Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Training Day 20 and 21

So I'm combining the past two training sessions because it's just easier to write one long post rather than two shorter ones. Yesterday I was asked to be a guest speaker at a University class for Special Ed Teachers. So naturally I wanted to bring Bailey. I thought it would be a good experience for Bailey especially since most of his SD career will be accompanying me to Grad School. So I picked up Bailey and went to the University. I wanted to get there early so I could walk him around the campus for a little while. I wanted to do this for two reasons; 1st I wanted to kind of tire him out before he had to sit in the classroom for an hour. And 2nd I wanted to expose him to all the crazy stuff on a college campus. He did great! He really enjoyed rolling around on the grass. We spent a good hour just chilling in the grass and walking around the campus.
   When we got inside the classroom he passed out next to me. He slept for about fifteen minutes. Then the students gathered around me and Bailey so that they could see how I communicate with my letter board. Bailey was pretty good but did try to get some pats on the head. It was very tempting, from his perspective everybody was watching him but nobody was petting him. He was easily re-directed to stop looking for pats And after everyone sat back down he just crashed out. At one point during the question and answer session I was having a spell of bad cramps and Bailey came up to me and started licking my hand until the cramps had subsided. I was really amazed!
   So after I did my spiel  I took Bailey out to the Van to get some food and water.  He's a funny eater ( this was the first time I fed him since usually he's eaten breakfast/lunch before I see him). He takes a bite of food and then drinks a sip of water. For every bite! I was cracking up. After he ate, I took him back to the lawn area to see if he needed to get busy. He peed quickly especially for being in a new place.
   Then my Physical Therapist (the Professor of the class) and I went out to dinner. When we sat down at the table I put Bailey's mat on the floor next to my chair and he laid down quickly. He stayed there on the mat the entire time only getting up once and then laying back down quickly. ( We were in the restaurant about an hour and a half). I was very impressed. Waiters and customers walked by constantly and he chose to ignore them.
After dinner I took him back to my Trainer's house and left for the night.
    Today he was understandably, kind of tired out. We tried to do light switch training and he wasn't having it. So we did an auto-sit session and then I wanted to see if he needed to go pee. So I put him on the long leash and he peed immediately. I think it's time for Bailey to get a hair cut because every time he pees his hair gets in the way and he gets it all over himself. Lovely! So when we got back inside I only had a chance to do literally one bell ring before he passed out.
   So knowing that today was not the best day for training  I decided to have a little fun time. I took Bailey in the side yard to play with his buddies and his brother, who returned from vacation just a few days ago. Bailey and his brother are so cute together. Since they are the same age they have a similar way of playing. Here's a video of them playing. I left after that.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Training Day 19

When we got to my Trainer's house today we immediately vested Bailey up and drove to Smart & Final. Smart & Final was pretty crowded with lots of kids and their bargain shopping parents. Bailey did excellent! He stayed by my side the entire time and sat pretty quickly when I stopped my chair. Also we had no drive by petters despite all the kids. Yay!
   After we got home I took Bailey outside to pee. He now totally understands the difference between when he's on the short leash and when he's on the long leash (and it's time to "get busy"). When Bailey is put on the long leash he immediately starts sniffing the lawn looking for a place to pee. But when he's on the short leash his focus is on me and he doesn't sniff the ground. What a smart boy! Bailey immediately crashed out when we got back inside.
   After lunch we did light switch training. I've asked my aide to use verbal commands during the beginning of this training process and then once Bailey understands the task 100% my aide will only use the clicker and treats to reward Bailey, and I will be the one to tell Bailey to turn on the lights by eye pointing. In the in between phase both of us will be telling him to turn on the light, her verbally, and me eye- pointing.  Here's a video of the beginning of our training session today (He didn't do as good as it looks haha).

   Although he did awesome in the beginning he still doesn't understand 100% that he needs to actually flip the switch to get a treat instead of just touching his nose to it. I frankly don't care whether or not he understands he's turning on the light, he just has to know that he is supposed to flip the switch. I'm very impressed with the progress he's made in just three short light switch training sessions. He's such a smart boy. After the light switch session it was time to go so we put Bailey in the side yard with his friends. We had a great week together.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Training Day 18

So here's how Bailey greets me every time I come over to my trainer's house. He's kinda not supposed to run on the pool cover but it's too cute to stop him(and it's totally secure so don't worry he won't fall in).

Since my Trainer's den was being cleaned this morning I decided to start with auto-sit training in the back yard. He did really well. He sat quickly and was focused even when all of the dogs were barking at him from behind the Tennis court fence. He's doing pretty well with only getting treats every once and a while.So after auto-sit training I took Bailey inside the house because  I wanted to do light switch training. I put the light switch extender on the switch and put the switch itself about halfway up. This didn't cause the light to go on but it made it easier for Bailey to "accidentally" turn the light on. He turned it on a few times and got a big reward, a handful of his favorite treat, chicken. He seemed to understand more today than he did on Monday but he still doesn't quite get it 100%. I was however, really pleased with his progress today. He also didn't get frustrated today. 
 After light switch training I wanted to take him back outside to go pee. He peed really quickly. I think my system of putting him on a longer leash when it's time to "get busy" has really helped. Bailey crashed after he came back inside. He slept all through lunch. After lunch I wanted to do one more light switch training session. I kept it short because I didn't want him to get frustrated. He did well and I ended the session on a good note-after he hit the switch and got lots of chicken.I then took him to the tennis courts for a little playtime with his buddies. I wanted to get a video of him playing with the other dogs but everyone was pretty mellow today from the hot sun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Training Day 17

Today when we got to my Trainer's house Bailey was in the Tennis court area. He was let out and I stayed at the back of the pool yard next to the door. It was like Bailey was shot from a cannon. As soon as he went through the gate he zoomed through the yard, bounded over the pool cover and landed at my side. He then did a few more happy laps around the yard and followed me into the house. We got him vested up and loaded him into the van to go to Orchard Supply Warehouse. Here is a video showing how well he gets into my van.

At OSH he was a perfect gentleman. We walked up and down the aisles and he didn't sniff or pull. Everytime I stopped my wheelchair he would sit down next to me even when people were walking by, which could have been distracting. He did great and showed zero of his teenage rebellion. Watch:

By the end of us walking around through OSH, I could tell he was getting tired because he started to lie on the ground every time I stopped my wheelchair. So we went back to his house and I took him outside to "get busy". Again, he must have had to go really bad because he immediately went pee for literally 30 seconds. After, he slept all through lunch.
After lunch we did auto-sit training and he did really well. Even when his buddies were distracting him he wiggled and wagged his tail for a second and then while wagging his tail, remembered he was supposed to sit, and did them both at the same time. Cute! As a reward I took Bailey into the Tennis Courts to play with his buddies. All in all a very good day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Traning Day 16

We are hitting the "teenage phase". For those who don't know what the teenage phase is let me explain. At about 7-12 months dogs hit adolescence. This means in regards to training puppies that they tend to be more stubborn and "forget" previous commands. For Bailey his "teenage phase" (so far) consists of him not being focused. We did auto-sit training and he was more interested in inspecting, sniffing and licking my wheelchair than sitting. He eventually sat every time I stopped my chair but it took him a lot longer than normal to focus. After auto-sit training my physical therapist came for about an hour and Bailey laid on his mat the entire time. I think he was dreaming about nursing because he was making sucking motions with his mouth. So cute!
After physical therapy I wanted to take him out to pee. I used my new technique of putting him on a longer leash and while he didn't immediately pee he did go pretty fast. During lunchtime he napped and chewed on his bone. Baileys funny- he has to have two bones with him at the same time in between his paws. I didn't do light switch training today because I wanted him to not get frustrated .
After lunch I wanted to take Bailey into the side yard to play with the other dogs. Bailey is the only puppy in the house right now and when he's playing with the other adult dogs I can totally see his puppyness. He hops and bounces when he plays and goes after a toy. One of the other dogs was playing pretty rough and I could tell Bailey was intimidated (not to the point of scaring Bailey just making him a little hesitant). For service dogs you have to be very careful about who they interact with. One scuffle could traumatize them and wash them out of service work. I know way too many people who had to stop training and retire (wash out) their dogs because of this happening. Some people think that because service dogs are so well trained that they can bounce right back from a traumatic event but a lot of times they can't. For this reason I unfortunately won't be taking Bailey to any dog parks,or letting him meet random dogs. But he will have "dog friends" that I know are not dog aggressive in any way. Overall Bailey had a great time. I left him in the side yard (as I was asked to do) and left for the day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Training Day 15

As I mentioned before, my trainer is out of town this week and I get to see Bailey every day. So when I got there Bailey was hanging out in the kitchen with two other dogs. He was excited to see me and I took him into the den. I wanted to work on having him turn on the light switch. First I added an extra piece of round plastic to the light switch to make it longer and easier for Bailey to "accidentally" hit and turn on. Then to get him interested in the light switch I put peanut butter on the switch. He would lick the peanut butter off the switch and a few times he hit the switch up and turned the light on. But he didn't quite make the connection between the hitting of the switch and the light turning on. To him he was just licking peanut butter. Then I tried my trainers method, by having my aide gently push up the switch with Bailey's nose and then rewarding him with a treat and the clicker. Still I could tell Bailey wasn't getting it. He was actually getting frustrated because he didn't understand what we were asking him to do. So I decided to stop and do some auto-sit training instead. He did pretty good even though I could tell he was still kinda frustrated. Then it was break time. Bailey crashed out. Bailey seems a bit sad because my trainer took his brother with her on her trip, and I can tell Bailey misses his buddy. So before leaving today I decided to get some play time in to cheer him up.
Before lunch I took him out to go pee and used my new technique of putting him on a longer leash. He peed pretty quickly. After lunch it was play time. I had never used the tennis court before but it is an excellent wide open space for him to play in. I'm trying to teach him to fetch. Despite his golden retriever and Labrador genes he's not much of a fetch player. He just watches the ball and occasionally saunters over to it. So I decided to get one of the other more playful dogs from the house and bring her into the tennis courts to play with Bailey. They had a great time chasing each other, doing "zoomies", and hanging out. So when they were good and tired I brought them back into the house and left.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Training Day 14

When I got to my Trainer's house today, Bailey was outside playing in the tennis courts. My aide went to go get him out of the courts while I waited inside the house near the window. My aide said that Bailey greeted her happily but as soon as he noticed I was not with her took off excitedly running towards the house like a bullet(running right over the covered pool). He ran through the doorway and immediately stopped next to my chair to greet me with some rapid tail wagging. My aide was left far behind in the backyard. We then did bell training and he was super! He then passed out because he had quite a busy morning. My trainer had taken him to the grocery store that morning as well as his regular playtime in the tennis courts. He slept for a good half hour while I checked my emails on my phone. After, I wanted to get him moving so we did auto-sit training. Rather than following me and giving Bailey treats every time he sat, my aide stood at one place in the yard and I went around the yard with Bailey stopping every so often. My aide would still use the clicker every time Bailey sat when I stopped my chair but he only got a treat (with the clicking) every once in a while. Bailey was a little slower at first knowing that the normal bag of chicken treats wasn't right next to him but he did very well. I even went over to the fence where several of Bailey's buddies were making a fuss and trying to get his attention. He still sat every time I stopped my chair, even when he was nose to nose with his friends. After that it was lunch time, and guess what Bailey did?...slept!
After lunch I wanted to take him to pee and I'm trying something new. Normally I keep him on a short leash when we go outside. But because I also do this when we are training I think it might be confusing for him when it's time for him to go pee and not be in "training mode". So today I put him on a longer leash and had my aide say "get busy". He peed immediately. My aide was petting the other dogs in the yard and didn't notice Bailey's leash fell off my chair. Bailey just laid down next to me-what a good boy. We then changed his leash back to its shorter version and did another round of auto-sit training. He did very well.
When we got back inside the house, I wanted my trainer to show me how she's been working with bailey to turn on light switches for me. I'm sure I could have figured out how to train Bailey to do this but I want to be consistent with the training that she is already providing. Bailey is slowly getting it. But this is a tough one for him for some reason. My trainer is leaving town for a few days and I get to spend all next week with Bailey. So my goal is to get him to turn that light switch on by the time my trainer gets back from her trip. It was then crate time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Training Day 13

Today was a trip to Target. When I got to my trainer's house she told me that she had taken Bailey to Curves earlier today. For those of you who don't know, Curves is a small gym that utilizes low impact circuit training. The entire workout takes about 35 minutes. My trainer said she put Bailey's mat in the corner of the room and he laid down on it the entire time and only briefly got up once. Pretty impressive! We got Bailey and immediately went to Target. He did superb. I walked him all over target, we went upstairs via the elevator, walked up and down the aisles, navigated through people and carts. Nothing seemed to phase or excite him. His auto-sit was very good. All in all a very good outing. When we got home I took Bailey outside to go to the bathroom. He must have had to go really bad because he immediately pooped. It's very clear to me that he is 100% potty trained. Because even though he most likely had to go to the bathroom while we were in target, he waited until we got to a more appropriate place (aka his house) to go. I had cooked up some more chicken jerky, but this time used chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. I now know why the jerky recipe called for the breast. The chicken thighs were way too fatty and greasy. They could possibly upset his stomach again. So I warned his trainer that if he is complaining of stomach issues again that it is probably just the greasy chicken and there is no need to rush him off to the Vet. After we came inside it was time for lunch. Bailey crashed out!
After lunch I wanted to take him outside one more time to pee (since he didn't go earlier). He peed immediately and I could tell he was tired from his big day out. So it was time to put him in his crate.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Training Day 12

When I got to Bailey's house my trainer was practicing with him staying on the mat. Of course when he saw me he got up to greet me and I just stopped my chair and ignored him. My trainer got him to lay back down on the mat and I rolled in the room without him getting up. My trainer then released him to "go say hi". Then she left and we did some bell training using the new chicken liver flavored Kong stuffing instead of the cheez whiz or cream cheese. My trainer had emailed me over the weekend and said that cream cheese can cause diarrhea and suggested the kong stuffing. Bailey loved it! Then it was time for auto-sit training. I wanted to show my trainer what I had taught Bailey, so I asked her to come outside and watch. She was very impressed. We discussed his barking and she told me that she makes him watch all the dogs in her guide dog class come in one by one into the training area. She will then only praise him when he sits quietly and doesn't bark and try to greet the dogs. When he's barking she either waits for him to stop or makes a distracting noise to get his attention. When he looks up at her and stops barking then she rewards him. I think this is an excellent plan to get him to stop barking/greeting other dogs and people. After coming inside Bailey crashed out! I wanted to get him to pee before lunch so after about a half hour of him napping I took him outside. One problem with teaching him to automatically sit when I stop my chair, is that now he thinks he should always sit instead of going to the bathroom. But after three rounds of walking him around the pool he finally went. I think he kinda didn't have to go because he only peed a little bit. Then it was lunch time, and he crashed out again in his crate. My aide and I were discussing how his body language changes when he is leashed to me. When he's leashed to me he is more focused and alert and kinda struts when he walks. When he's not leashed to me he seems much more aloof. I'm very pleased because it shows he knows he's working when he is leashed to me. After lunch I wanted to take him out front for an auto-sit session. This time I wanted to be more sporadic with the treats and not give him one every time he sat, but every few times. He overall did great. But there was this one spot on the lawn he was super intrigued by and every time I took him over there he wouldn't auto-sit. So it became my new favorite spot to take him to. Eventually he started to sit when I took him to the spot. He did wonderfully otherwise. Then it was crate time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Training Day 11

Again when I got to my trainer's house Bailey was playing in the Tennis courts, and he was super excited to see me. I got him and we immediately went to the grocery store. It had been six days since he had been in the car, but he jumped right in. The grocery store was very crowded and I was a bit nervous as to how Bailey would react, but he was superb. He stayed next to me while we went all around the store. I did some auto-sit training and considering he had a lot of distractions he did very well. He wasn't as fast as in the backyard but that will come. After I got back to Baileys house I took him to pee. Then I wanted to see if he liked the cream cheese so we did bell training. He seemed to like it. He did pass out after five minutes.(not from the cream cheese, he was just tired) After lunch I wanted to do another auto-sit session in the backyard. He nailed it! I'm so impressed by his ability to learn. After, I put him in the Tennis courts with his buddies and called it a day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Training Day 10

When we got there today Bailey was happily running around on the pool cover (which he is not supposed to be doing). The woman who was watching Bailey brought him in just as I was going to go outside to get him. We then did bell training and he was nearly 100%. I talked to his Vet who said cheez whiz in large quantities was not good for him, so instead we kept using the peanut butter. After bell training I wanted to see if he remembered the "auto-sit" session from yesterday and lo and behold he did! He sat quickly every time I stopped my wheelchair. Then it was time for something brand new. Because I had to hang out with Bailey today my physical therapist came over to Bailey's house. I wanted to set him up for success. So rather than let him wander around off the leash, and have my aide keep calling him back when he got in the way, I asked my aide to sit with him and keep him on the leash. He did amazing and slept on his mat the entire time (1 hour). Then I took him to go potty, and then it was lunch time. He just chilled out while I ate. After lunch I wanted to do one more "auto-sit" session. He did phenomenally! I put him in the kitchen before I left. Tomorrow we're going to the grocery store to get cream cheese, which his Vet recommended as an alternative to cheez whiz. Here's a video of Bailey automatically sitting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Training Day 9

So from today until Friday my Trainer is out of town delivering another service dog to its owner. This means I get to see Bailey Wednesday- Friday. When I got to my Trainer's house all of the dogs were playing in her Tennis courts. Usually when I get there Bailey is hanging out in his crate or if he is in the Tennis courts, my Trainer gets him out for me. However today I had to get him out of the Tennis courts. When I was rolling up to the Tennis courts Bailey got super excited and started jumping around, wagging his tail and running towards the gate. None of the other dogs were nearly as excited as he was. When I got him out, he was excitedly wiggling and licking my hand. What's more I had a new aide with me that Bailey had only met one time before, so I knew that he was excited because he saw me and not my aide. After we got in the house we did bell training and he was very good. I used peanut butter as a reward because I want to ask his vet about the cheez whiz before I continue to use it. We also practiced the mat. I cooked up some chicken treats ( recipe here) and rather than make him pop up to lick peanut butter off my hand (which kind of defeats the purpose of having him lie on the mat), I asked my aide to periodically toss him a treat if he stayed on the mat. He did super well and eventually just conked out. After his nap I decided to try something new. I eventually want him to automatically sit every time I stop my chair. To train this I just took Bailey on the leash and walked him in the back yard. I perodically stopped and just waited for him to sit and look up at me (sometimes this took a minute), and when he did my aide would use the clicker and hand him a chicken treat. He got it sooooo fast (within 15 minutes). By the end of the training session he was sitting quickly everytime I stopped my chair. Then it was lunch time. Bailey just slept the whole time. I wanted to do one more "auto-sit session" after lunch, to really cement the lesson in. He again did remarkably well. My aide thought that I had previously been working with him to automatically sit. And I was like No. After we were done he got to hang out with his brother.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Training day 8- For real

So apparently nothing fazes my dog. When I got to my trainer's house, Bailey was his normal happy self. My trainer said (again) nobody really knows why he was sick. I had a coffee date with my friend and decided to bring Bailey's mat. I was not sure if Bailey would lay on it or stay on it but I was like, let's bring it and see what happens. He remembered the car and jumped right in. This was his first ride with a seat-belt on and he did great. At Starbucks, we put his mat down and he stayed on it the whole time (about 1 hour). I was very impressed! He did kind of sit up a few times but lay back down without a problem or having to be asked. The more he learns to do things automatically, the less commands I have to use. For example, sit at the door. I could make a signal for it but it would be pretty tiring to stop driving, do the sign, and continue driving after he sits. If he learns to do it automatically, I just have to stop driving and wait.

So after Starbucks I took Bailey back to his house and he peed for one minute straight. I thought it was odd because he hadn't had too much to drink but my aide reminded me that he had been pumped full of fluids the previous day. During lunch, he went on his own into his crate with the door wide open. He crashed all during lunch.

After lunch it was play time. We went to the side yard where there are lots of toys and started chucking tennis balls. Bailey is a funny guy- he doesn't chase balls, he waits until they stop rolling and then walks over and picks it up. He doesn't have 'retrieve' down yet. He often just lies down with the ball. Funny boy.

After play time since it was so hot and he was tired, I put him in his crate and left. I didn't do bell training becuase I thought Cheese-Whiz might not be a good idea today. I discovered that Bailey is kind of vain. The vet had to shave a small patch from his front leg where the IV was put. Bailey kept looking at it like "what??" He literally did that 20 times. A dog with fashion sense.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bailey update

So after $800.00 it turns out Bailey just has a stomach ache. He had x-rays, spent the night at a specialist, drank barium to see if he had a blockage in his intestines. But no, just a stomach ache. I'm relieved! And extra relieved that my insurance will pay for part of it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Training day 8- cancelled

As I was getting ready to go see Bailey this morning, my cell phone rang and it was my trainer telling me Bailey had been throwing up all night and needed to go to the vet. She asked if I wanted to meet her there, but I figured me, my two aides (one is in training), my trainer, and a sick dog in a small examining room might be too much. So I said just keep me updated. As of now, nobody knows what is causing the pain and vomiting. He is with an abdominal specialist getting x-rays and medicine to help him poop. The good and bad thing is we can't see any major blockage. It's good because he doesn't have a huge obstruction but bad because we have no clue what it is. So I'm just waiting to hear what's the verdict. I had to choose what level of resuscitation to authorize- no resuscitation, CPR only, or open heart. That was weird, especially for a 6 month old puppy. So send Bailey good poop vibes.