Archive for the ‘CPL Team Training 2012 – McLean’ Category

Thoughts of retirement, or loss, of our service dogs.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Journal Reflect on the reading assignments and your thoughts regarding the retirement process or loss of your partner.

Tomorrow is going to b a rough, and long, day! I suppose This reason is why McLean was awesome today during all the service skills. We did every station of tugging, retrieval, go pays and light switches, but I loved the other station of using our dogs for support getting up from the floor and transfers for wheelchairs! McLean is a huge dog, and it was like using a small table for me to stand. J Lovely!

First, I am very thankful to still have Showbo with me fafily as a retired service dog! If she ever, or when she ever, gets fatally ill, I hope to have become more attached to my successor dog, McLean. Death is always tough for us when it happens to people, or our service dogs, close to our hearts!

Retirement needs an ideal time of 6-months between the time of retirement and the time of getting a successor dog. Unfortunately, Showbo officially retired on June 2, 2012, and training began with McLean on June 9, 2012. I brought him home on June 15, which only gave us 2 weeks to retire Showbo, or at least ween her and me from each other. Oops!

I liked the ideas to keep both dogs from becoming bullies, but I think it is too late about Showbo being the top dog. She has always been the top dog everywhere we have gone! I also liked the suggestions of keeping Showbo involved in my life and not allowing our relationship to just stop. I definitely still love her, and always will!

Overall, this topic was emotionally stressful for me, and I did a whole lot of crying.

Again, tomorrow is going to be a long day at Longwood Gardens, and I really need some sleep!

Note comments and thoughts regarding Graduate Support Class.

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Journal Note your comments and thoughts regarding Graduate Support Class. Without naming names, what did you see some teams doing incorrectly and what impressed you?

This morning we got to come a little later than usual, 11am, but I still managed to be late. I have decided the more time I have to get ready, or get distracted, causes me to go slower. J Thank God I was not the only late one, though! We all did get remanded for tardiness, and I really hope this problem does not continue. I really am not a morning person!

Because of my lateness with McLean, trainer Maria was standing outside the closed door pretending she owned a public restaurant. I was not fully gathered, McLean slipped out of my hand, but I did have the law book. Phew! The law book saved me!

We need to be at CPL tomorrow morning at 9:30am for class. Good luck, Marie and McLean!

Once upon a time we were finally permitted to enter the training facility, where we briefly discussed last night’s baseball game and then had our journal groups. Trainer Deb explained the importance of praising my dog when he is successful at curbs, and this excitedness on my part will help prevent future curb incidents, as well as teach McLean to pause at every curb.

Lunch followed the journal readings, which seemed to be faster than usual. I guess this feeling of speediness came because of the later start, and maybe the fact that we had a late arrival. After lunch we discussed access issues in air travel, hospitals and some train and cruise travel. I importantly learned England was the hardest international place to enter with a service dog, and the process takes at least 6 months. It was now time for graduate support class (GSC).

GSC had a very high attendance that included us recipients, graduates, applicants and various support people. It was very crowded! I was a little nervous to perform with McLean with all these people watching, but I became more relaxed when I kept receiving compliments about McLean’s appearance! Needless to say, he will be getting a hair trim in the future, because he is too hairy! Back to GSC, McLean had the chance to either embarrass us or make us shine. Of course, he made us shine! He did tugging, a “go pay” reenactment, retrieval, stepsand opening doors. The command to open doors is “go touch” for our dogs, and McLean needed a few tries due to his tallness. Showbo had the opposite problem, of being too short. J I was bad, though. When we went through the door to use the bathroom, I used the “go touch” button to exit the building. No service skills on my own, without a trainer present! Oops!

Since I performed most skills without a line, I am really unaware of thecorrectness or impressions of anyone. I do; however, believe graduate support classes are a great way to practice service skills and gives us all the opportunity to ask our questions.

Ok. better be on time tomorrow, so good night.

Other’s concerns regarding your partnership and your responses to those concerns.

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Journal What are your families’, friends’, and co-workers’ concerns regarding your partnership with a service dog? How have you responded to their concerns?

It was a rough morning! My husband was not here, leaving me home with our two girls, and now two dogs. Ugh! It was very stressful, especially at breakfast time. I had to play waitress, and referee, for Domino, Carolena, Showbo and my lovely successor dog, McLean! There were other little issues, but just the stressful breakfast time made it a very hard morning!

The funniest thing occurred when I went to give Domino a bath. Showbo does not shed. Have I mentioned, though, the fur on McLean? Domino got into her bathtub and stayed away from the side with fur in it. Apparently, McLean’s fur shed into the tub when we went into that bathroom for me to just use the toilet.

Speaking of the fur on McLean, his fur has been a topic of conversation amongst my friends and myself. There are some vehicles he is preferred not to enter, but my van can be the primary vehicle in those instances. Also, his size can be an issue in smaller vehicles containing carseats and/or children. Again, my van can be primary.

Another concern by my family and friends about his size has to do with comparing his size to my side. He is not only large, but he is strong, having a lot of puppy inside him. When he is not wearing his harness all these problems arise, but the harness creates a subtle, calm, sweet McLean. We do need to practice curbs and following someone, especially when in a crowded public place. McLean went the “wrong” way at the baseball game a lot of the time, and failed to stop at each curb. He went slowly up or down the steps, but the curb thing needs a lot of work! When we left the baseball game, I fell. He either went in a direction off a curb without hesitation, or we were walking too far to the right beside the curb. Either way, my left ankle, left knee, left wrist and left elbow got some scrapes. Need to practice, practice, practice!

Ok, all for now.

Live From The Field

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Journal What issues have occurred while you have had your dog at home? What do you like most about having the dog with you and what has been the most difficult?

Poor Violet, one of my classmates! She has made the incredibly tough dicision to stop team training due to her health. Her health is more important, though, and I pray she is able to return to another team training in the near future. Thank you, Violet, for your honesty and bravery!

Today was a fun day, since we went shopping at Longwood Village with all our dogs. TJ Max was the most challenging, because we had to use our door leashes on our dogs to help us open the front doors, which opened in an outward direction. We had to do retrieval commands in the store, as well as most of the other stores we visited, while we tried to get some personal shopping done. Oh, and this morning McLean pooped again, making it now two days in a row And showing he is definitely comfortable to poop in my presence!

Following a long afternoon at the villages we were able to bring home our dogs until the end of team training, and we hope they remain at our homes for a long time! Showbo and McLean first met each other in our front grassy area, with Showbo barking at a confused, yet interested, McLean. They sniffed each other in a normal place for dogs to sniff each other, and then they were satisfied enough to enter the house. It was past time for McLean’s supper, and I decided to feed him and give Showbo an earlier supper than usual. Both dogs are eating two different foods, and each dog showed interest in the other’s food. It was a huge challenge to feed both dogs when being unable to use any vision to monitor them at the same time. Ugh; what a difficult task!

My children were obedient about touching McLean or interacting with him. They focused all their “doggy” desires on Showbo, unfortunately for Showbo. However, Showbo got more treats, hugs and kisses than usual. McLean now has a middle name; McLean “big ears” Garozzo, kindly given to him by Domino. I used Showbo as bait when I told Carolena she could brush Showbo after I finished brushing McLean.

So this entry is getting hard to follow, but I am almost done.

McLean is such a gentle man! He stays out of Showbo’s way and allows her to do what she wants. The perfect example of this idea came at bedtime. I bought an extra large bed for McLean, but Showbo ignored her own bed and layed there first. McLean did not put up a fight and layed with half his body on his bed and the other half his body on the floor. His size and position sure made it hard to go the bathroom in the middle of the night. We all survived the sleeping locations, though!

It is great having a canine companion by my side again when I am walking. I do battle my wills every time I need help, or want help, with jobs with which I always used Showbo. I do; however, know McLean is very young and naïve after only one week of team training. We can only perform most tasks with our dogs if a trainer is present or we get a trainer’s permission. Do not want to corrupt McLean and his expertise training!

Ok, going to the Blue Rocks game tomorrow, and I must do some things, anything around the house.

Do want to let you know McLean has a lot of fur!

Concerns about taking my dog home on Friday.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Journal What are your concerns about taking your dog home on Friday?

Today, June 14th was the first time McLean must have felt comfortable enough to actually poop in front of me. The only difference, I could tell thus far, from him peeing vs his pooping was the time he stayed in a squatting position. At first I expected to clean up after a “horse”, but the amount was similar to cleaning up after Showbo. Hopefully, he does make harder stool in the future, though. It was on the softer side this time.

Ok, enough about that “dirty” topic.

McLean’s obedience, feeding schedule, potty schedule, and more, are not at all my concern when we get home. I am a little concerned about him ruining my carpet, with vomit efrom ither end, but this worry is the least of them. How will Showbo accept McLean, and how will McLean accept Showbo? I know Cyera, our cat, will just be irritated, as she was with Showbo, Domino, now age 7, and Carolena, age 3. I would be irritated, too, if I kept being bumped down the totem pole!

Showbo has been the only dog for the past 9 years, and she might be jealous. Maybe jealous of McLean’s youthfulness. J Or maybe both dogs will be so happy to meet each other and become instant friends. They can then antagonize the cat together! We shall see tomorrow night.

Not going in public yet with McLean will be difficult, especially since I enjoy being in public and want to do things. I have been using my cane, loosely using my cane, since June2 when we retired Showbo, but I have been able to survive. A few days of “solitude” might be doable. I may have some withdrawals, though, from the nail salon, swimming pool, church, etc.

Well, one more day until we are able to get more sleep!

areas/situations inappropriate to include a service dog, and the best and hardest parts of today’s training

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Journal Reflect on the areas/situations of your life that you feel may not be appropriate to include your dog and why. What were the best and hardest parts of today’s training?

Hi, journal. Today has been another long day, and I think each day keeps getting longer! I actually woke up this morning with my girls to help them get ready for their day, and I still was slow getting ready myself. Time flew! Then, the phone rang. My oldest daughter wore her bathing suit for a swimming field trip, and she forgot to bring something with her. My husband asked me to bring her underwear to childcare on my way to Canine Partners, because she was upset. I also did not feel comfortable allowing her to wear nothing under her shorts! Anyway, everything seemed to be challenging today, but McLean was still obedient and performed all his commands. But, like Showbo, he refuses to eat all his dinner. I hope this changes when he comes home on Friday!

Having a service dog does create challenges and can be inappropriate to have at times. Cuddling with my husband is a little strange, since we always seem to have other eyes watching us. Well, I could continue with that subject, but I will discuss ways a service dog is not appropriate to include in certain situations. Of course, there is always ways to get around everything! Swimming is difficult, for example, in the ocean, especially if having a nonwater service dog. Dave and I rode a tandem bicycle in an MS 150 city to shore ride with Showbo, who was in a trailer attached to our tandem. She added about 45lbs. of deadweight to our bike, and she did not even offer to pedal. This added weight really slows down, not to mention making the ride much more difficult for my strength/endurance with my MS. We did not finish the first day of 75 miles, did not even ride on the second day, but we did try the challenge!Accomplishing this fundraising ride was much easier when done without a dog, which we had done a couple years prior to getting Showbo. And, McLean is much heavier than Showbo! I do not think an MS 150 city to shore bike ride is anywhere in our near future unless Dave rides with 1, or both, of our daughters. McLean and I would be their best cheerleaders!

The easiest part of the day happened this morning, while the hardest part of our day came in the afternoon. I had to wait to get McLean, because the pitstop to childcare caused my late arrival, but I got him just 40 minutes later. However, I did cry. Later we all had a discussion about accessibility before lunch, but I had already experienced access issues with Showbo. Having these previous experiences made the discussion easy, and a little boring. This discussion was also McLean’s easiest part of the day, as he enjoyed laying on the floor in front of me.

We went to Chile’s for lunch, where the dogs all had to practice going under the tables, ignore people food and not gain too much attention. My motto has been like that of a child, which is: you are to be seen and not heard. Anyway, it was hard to fit more than one dog under a 4-person table, while also leaving room for 8 feet on the floor. Did I mention McLean is not a small dog? I had to sit over him, almost in a straddle. We also encountered another obstacle in Chile’s. Maneuvering tables and chairs on our way to the restroom. We did accomplish this difficult task, but I think McLean needs to practice how to avoid objects in both our ways, not just his way!

Ok, I think that is all for now. Phillies time. J

How would a service dog improve or create obstacles on a vacation/trip?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Journal Using last night’s reading assignment for reference, in your journal reflect on your most recent vacation/trip. Write how your trip would have been improved by the addition of your service dog, and what obstacles you might have faced because you took your dog along. What are your questions or concerns following today’s training session?

We just finished our actual third day of training! The training days, and both my girls, make me so tired before I do my homework at night. Maybe I should do the homework in the morning? The only problem would be that I am not even close to being a morning person.

Ok, so I need to provide a support person each day during training for assistance, especially for me to use the restroom. If you do not know, I frequently use the restroom, having a bladder the size of a “mouse”, and I have even been told to create a blog of bathrooms when I travel. Ha, ha. McLean is still learning to take me to the port-a-potty, but he should know a command to “take me to the potty” which is a plumbing toilet to him. I will still probably have a support person later in the training, but McLean should know, and will know as hopefully I will know, to go directly to the port-a-potty on command. J

A service dog does create obstacles during vacations, but it also improves my independence as a person! A service dog cannot drive, yet, but it sure can take me places either on command or by memory. Hopefully, McLean remembers frequently visited locations and can get us both there safely and independently. I do not mind asking for directions when completely lost or confused, which makes it a good thing I am of the girl gender. J Once I have visited a common place of a restroom in any restaurant, I can go back again to the restroom without a human guide. My independence is now greater!

Obstacles, obstacles, obstacles. I guess the main one, which has happened, is taking the service dog to do its business while in an unfamiliar setting. I tried taking Showbo to the grass since we were staying in a time share on the first floor. Every condo looked the same, and Showbo took us back inside. a different place. I knocked on the unlocked door, and I totally did not recognize the person on the other side of the door. It was so embarrassing, at least for me! Showbo made a new friend, though! The other person did lead us back to the correct condo number, and Showbo did “follow” the strange person. So, I have have a fear of getting lost at times with the service dog in the dark, which makes this my biggest obstacle. Other obstacles include, but are not limited to, accessibility, super long airplane or train rides without designated bathroom areas, inability to get more of the specified dog food, etc. For your information, Showbo would rather not do her business at all than do it on anything other than grass. I wish I had a bladder that size!

My only concern, thus far, is dealing with McLean’s long fur! And he better not ever get sick!

Ok, I have a small quiz to do and reading to hear before I can go to bed, or listen to the Phillies. See you tomorrow.

What Does “Partnership” Mean to You?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Journal -Think about what partnership means to you. How would you define partnership? Share your ideas; don’t just copy a dictionary definition. What were the best part and the hardest parts of your day today?

It was a beautiful day today, too beautiful to sit inside the barn with our dogs, but we did get the chance to practice some basic obedience skills and learn some more commands. McLean and I both had the chance to move and exercise a little bit, and he did a great job! He is a totally different dog when the harness is being used on him than when he is a “free” dog. Without the harness, he can pull me more, seeing as he is almost my weight. JDespite this issue, I cannot wait to bring McLean home with me on Friday. only 4 more days!

Our journal entry must discuss the best and worst parts of our day, but my whole day was pretty good. I think the best part of the day came after I came home. Showbo was laying in her bed, as usual, unaware of our entrance into the house. The whole family called her, and she finally came downstairs to greet us, excitedly, with a tail wagging. She has never wagged her tail with excitement until she experienced retirement, at which time she became separated from human beings. Anyway, I told her “good boy” a few times tonight, and I even called her by the name McLean. What is wrong with me?

As I previously mentioned above about having a pretty good day, overall, there is definitely one thing that is very frustrating for me. The haltee! I do not like the haltee! McLean knows it takes me forever to situate it and attempt to secure it around his little nose, but he just waits for me to finish and snap the buckle. His ear and his long fur, or hair, continuously gets stuck in the haltee strap that goes around his neck, and it eventually slides off his little nose. Now, I must start the process all over again. Yea! Hopefully, I will master this task sometime before these three weeks are done.

Now, I will write my own definition of a partnership. A partnership is between two people, or a person and a dog, whereby both parties commit to the well-being of each other. They support each other, and one’s weaknesses are countered by the other’s strengths. A partnership is a give and take relationship if it is to remain a partnership. Otherwise, it may result in one of the two always being very unhappy and miserable. The giving and the taking must be equally balanced for an awesome partnership to begin, continue and go to the end! Just as in business partnerships, trust must exist, on both sides of the partnership.

That is all for now, but I imagine I will be back tomorrow night. Good night!

Guidelines for the Friends and Family of a Service Dog Recipient

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I posted the guidelines here. Please read them, as they are very important!

Goals and Fears of Team Training

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Journal: Focus on one personal goal you wish to accomplish in these three weeks plus one fear you have relating to team training (beyond just surviving the three weeks).

We, recipients, are to write a goal to accomplish a goal during these three weeks, as well as a fear. Actually, I have a few goals and many, many fears! Last night was the “initiation” dinner for team training, and my family and I sat with McLean the whole team. He was out of harness, which made it even harder for my two girls to restrain from interacting with them. They were there again today, and there were no problems.

I had so many mixed emotions about Showbo and McLean, and I still cry when I think of, or talk about, Showbo. I do not compare their personalities, but I continuously call McLean by Showbo’s name and refer to him as a girl. He does not let it bother him, and I think that is because I use a good tone of voice.

A goal of mine could be mentioned as really learning McLean, his body language and his likes/dislikes. This learning process may not end after these three weeks, but I hope our understanding of each other definitely increases, and McLean and I strengthen our relationship.

If I can only talk about one fear for team training, it would be related to the amount of time and dedication devoted to getting a successor dog. No children existed for me back in 2003, when I trained with Showbo, and I have more responsibilities now at home. My fatigue has also become more present within the last 9 years. Today was a long day, and there were a few boring moments. Showbo is retired now, but I still received all new equipment for just McLean. The coolest fact I learned was the ending of using the prong collar on our dogs, as it has become more and more frowned upon by society. So, my biggest fear is getting fatigued daily and being unable to perform to the best of my ability. McLean, please have patience with me!

I must say “good night” and go to bed. Tomorrow is the first real day of WORKING with our dogs, and I need sleep!

Sorry if this entry has scattered thoughts, but they may get worse as the days get longer. :)