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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training Day 24

Rain Rain Go Away. Today was kind of a difficult training today because it was pouring rain. Rain plus an electric wheel chair is not a good combination. So I had to limit my training to what we could do in doors. I wanted to teach Bailey auto "leave it". I wanted to do this for two reasons. First of all God knows what will be on the ground when Bailey and I are out in public. And second I'm a messy eater and while I let my pet dog be a "vacuum" I don't want Bailey to get into this habit. Since I'm going to be taking him to restaurants it's very important that he's not eating tidbits off the floor. Also I want to keep Bailey as healthy as possible so zero "people food". To train auto leave it I had my aide put some kibble on the floor and with Bailey on leash take him near to the food. The food would catch his attention (although he wasn't able to reach it). When Bailey would turn his attention away from the temptation on the floor, and look up at my aide, he would get a click and a chicken treat. He did fabulously. We then increased the temptation from boring kibble to yummy peanut butter. He again did great, even when my aide put the peanut butter close to him and within edible distance. Then came the chicken, one, two and then three pieces were put on the floor to temp him. He didn't eat any of them! Eventually I want to make an obstacle course out in the Tennis Courts with all of Baileys favorite foods and walk him through it, rewarding him when he doesn't grab the snacks.
After Leave it I did bell training and he did great. And of course then it was nap time.This dog sleeps more than any dog I've had before. After he woke up I wanted to try an experiment. Because I have full time aides it is important that Bailey learns to "get busy" while he is walking on leash with my aide, instead of with me. If I am sick, too busy with Grad School homework, or in bed, he needs to be cool with my aides taking him out to get busy. So today my aide put him on leash and took him out into the yard without me. He was definitely not happy when she shut the door and I wasn't out back with him. She said when she shut the door he let out a little whine and looked back to the doorway. He then looked up at her with an expression that said 'Ummmm what's going on here?" But as soon as she said "bailey get busy" he relaxed and understood it was pee time. After that it was lunch time and Bailey just slept. After lunch because I had exhausted all of my indoors training sessions and chicken treats I decided to leave a little early. So Bailey went back in his crate and I left for the day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Training Day 23

When we got there today all of the dogs, except Bailey were playing in the Tennis Courts. Bailey was in the den inside of his crate. He was so happy to see me today. Since the Tennis Courts were in use I decided to do bell training. He did amazingly well today and looked up at me, or came over to me every single time I rang the bell. I have kind of decided that the bell ringing meant "look at me" since Bailey is always around me. When we first began training I wanted the bell to mean "come to me". But since Bailey will always be near me(either on leash, hanging out or playing) I decided the bell just needed to mean "look at me" and then from that point I can direct him to the task I want.
So when his buddies went inside from the Tennis Courts it was time for another game of hide and seek. He totally remembered the game and did great! My aide is starting to phase him out of the verbal commands and starting to only use head and eye commands. He's excellent at sitting and staying without verbal cues.But since "Go find Eva", is new to him he's having a little more trouble figuring it out without using verbal commands. It will come. At one point he found me in the gated side run of the Tennis Courts. When my aide came in to start a new round of the game she told Bailey to sit and stay but when I turned to go and hide (like I usually do) he would not stay with my aide. Eventually after my aide went ballistic with happy voices/dances he finally decided to stay with her. He was having a hard time staying because unlike the previous games he could not see me out of the corner of his eye as I was leaving to hide.  After he was tired we went back inside and he crashed out.
When my aide was fixing lunch Bailey  found a small disassembled plastic squeaker from a ripped up toy (don't ask me where he unearthed it from). He was having a good old time chewing it up and I was nervous he was going to swallow it so I stared at him with intensity and he immediately dropped it and left it alone. What a good boy.
After lunch I wanted to do one more session of hide and seek. He did amazing! We walked him back to the house without a leash and when he was told to "get busy" he seemed to do it right on command. Then it was crate time and I left for the day.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Training Day 22

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.