What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of CPL’s follow up program?

Journal: What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of CPL’s follow up program?

Mark this date! I was on time for team training on Thursday, June 21! I hope this trend continues, too.

Following the journal readings this morning, all the teams needed to practice certain obedience skills. McLean super knows his obedience and even had to hold many different positions. While other service dogs chose to take a long time to obey their owners, McLean and I waited patiently with him doing a good job ignoring distractions. I say other service dogs “chose” to take a long time doing their obedience skills, because the recipients of these dogs always came out the winners!

Mclean accepted a treat from a trainer when he was instructed by me to follow and stay in a heel position. Eating this treat was unacceptable because not from me, and I reached my hand down his throat attempting to grab the treat. He already swallowed it, but I heard him make a number of gagging noises which made me remove my hand. My hand; however, was covered in doggy saliva. Yuck! He, hopefully, will not accept outside treats anymore. J

After lunch we discussed evaluation and follow-up in accordance with CPL regulations. Everything was very, very close to these same things as with Showbo for the last 9 years. They are still extremely extensive and mandatory! We then performed some service skills, such as tugging, go pays, carrying, and assistance off the floor. I still believe

Tugging was not the usual sock to open cabinet doors or refrigerator doors. The service dogs were requested to tug off a jacket sleeve. Unfortunately, the sleeve was not nicely modeled on a mannequin, but we had to be wearing a jacket sleeve. J No problem for McLean! For being such a large dude, though, he acts very dainty with his mouth. He needs a few tries to grab anything, and everything!

Go pays were not that of paying a cashier at a store register, like usual. We had to use the “go pay” command to have our dogs reach up to a table and grab a phone. The phone was definitely not a working phone! McLean goes up to the table easily, probably could do it without jumping, but he totally dropped the phone. Ugh! He was holding it by the antenna, but he still would have broken it if the it was a working phone.

Now, today was our first day trying to have our dogs carry something. This something was not in a nice, little store bag, but rather it was a random object. McLean had the pleasure of taking a large case for CD’s and carrying it a short distance. Is this dog a perfectionist, or what? He would grab the case, or anything thus far, but he liked to try only once or twice if he dropped it. It’s like his motto is: if he fails, then quit; quitting decreases room for failure. Eventually he succeeded at this task and got lots of treats. J

McLean is my own personal table, but on moving legs, and does great assisting me off the floor. J we once again laid on the floor and used the service dog to help us stand again. McLean and I now have clearance to assist me standing when I am on the floor, which means we can use this service skill at home or whenever we are not with a trainer.

Everyone completed all four of these skills, and we followed with a discussion of problem cards. We each had a different problem with a dog, but they are too numerous to mention. We all stated our problem, created our own solutions and then the trainers and rest of the class added their own input.

So, CPL has an extremely extensive and mandatory follow-up program. Did I already say that? Well, it’s true! Phone check-ins must be done daily for the first week, once a week for the first month, and once a month for the first year. We also must either attend 6 graduate support classes during the first year or do 12 hours of a local obedience class. There is a 6-month report to complete by a certain deadline, and finally we need retested 1 year after we graduate and then every other year beyond that. Ugh! I am tired after just writing all those requirements. J

But, these requirements do have some benefits, along with a couple drawbacks. We do have many opportunities to express, and/or practice, problem areas with our dogs, and we keep our dogs “on their toes”. CPL then knows the service dogs are being used properly and treated correctly. Drawbacks may be that each req. is time consuming and tedious. However, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks!!!

Ok, this entry is too long, and I feel sorry for the person reading this. J

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