we went straight into the light switch training. Today we did something different. As you may know we have been giving Bailey chicken treats when he actually flips the switch and kibble when he touches his nose to it. We have been doing this because in the past he lost interest in the task because he wasn't getting very many treats and became frustrated and confused.  But today he was only given a treat when he actually flipped the switch. He did great and flipped the switch 75% of the time. And he did not show any signs of frustration or disinterest when he wasn't getting treats.
After the light switch I wanted to do a few games of hide and seek. Unfortunately Bailey was not interested. For the first game I went to hide outside of the tennis courts and my aide practiced sit and down commands with Bailey while I hid. She then said "go find Eva" and Bailey took off running excitedly like he usually does. But after looking around the tennis courts for about 10 seconds he stopped and decided he was much more interested in sniffing the concrete than trying to figure out where I was. He eventually casually walked my aide out of the tennis courts to where I was waiting, but it took forever! But when he found me he did happily jump up and give me some kisses. We tried one more game but it was clear that Bailey just wasn't into it today. So I decided to play a different game with him and we worked on fetch. He's slowly getting the concept of chasing, and returning the ball. And to reinforce this behavior he was given chicken treats and a click whenever he brought the ball back to me or my aide. Then it was chill time. Bailey was soooo tired and immediately crashed out within two seconds.
We let Bailey take a good long nap and then did one more light switch session. This time I wanted to see if Bailey would flip the regular switch instead of the bigger one, and he did! His batting average went down a bit but he still flipped it about 50% of the time. After that it was lunch time and Bailey crashed out once again. As soon as we finished lunch it was play time.
Bailey's brother Liam was there today so it was a lively session. At one point Bailey decided that (like many of his buddies) I needed a deer antler to chew on. He picked one up and began carrying it towards me. I thought he would just lie down next to me and enjoy his treat but instead he clumsily jumped up on me and held it to my face before dropping it in my lap. It was as if he was saying "Here Mom I got you one too"! He and his brother were again super cute today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Training Day 39

So today was kind of different. I don't usually work with Bailey on Mondays but I have an appointment tomorrow so  I asked my trainer if I could come by today. She had made plans to have a guest at the house and I couldn't work with Bailey in the den. So instead I decided today would be a good day for an outing. So when we got there I stayed in the van while my aide went to go get Bailey. He was playing in the tennis courts and when he was let out through the gate he said a quick hello to my aide and then zoomed around the back yard to the den door excitedly expecting to see me. My aide put him on leash and lead him out to the van. She said at first he seemed a tiny bit confused as to why I wasn't around, but as soon as he saw me in the van his tail began swishing wildly and immediately he ran up the ramp and hopped onto the back seat for our outing together.
I decided to take Bailey to Starbucks to work on his long down stay. When we got to Starbucks and sat down he settled in pretty quickly laying next to me. At one point  some foolish young guy left his dog outside the front door of Starbucks unleashed. I only noticed this because Bailey let out a mild bark in the dog's direction. Now I could have handled this one of two ways; I could have said "no' and collar popped him.,or I could have re-directed his attention and rewarded him for being quiet. I chose the latter and used this moment as a great training opportunity. Bailey did very well and even turned his back to the window where he originally spotted the other dog. The reason I didn't collar pop him was because he would have only learned what not to do and not what he should do instead.
At another point during our coffee stop a man sat at a table near to us and Bailey went over to him, sniffing his leg. He was told "leave it" and  he quickly turned back around towards me and was rewarded with a treat. He soon laid back down quietly. A little bit later he got up again and I thought he might need to get busy so I asked my aide to take him out front to the grass area. She grabbed his leash and lead him towards the door but as she was opening the door he instead tried to exit through the clear glass window. A loud thunk ensued and all eyes in the place turned to Bailey. Luckily it sounded a lot worse than it actually was and Bailey then walked through the front door unfazed. My aide and I were cracking up and I kind of felt bad for laughing, but we just couldn't help ourselves it was just too unexpected and funny. When Bailey was back inside next to me I heard a firetrucks sirens and saw one driving down the street. I was a bit concerned that Bailey might start doing the firetruck howl but he didn't even look at it when it passed us.  What a good boy!
By the time we finished chatting and enjoying our drinks Bailey had been in Starbucks for almost two hours and had done amazingly well. We packed everything up and headed back to my trainer's. When we got there I took Bailey out back to get busy before it was lunch time. At lunch Bailey crashed out and I left soon after that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training Day 38

When we opened the front door today Bailey startled us when he popped his head out to say hello. My aide was so surprised she shut the door in his face (usually there are no dogs allowed in the area where the door is). She then opened the door again so Bailey could greet me. He was so happy to see me that he ran into the gated front yard jumped up on me and started giving me kisses. After that fantastic greeting we all went back inside to the den. We started the day with a light switch session. We used the small mobile board and he did phenomenally!  At one point it seemed like Bailey was losing interest so we decided to stop. We were putting away the supplies and kind of ignoring Bailey when he walked over to the big light switch board and turned on the light. We went nuts with excitement, and Bailey got a big piece of chicken for him being so smart!
So after the light switch session I wanted to do some bell training. We hadn't worked on this in a while and I was kind of nervous that Bailey would not remember.Nope! He remembered and looked up at me almost every time I rang the bell. What a good boy. So after that it was hide and seek time. I was the one hiding but Bailey was on leash and had to bring my aide to me. He did great! I even hid outside of the tennis courts (something I've never done before) and he still pulled my aide to find me. At first he was a bit confused when he couldn't find me in the tennis courts but once he heard the beep of my wheel chair he quickly figured out how to get to me. After that it was break time and a funny thing happened. My aide and I were checking my cell phone when it began to ring. We answered it on speaker phone and a recorded voice came on the line loudly. Bailey had been in a deep sleep but quickly sat up confused at the new noise. He looked at us with complete curiosity and began cocking his head to the side and then quickly cocking his head to the other side. He did this quite a few times to the point where it made him look like a animatronic toy and we busted up laughing.
So after break time I wanted to do one more light switch session. Here is a video of how it went.

After that it was lunch time and then play time. Overall a good day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Training Day 37

When we got there today Bailey was in his crate in the den. So, zero "where's my dog" today. As soon as he was let out of the crate he jumped up and started giving me kisses. After saying hello, my aide went into the kitchen to put our lunches away and while she was gone Bailey was ALL OVER me! Three times in a row he jumped on me and was giving me endless love! It was awesome! After that we began our training with a light switch session. We started with the regular switch today. He was putting his nose up to the switch every time he was told but he was not hitting it. So we got the other modified switch and began using that one. It was really important that he hit the switch today. Since he had an upset stomach last week we were using kibble for reward and not his favorite, chicken. Today we were introducing chicken back into his diet and he was only going to get it if he hit the switch. Since it had been so long since he was given his favorite treat I thought that he might make the light switch connection a bit more clearly today since I knew he would reeeeeeeallly want that chicken, and he did! (kinda). When the modified switch was brought to him he hit it up and got tons of praise and tons of chicken. After that he hit the switch almost every single time. The cute thing was, he got so excited for all the praise and chicken that he began to joyously jump on my aide when he flipped the switch, because he knew what was coming.
After that great session we tried auto-sit with eyes. I think he's still trying to figure this one out. He knows he's got to do something else besides just sitting to get a treat but he's just not quite sure what that is yet. It will come in time. Then it was chill time. There are a few different dog beds in the den and Bailey chose the one right next to me and laid there the entire time. I let Bailey crash out for about an hour and then we did one more light switch session. He did pretty good and flipped the switch on the small board 75% of the time. When it was time for lunch my aide went to get our food ready and I was a bit nervous he might have an accident. We are still not exactly sure what upset his stomach last week and since this was the first day we were reintroducing chicken I was uncertain if an "accident" might happen. But everything was fine and he slept all through lunch, and had no stomach issues for the rest of the afternoon. Then it was play time. All the dogs were kind of chill today and we just hung out and enjoyed their company.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training Day 36

When we got there today I couldn't find Bailey. He wasn't in the den and his crate was empty. I looked in the kitchen, not there. Then I went out back and there were a bunch of his friends in the tennis courts but no Bailey. Confused, I headed back inside and just as I entered the den, my Trainer arrived with Bailey. She had taken him to OSH this morning for an outing and was just coming back home. Bailey was so excited to see me and immediately jumped up to give me a ton of kisses. We first worked on the light switch and an awesome thing happened. He turned on the light using the original smaller sized light switch attached to the board. I was so amazed because this is the first time he has hit the light switch on using the normal small sized switch and not the big one we made. I of course gave him lots of praise and treats. Then it was time to meet up with a friend for coffee.
So we loaded up Bailey and headed to the coffee house down the street. Bailey was such a good boy. He just laid next to me for the entire time (over an hour). My trainer had said that Bailey needs to go on more outings to boost his confidence in public places. Overall he is very comfortable on outings with me. But every once in a while an unfamiliar loud noise distracts him because he is not used to it. So the more he goes out with me than the less likely he is to care about these weird/loud/unfamiliar noises. Luckily if he is startled by something he gets over it pretty quickly. Plus he's kinda due for another fear stage so I expect him to act fearful sometimes. After coffee we headed back to my trainer's house and I took him outside to get busy before we had lunch. 
 Once we finished our lunch it was play time. Because Bailey had a busy morning and was such a good boy I wanted to reward him with a good play session. His brother Liam was in the side yard today, so I knew Bailey would have a blast outside with him. Today my trainer introduced a new toy to all the dogs. They all wanted to play with it and Bailey was trying especially hard to convince his friend Dara to share.


Then he got it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Training Day 36

When we got there today my trainer had left us a note saying that Bailey's stomach seems to be back to normal. But we however, decided just to stick with kibble treats today instead of chicken. We started off today with a light switch session and he did well. He flipped the switch a few times and got lots of praise instead of chicken. Even though we weren't using chicken today (his favorite treat) it didn't seem to make a difference with his motivation or performance. After that we tried our new "eye" command. He seems to be getting it and looks into my eyes 70% of the time. Then we went outside for an auto-sit session but I upped the ante. Not only does Bailey have to automatically sit when I stop my chair, he now has to look me in the eyes after he sits in order to receive a reward. This way he will be ready in case I give him an eye command. He caught on pretty quickly. At the beginning of the session two of Baileys friends came running into the yard and were trying to distract him by barking and even trying to get treats from my aide. Bailey sat next to me quietly poised and waiting for my next move. What a good boy.
 After the auto sit session I wanted to do a game of hide and seek in the tennis courts. I hid but Bailey was on a short leash today with my aide. My aide would guide Bailey to an area far from where I was hiding and then tell him "go find Eva'. Since he was on a short leash he had to pull my aide to where I was at to "find me". Now Bailey never pulls while on leash, but he seemed to understand he was leading my aide to me and the very first round he pulled her with no hesitation. After a few games of hide and seek it was chill time and we went back inside the house for a break, and soon it was time for lunch.
After lunch I wanted to try something new for our light switch training. This time Bailey was on leash and attached to my chair. I had my aide take the light switch board and go to one side of the room. Then I walked Bailey over to where the light switch was and when he touched his nose to the switch he got a treat. This is a more realistic way to teach the light switch since in the future I will be entering rooms with him and he will need to turn on/off the lights when I stop in front of a light switch. He did great! I think that me taking him around the room makes the task more exciting for him. After that it was play time. Sadly, his brother was not at the house today. But I got some great photos of Bailey hanging out with me, Magic and his girlfriend Lucy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Training Day 35

When we got there today Bailey was in the den and was super excited to see me. A note from my trainer explained that Bailey's stomach problems have returned. and he had another accident. Although he has diarrhea he is still eating, drinking and acting completely normal. So we went straight into light switch training. He did great and again generalized the switches, touching his nose to different ones. After that we went into the tennis courts and tried a new version of hide and seek. We put Bailey on a 20 foot leash, held by my aide, and had him stand next to me.  I then gave him the "go get help" eye command (me looking at Bailey and then up at my aide) and asked my aide to tug on the leash at the same time. Unfortunately Bailey had no clue as what we were trying to teach him. And watching my aide try to follow Bailey around and untangle his 20 foot leash was pretty hysterical. So I decided to try something else. We went back to the original hide and seek game, with me hiding, but altered it a little bit. I had my aide take Bailey on leash to a corner of the courts and I went to hide. She then told him "go find Eva" but since he was on leash he had to take her with him. I did not put peanut butter on my hand as we would previously do. Instead he only got a treat when my aide had followed him over to me, and acknowledged me verbally/physically. He seemed to understand that my aide needed to accompany him to me and even began jumping on me in acknowledgement when he found me.  I think he may even have been copying my aide, because she would get all excited and say "Yay we found Eva" and put her hands on my arms and shoulders to show him that I was what he needed to find. After the first time she did this Bailey would jump on me when he found me copying her same physical acknowledgements.
After hide and seek it was chill time and Bailey just relaxed and chewed on a deer antler. Soon he fell into a deep sleep. When he woke up we did one more light switch session. We also tried something new. Bailey has always been super attentive towards me but I want him to focus more on my eyes so that I can use subtle eye commands that he will pick up on.  So we're trying a verbal command that we hope will transition into an automatic behavior for him. My aide is saying the command "eyes" and whenever Bailey looks me straight in the eyes he gets a reward. I think this will be an easy one for him and he's already starting to get it.
So after introducing this new task, my aide went into the kitchen to get lunch ready. Bailey began to do his "I've got to go to the bathroom dance" and was circling around the room. I thought "oh no"! And before I could do anything Bailey proceeded to empty himself on the den rug. My aide returned just as this was happening. Bailey then sat a few feet away from his pile and looked up at us so sorry. I know that he couldn't help it because he's been having stomach issues. Interestingly his stomach issues started around the same time my trainer gave all the dogs deer antlers to chew on, and this accident was about an hour after he had been chewing on an antler. Could be a coincidence but I suspect it might be related. So after we cleaned it up it was time for lunch. Since I had introduced some new commands/tasks today I decided to just have some play time after lunch. But since it was over 90 degrees today the dogs were pretty mellow and just enjoyed some relaxing sun bathing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Training Day 34

When I got there today Bailey was loose in the den. As with every Tuesday, he was extra excited to see me today. He even jumped up on my lap and gave me some big wet kisses right after I got there. Awesome! We did the light switch first thing and something very cool happened today. As you may remember, in the den is a big wooden board with three working light switches that we originally used for training. But a couple weeks ago we began using a small hand held light switch board that rekindled Bailey's interest in this task. Today during the light switch session my aide at one point said "get the light" and instead of touching the light switch she had in her hand, he walked over to the big light switch board and touched his nose  up to one of the switches there. I was amazed. This shows that he understands that when someone says "get the light" that it means any/every light switch and not just the one that I was holding in front of his face. I read about how dogs can generalize but I hadn't ever seen it for myself.  So that was really cool!
After that I did an auto-sit session. Bailey did well. I always walk him over to the chain link fence where he can see his friends. I always have him sit next to me while a bunch of dogs are wiggling and trying to get his attention, as a good distraction test. He did great! After auto-sit it was lunch time. Bailey just slept (with his two chew bones).
After lunch we did one more light switch session and Bailey did the same thing as earlier, touching his nose to different switches when asked to "get the light". Then we went straight into play time and soon left after that. Over the weekend Bailey was entered into a costume contest dressed as a vampire and won "Most Handsome" in the contest. Here is a picture of Bailey along side some of the other contestants. Sooooooo Cute!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Training Day 33

So when I got there today Bailey and his trainer were in the den together, and she said Bailey was feeling better. We started off the day with a light switch session and he did great. I think next week I am going to hold the portable light switch up against a wall so that Bailey will learn that the light switch will be on the wall and not low to the ground held in front of him. After I did the light switch I wanted to try something new. I wanted to do a new form of hide and seek. This time I wanted my aide to be the one "hiding" and I would indicate to Bailey to go find her. This however didn't go so well. I tried to tell Bailey to go to my aide by making eye contact and then moving my head and looking at my aide. Bailey did go over to my aide but not because I was asking him to, more because he was bored and she had chicken. So then we asked for the help of my trainer to be a voice that went along with my head and eye commands. After that he caught on pretty quickly. My trainer had a great idea.  She suggested that I make a sign that said something along the lines of "I need help". Bailey could then take this sign over to someone in a situation when I motioned to him that I needed help. One of the issues with that is that I can't physically un-clip his leash if I do need him to go get help. But I think a sign will attract peoples attention. So after Hide and Seek it was chill time.
Since it's almost Halloween my trainer's roommate had the best costume idea and made it a reality this afternoon. His puppy is an all black poodle and he used a non-toxic, washable hair color spray to make a white stripe that started at her nose and ended at her tail. She was the cutest poodle skunk ever.
During Bailey's break time he was asleep in the corner about ten feet away while my aide and I were chatting. She got up and left the room for a few minutes. When she left the room he lifted up his head and looked around the den for her. When he realized she wasn't in the room with me he quickly got up and came to my side. After a few moments he laid down right beside my chair. I was amazed! After lunch we had some play time and the coolest thing happened. My aide was all the way on the other side of the yard playing with one of the dogs and had her back turned to me. I see Bailey come towards me and I was thinking he was gonna stand by my side like usual, but instead he excitedly jumped up on my chair and began happily giving me kisses on his own with no coaxing! This was the first time that he has done this 100% of his own accord. It was awesome and exactly what I've been wanting him to do, showing me love when he feels like it and not by command. He stayed on my lap for quite a while. After that we just hung out in the side yard and played with the dogs.  I leave you today with a photo taken by my trainer of Bailey sleeping with his new girlfriend Lucy. Soooo cute!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Training Day 32

Today  my Trainer said that Bailey and her were up at 2am after Bailey had an "accident" on her bedroom floor. This is quite unusual for Bailey who has never pooped in the house before. Apparently he was having some stomach issues and couldn't hold it in. Thankfully my Trainer didn't rush him off to the vet like last time. But Bailey was in good spirits today despite his evening of an upset stomach.
Because of his upset stomach we stuck with only cooked chicken treats for today and we started off with light switch training. He did very well. I'm kind of leery about phasing out the treats during the light switch training. As you may remember I tried only giving him treats when he actually flipped the switch in the past and this seemed to frustrate and confuse him until he lost interest. It took me two weeks to get him interested again. So I'm trying a different tactic to teach him to always flip the light instead of just touching his nose to it. Today when Bailey touched his nose to the light he got a click and a kibble treat (kinda boring) but when he flipped the switch up he got a click, a "good boy" and a fat piece of chicken. He seemed to be flipping it more often today but still not 100%. He has definitely been more engaged in the light switch training since last Friday.
So after the light switch I wanted to do an auto-sit session. There were two dogs running around the back yard and of course they came up to Bailey to say "Hi". He was again a very good boy. He would greet them for a moment but then quickly go back into working mode and sit back down at my side. Overall the auto-sit session went very well.
We went back inside the house and after Bailey had some down time we did one more light switch session and again he did fantastic! He got one more break while we ate lunch and then it was play time. I'm doing more playtime with Bailey for two reasons. First it's just really fun! Second he seems to want to "give kisses" when he's having fun during playtime and wants to show me some love. Today he jumped up on me and was literally kissing me for two minutes straight, he just didn't want to stop giving me love, it was awesome! After some good play time we left for the day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vote for Bailey!

Hey Folks, this awesome website for and about service dogs called Please Don't Pet Me is having a calendar contest. The 12 people/dogs who get the most votes will have their picture printed in the calendar. So vote for Bailey (number 24) to appear in a service dog calendar here. You can vote once a day! Thanks

Training Day 31

Today when I got to my Trainer's house Bailey was in the kitchen. He was super excited to see me and so my Trainer let him out. As soon as she opened the gate he began happily running laps around the living room. After I took him into the den I began light switch training. He clearly remembered the session from Friday and either put his nose to the switch or flipped it up every single time he was told "get the light". My aide also tried just holding the light switch up in front of Bailey without saying anything and he still knew to put his nose to the light switch.
After that I wanted to do auto-sit. Here's a video of of all seven dogs running from the tennis courts to the side yard and greeting Bailey along the way. (Isn't Bailey being such a good boy)

He did very well during our auto-sit session. After that I took him inside and let him chill. Then I did one more light switch session and he did just as well as earlier in the day. It seems that Bailey has a better understanding of what I am asking of him because even when he is not flipping the switch he seems to be making the upward nose motion (that would flip a switch up) more often. After that it was get busy time and I took him out back for a minute. Then we had lunch.
When we finished lunch we went straight into playtime with the crew. My aide had a suggestion about "give kisses" instead of trying to treat train him to do this as a "task" she thought that if we just did it during playtime when he was having fun and wanted to give kisses naturally that it would reinforce this as a fun thing instead of a work duty and as time goes on he will just do this naturally.  So during playtime my aide said "give kisses' and Bailey jumped up on me with ease and started licking my face. Here is a video of the second time he gave me kisses.

Then we just chilled and watched everyone play in the yard. Here is a cute video of Bailey playing with his friend Maddie. Excuse the demon face he makes when he's playing.

Monday, October 25, 2010


As you might remember about one month ago I presented at a a class for special ed teachers. Well today I presented at a class for physical therapists and naturally Bailey came along. I went to my Trainer's house and had my aide go in and get Bailey vested up and ready to go. When she went inside Bailey was in the kitchen area with a couple other dogs and was super excited that she was there, but when she opened the gate he ran around the living room looking for me.She put him on his leash and took him out to my van. Bailey just had a hair cut so she paraded him around the driveway as if he was on a catwalk so that I could check out his new look. We then drove to the campus for my lecture.
When we got there I wanted to see if Bailey needed to go pee so I walked him around a grassy area next to the parking lot. We then went into the classroom and I put Baileys mat down next to me. He laid down on it immediately. He seemed less distracted by the students standing around him than the last time we were here. He did try to visit with the students sitting next to him on the floor but for the most part he was awesome and stayed right by my side. After that I just took him home and headed out. It was a quick but successful day.
When I arrived home I found out my insurance company is going to pay for 85% of the vet bills I acquired when Bailey had a stomach problem. Yay!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Training Day 31-What an awesome day!

Today was a breakthrough day. When I first got there today Bailey was in his crate barking excitedly at my arrival. I took Bailey outside for an auto-sit session and realized that all of the eight dogs at my trainers house right now were still in the tennis courts and about to make their chaotic way through the back yard where I was sitting with Bailey. Normally I try to avoid this huge distraction and take Bailey outside after the dogs are gone.  But since I was already out there I thought "what the hell let's see what happens". Bailey was leashed to me and in a sit position when 10 million (or so it seemed) dogs came racing through the yard and bounding and hopping all around Bailey excitedly.  In particular his brother Liam was trying to get him to play pretty persuasively. Bailey just stood there like a polite professional service dog and definitely told his brother through body language "hey Dude I'm working right now". Awesome! So then I started  a session of auto-sit since Bailey is really good at that. Then I brought out my new contraption for light switch training. My aide put a light switch on a small piece of plywood and then added a little plastic piece to the end of the switch to make it bigger. The idea was to attach this board to the side of my wheel chair with the switch on it, in hopes that it would recapture Baileys interest since it was attached to me and we were "working". At first it seemed he wasn't interested and I was getting bummed out. He laid down next to me and let out a little whine. We decided that the session was over and my aide took the board off my chair. But after she took it off she held it up in front of him as a last attempt and he suddenly showed interest and immediately put his nose to the switch. We praised him like crazy, and re-encouraged we kept going. Now every time my aide said "get the light " he put his nose up to the switch and even flipped it up quite a few times. We of course went nuts with excitement. It seems that his interest has been rekindled towards the light switch task. Then we went inside and Bailey crashed out.
 I let Bailey have a well deserved break after the awesome morning. But I really wanted to reinforce the light switch task, so after his rest we tried again. This time we did it inside and I left him off leash. I want it to be fun for Bailey and it's important that it is his choice to want to do/figure out this task. He did great even though he was rewarded with peanut butter instead of his favorite chicken (we had run out of  from rewarding him so much earlier). He flipped the switch several times. I'm so proud of him! Then it was lunch time and Bailey crashed out again.
After lunch I wanted to reward Bailey with some play time in the side yard with all his friends. We were tossing him and his brother the ball for a while and suddenly I feel a dog on top of me. My aide was standing next to me and since Bailey and his brother Liam were so excited  while playing she decided to tell Liam to give me kisses hoping that Bailey would see how it's done. But when she said "give Eva kisses' it was Bailey that immediately jumped up on my lap with no hesitation and began licking my face.  I was so surprised that for a moment I thought it was Liam. Bailey had never ever jumped up on me without assistance before. My aides mouth dropped to the floor and we were squealing in happy shock. He got tons of praise and once he jumped off of me my aide said once again "give kisses" and he jumped on me for a second time. I was so happy!  After such a great event, we just chilled out and let all the dogs run around and play together.
When it was time to head out my trainer said that she would call all the dogs into the house so that I could have an easy exit. She excitedly called Liam and Bailey in last and Bailey went towards her and then decided no. He turned around and came over to me and would not leave my side for anything. So instead I took him into the house through another door myself. What a good way to start the weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Training Day 30

So today was a little different. My mom came to visit Bailey at my Trainer's house. She had seen Bailey the very first day he was in Southern California about three months ago and hadn't seen him since. Bailey was excited to see her. We visited for a while and then we did a bell session to show off what a good boy Bailey is. Then we tried "give kisses". Since we had another set of hands we had my aide call to Bailey while holding a treat in my lap and had my Mom put Bailey's paws on my chair to get the treat. He would eat the treat but he would never jump up himself to get it. It's funny- most puppy owners are trying to get their dogs NOT to jump on them and I'm desperately trying to get him TO jump on me.
So after we visited I took Bailey out to get busy and then it was time for lunch. Bailey just slept all through lunch. After lunch we did a "leave it" session. We started out with peanut butter and Bailey didn't touch it. Then we added chicken liver Kong treat on top of the peanut butter to up the ante. He still didn't try to touch it. Then we added his favorite treat, chicken. He was tempted by the chicken and went for it one time but was easily and quickly redirected. The one time he tried to get the chicken he scooted up to the piece on the floor, moved in for the bite and literally had his tongue within 2 millimeters of the chicken. My aide said "leave it" and he looked up at her, tongue still sticking out and then quickly pulled back. What a good boy! Since it was still raining today I put Bailey back in the kitchen to play with his buddies and we left a little bit early.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Training Day 29

So today I had to go to Bailey's house a little later than usual. He was super excited to see me and I could hear him barking for me as soon as I opened the door to the van in the driveway. We tried the dreaded light switch today. I had bought some new red colored plastic tubes to put on the switch hoping that the new color and shape might draw his attention to the task, but no. He seemed even less interested than usual. This light switch dilemma stumps me. Bailey is usually so easy to teach a new task to . And I can definitely tell he is frustrated because he doesn't even seem interested in the switch anymore and isn't trying to figure out like he use to do.
So after our light switch disaster we tried the "give kisses" command. He does it with my aide (jumps up on her lap) but he doesn't do it with me. I honestly think he is afraid to get up on me. Because he gives me kisses but does it by putting his head in my lap instead of actually putting his paws up on my chair.
So after two unsuccessful training activities I, the genius, decided to take Bailey outside for an auto-sit session right away. I was still kind of frustrated and I could tell Bailey was too. So he didn't do so well.  I should have given him a break before taking him outside. Bad trainer! So after that it was get busy time and then lunch.
After lunch I really had to use the restroom so my aide and I left our plates (with food still on them) on the den table and left the room. Bailey was alone and loose in the den and out of our sight. He was such a good boy he didn't touch any of the tempting left overs from our lunch (meat, cheese a doggy daydream). This was not planned but ended up being a great training opportunity and a nice successful surprise.
After that I wanted to try one more auto sit session since Bailey had now had a break from his frustrating morning. He did a lot better this time. After that we took Bailey into the side yard to play. Bailey is now suddenly playing fetch like an expert. My aide was stunned and asked me "how the hell did he figure that out overnight?" , nobody knows why he all the sudden "loves" fetch, which he had zero interest in before. But I'm excited about this new play opportunity. So after fetch we left for the day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Training Day 28

When I got to my trainer's house, Bailey was in the kitchen with my trainer. He was so happy to see me he started his "happy dance". My trainer wanted to take him to get busy before giving him to me, but I knew he was too distracted to go. I did bell training and he's very good at it now. Then it was hide and seek time! He did excellent. Once reason I like hide and seek is because it reinforces his verbal commands. Now you might be like "why does that matter? You are non-verbal." My aides will always have to handle him to a degree- whether it's a potty break or I'm out of the room for some reason. He needs to behave as well with my aides as he does with me. So after hide and seek it was nap time. I did auto sit after he woke up. Despite a loud and obnoxious beagle that my trainer is boarding, Bailey did well. He's getting to the point where he sits and looks at me vs just sitting. I tried the "give kisses" command again but he is still not into it. Despite encouragement, he is still nervous he will hurt me. Hopefully practicing will ease his worries. After that it was lunch time and Bailey just slept. An awesome thing happened- the beagle was barking her head off and Bailey did not react. No little woofs or anything. I was so proud. After lunch it was play time. Remember when I said Bailey was not a fetch dog? Well it seems like he's kind of getting the game. He chases the ball and will sometimes bring it back vs just watching it. His brother came home and they are just so cute together. Next week for hide and seek, my aide will be the hider and I will be the one telling bailey via head movement to "go get help".  We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Training Day 27

So today when I got to my Trainer's house Bailey was inside of his crate  and was so excited to see me. When my aide let him out she had forgotten to shut the gate to the den and he he began joyously bounding through the living room in a wiggly, hopping, happy dance. Since he had so much energy I decided we should play hide and seek first thing today. Instead of calmly walking next to me on the way to the tennis courts he  raced ahead of me, running over the pool cover,  and flew towards the entrance to the courts. Once he got to the entrance and realized that I wasn't quite as fast he was he trotted back to my side and walked with me the rest of the way. Hide and seek was great, I love watching him enthusiastically run towards me when he's told "go find Eva". He got tired pretty quickly because it was so hot out today, so our game was a little shorter than usual. We went back inside and Bailey crashed out within seconds.
After a little rest I did an auto-sit session on leash today and he did really well. Then we switched his leash and it was time for him to "get busy". He peed quickly. We then tried something new. Some trainers use a technique called "do it" to teach new tasks. The idea is you get your dog to copy what you are doing when you give the command "do it". So I had my aide sit and then tell Bailey "do it" and when he sat he was rewarded. She also did this with the down command (laying down on the ground command). We only did this for a short while but he seemed to understand what was being asked of him. I'm hoping this "copy me" method will help him to learn to use the light switch.
After lunch I employed Bailey's brother Liam to show Bailey it's okay to put his paws on my wheel chair and give me kisses.  Liam got the idea behind the saying "give kisses" immediately and once Bailey saw his brother doing it he wanted to do it too. He was at first a little hesitant still to put his weight on me but once my aide put his front feet on my chair he visibly relaxed and began licking my face for a long time. I'm confident that now he knows it's okay, that he will do it without hesitation next time. I know for sure that he understands the command because whenever my aide says "give kisses" even if he doesn't get on my chair he puts his head in my lap and starts licking my arm happily. Today I leave you with another cute video of Bailey playing and galloping around the side yard with his brother Liam.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Training Day 26

I always love Tuesdays. Bailey is always excited to see me after his three day weekend. Today he was in his crate when I got to my Trainer's house. He excitedly wagged his tail and wiggled around in his crate when he saw me. My Trainer however told me she took Bailey to Wal-Mart over the weekend and discovered Bailey might have a little fear of kids. This surprised me because last Friday the Mall was crawling with kids and he seemed to have no problem with them at all. My Trainer said he let out a little growl when he saw one of  the children in Wal-Mart approaching him. I am truly shocked because Bailey has never shown any fear of children in any of the other public places we've been. In fact other than the one time he growled at the woman who startled him (and we were just getting to know each other) he has never growled at anything. Anyway my Trainer wasn't too worried about it and said she was going to start walking him around playgrounds and other heavy kid zones to get him use to seeing a lot of children.
 So first we worked on bell training today, and he's getting almost 100%. Then it was time for hide and seek and he did great! He really loves this game and sometimes he "cheats" and starts to run and find me before he's told to. But when he does this he has to go back and start over. Hide and seek not only tires him out mentally but he gets exercise as well. So after hide and seek it was nap time.
After his thirty minute nap I wanted to do a round of auto-sit, but today I wanted to try it without him being on leash. I put his vest and leash on him and did one round of auto-sit just to get him in working mode. Then I took the leash off (and still kept his vest on). For a seven month old puppy he did remarkably well. He did sometimes stray from my side to sniff something interesting but was quickly redirected back to me . For the most part he heeled by my side and sat every time I stopped my wheel chair. The funny part was even when he was sniffing something about fifteen feet away from me he would suddenly notice that I had stopped my wheel chair and he would sit.  So after about three laps around the pool Bailey was tired and napped all through lunch.

After lunch I wanted to try the new "give kisses" command and have Bailey get up on my lap and lick me. He was not happy about this and was kind of confused. My aide would put his paws on my wheel chair and then say the command and give him treats. But he didn't seem into it. I think he was worried he would hurt me by getting on my chair/lap. I realize now that part of the reason Bailey would lick me when the lab was on top of me last week was because he was worried the lab might be hurting me.  Tomorrow I hope to use his brother (who has no hesitation about jumping up on people) to show Bailey that it is okay to put his front paws on my lap. We also tried to rinforce the head commands for sit and stay by having me and my aide do the head commands at the same time while verbally saying them. He didn't get it and seemed a bit confused by our exagerated head movements, hopefully this will eventually come too. I put him in his crate and then it was time to go. I leave you with a video of Bailey enjoying (figuring out how to enjoy) his new treat, carrots.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Training Day 25-Kids everywhere

Today was Mall day. Now personally  I HATE the mall, but I thought it would be a great public place for Bailey to go because he would get experience with lots of people. So when I got to my Trainer's house I decided to do something new. I had my aide go inside and get Bailey while I stayed in the van. When my aide went inside Bailey was excited to see her but was clearly looking around for me. When she put him on the leash he began skipping and jumping towards the door with excitement. My aide was telling him "okay lets go see Eva", and clearly he understood.  She brought him out and he jumped right into the van excitedly wagging his tail when he saw me. But I think he knew he was vested and working because even though he was excited to see me he got in the van and jumped up on the seat and let himself be belted in just as calmly as usual.
When we got to the Mall I walked Bailey all over. He stayed right beside me and sat every time I stopped my wheel chair (even when I was just pausing for a second and not really intending to stop). We then went to the Wal-Mart attached to the Mall. When we were entering the store a man was exiting and had a small black Chihuahua in a stroller. Before I even noticed the dog it began barking at Bailey furiously. Bailey didn't even twitch a muscle. Not only did he not bark back at the dog but chose to ignore the little yapper completely! I was so impressed. In Wal-Mart there were about ten million kids scampering through the aisles. Bailey again stayed right next to me and sat every time I stopped my chair. He does kind of have a crotch sniffing problem- which I am fixing by having my aide teach Bailey the "leave it" game. It was pretty funny though when my aide told Bailey to "leave it" as he was sniffing some dude's crotch.
After Wal-Mart we left the store and were heading back to the Van via the sidewalk.  Because we were sticking to the sidewalk we had to pass a group of workers using extremely loud power equipment to cut some metal pipes. Bailey did great and totally ignored the loud noise not fearful of it at all. After we got back to the Van we loaded up and drove back to my Trainer's house.
I took Bailey out to get busy and then he crashed out. He did wake up for a few minutes to bark/greet a new dog that came over to my Trainer's for boarding this afternoon. We tried everything (all of  our positive reinforcement tricks) to re-direct him from barking. But Bailey would still bark as he was sitting, staying and laying on command. It was pretty funny. This incident told me that he definitely knows when he's working (like not barking at the mall dog) and when he's in chill mode at home (and he thinks it's okay to bark at the new visitor).
After lunch it was definitely time for some playtime. My trainer has a full house right now, seven dogs total! So playtime was pretty fun. One beautiful chocolate Lab kept putting her paws on my lap and giving me kisses. I want Bailey to do this also but he is too polite to ever do this on his own. But I noticed when the Lab was on my lap that Bailey would come next to me and lick my hand jealously trying to get my attention away from the dog giving me kisses. Hopefully next week I'll be able to teach him a new command "give kisses" and have him also put his paws on my lap and lick my face. I think he'll get this one pretty easily because I could tell today he definitely wanted to get on my lap too. Today I leave you with a video of Bailey playing with his brother Liam.