So I wanted to try something new today. I wanted to teach Bailey hide and seek. Now you might be wondering why I would want to teach him that. It's to build the foundation for "go get help". Being able to find someone is one of the most important parts of the "go get help" task. Here's how I taught him Hide and Seek. I had my aide take Bailey to one side of the Tennis courts and since he was off leash, verbally work on his stay, sit and down commands (another bonus of the hide and seek game). Then I would go hide (which for now is just the same as going to the other side of the tennis courts). Then my aide would release Bailey from his stay position by excitedly saying "Okay, go find Eva!!!" . The very first time we tried this he was looking towards me but not 100% sure what to do until my aide said the command again and began to run towards me, while pointing. After that he knew exactly what the rules of the game were. Every time he found me he would get to lick a kong stuffing treat off my hand. He loved the hide and seek game and would excitedly race towards me every time my aide yelled "Go get Eva". My aide will soon transition from verbal down, sit and stay commands to strictly using eye and head movements as commands. Then we will switch roles and I will use the same head/eye commands to tell Bailey, "Go find my Aide" (aka help). Here is a video of Bailey's first game of hide and seek.
After coming back inside Bailey crashed out. One weird part of Bailey's teenage rebellion, he periodically jumps up on the couch and looks out the window. He NEVER use to do this and knows 100% that he is not allowed up on the furniture. Every time he is calmly told to get off the furniture with the simple command "off". Which he does. Funny way of rebelling.
After lunch I wanted to play one more hide and seek game. I also wanted to do a little experiment. I wanted to see what Bailey would do if I kept him off leash when it was time to go back to the tennis courts (now remember he looooves running on the pool cover when he is not on leash). The yard is completely surrounded by fencing so even off leash Bailey would not be able to get out of the yard. Watch what happens.
I was really impressed by how well he did. Now I would never ever have him off leash while out in public, but I was just curious as to what he would do if he was off leash.
I'm applying for another service dog. You all must be like "Why?" a couple reasons. First I found an organization that trains service dogs for non-verbal owners, but they have a five year waiting list. As awesome as owner training is, I know I will be too busy to do it in the future when Bailey retires. SD's work for about 6-8 years before it's time to retire them. So I need to get my application in now so that when Bailey retires I will be able to get another Sd immediately and not have to wait five years.
After we played hide and seek it was time to go. I put Bailey back in his crate and left.