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.


  1. So great!! That was indeed a breakthrough!! I love reading your posts and I'm totally addicted to following the progress of Bailey. Thanks for such a wonderful blog.