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

June 22nd, 2012

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

Comparisons to CPL, questions about CPL, and positive and challenging experience this week.

June 20th, 2012

Journal Compare the programs reviewed in Chapter Three to Canine Partners for Life. After reading this chapter, what questions do you have regarding the CPL program and how it operates? What challenges and positive experiences have you had this week with your dog?

Oh, boy! I forgot to answer the question yesterday about using a service to overcome a challenge caused by my disability. My biggest obstacle caused by my disability is actually a combination of my blindness and bladder issues, both caused by my MS. Needing to use the bathroom A LOT, I cannot see to find it. Showbo excelled at the task of taking me to a bathroom, and I will continue to teach McLean to do the same until he has mastered the concept!

Now to today’s journal writing! I enjoyed todays obedience, service skills and even lecture. McLean continues to do a great job with the obedience skills, but he is continuing to struggle with just 1 service skill.. Taking metal! I, again I say, would never want to have anything metal in my mouth, but it is a necessity for our dogs to take metal, hold it, and give it to us. Sorry, McLean, and all the other service dogs! Metal will be our challenge and will probably continue after team training!

I so need to work on my tardiness to training!!! I needed to pass a denial test again this morning, but I really am working to be on time. Did I mention I am not a morning person? And, being on time is not a phrase in my vocabulary! At least not yet.

The ADA is very lenient with its rules and guidelines, with very little, or loose restrictions. The animals that become “working” animals apparently have rights the same as our well-trained dogs, which corrupts the whole system by taking advantage of it.There are also animal activists taking animal rights to the extreme by protecting them and not wanting any animal to have an official owner. I guess Chic-Fil-A is semi-part of the PETA group, because it has a motto of eating more chicken. The cows do not want to die, but it is ok if the chickens get eaten. J

CPL seems to care more about the recipients and their own trained dogs, and CPL has future concerns and requirements assuring both the recipients and dogs continue a partnership. Thank you to CPL! First, I absolutely love that cats are everywhere, and anywhere, to expose the dogs to them, as well as CPL giving the dogs some exposure to every other small critter that would interest a dog. I also am thankful CPL, like the Kansas service dog school, exposes the dogs to people with various challenges to orient the dogs and train them accordingly. Unfortunately, not all dogs meet passing requirements!

I only have 2 questions for CPL worth mentioning, which are the following. First, how many dogs has CPL graduated? And second, What makes a dog a working companion dog instead of a service dog? If I get the answers to these questions, I will write about them tomorrow.

I think my journal entry is long enough now, and I am tired! I am even more tired now than when I started this journal thing. So many things to do, including CPL stuff, and so little time to accomplish them all. I have dicided no more physical therapy until team training is done, because it will get worse, if that is possible. J

Good night for now.

One greatest thing that you would like to do or accomplish.

June 19th, 2012

Journal Imagine that you do not have your current disability. What is the one greatest thing that you would like to do or accomplish? Reflect on whether your dog may be able to help you achieve this goal. Has your goal (homework 6/10) changed during the course of the training?

Wow! Today was a long and exhausting day! I took a nap, which was accidentally over 2 hours, when I came home. Again, wow! I am tired!

We went to Longwood Gardens and did a “go touch” to open the front door. It was an automatic push button to open the door, and McLean is too tall and adjusts to reach lower with his paw. We all finally entered the Gardens but then had to pay. Actually, our service dogs had to pay. I borrowed a little change for my dollar bills, and McLean did his “go pay” perfectly. This is one of the few commands that helps if the service dog is tall! We all proceeded to the courtyard, where we practiced steps and loading up the dogs onto the wall. McLean loaded up easily, and he only struggled a very little on the steps. He might have less trouble if I am using a handle on the right, or at least am familiar with the steps.

We also had to retrieve 3 things, before we could go to lunch,but one of the 3 things had to be metal. Ugh! McLean apparently does not like taking metal objects in his mouth. I do not think I would like metal objects in my mouth, either! Braces are bad enough. An expensive lunch followed all the retrieval drama for our dogs. Yea! Only 2:00pm.

McLean needed to get a metal object in his mouth, and give it to me, while we were waiting for our group for a group photo. He finally did it, against his will, and lots of treats were involved. Should he have a smaller dinner now? J He really did not want to pick up this small metal trinket thing. Ugh! I do have a suggestion for group photos, though. They should be taken at the beginning of the day before we are all hot, sweaty, tired and stressed looking. Yes, our dogs make us stressed!

Well, going back to my goal on June 10. I did not want to compare McLean to Showbo, and I wanted this whole experience to be a learning process for me and McLean. These goals have begun to come true. I do have Freudian slips of name or gender calling, but McLean is still a very obedient dog! Good job, Trainer Maria!

I am not permitted to do retrieval or service dog skills yet, which means we have only used basic dog commands, along with his feeding and potty schedules. McLean has been a great listener, stays with me everywhere and is a fun, cuddly dog. Showbo hated the “come” command with anyone, and everyone, but McLean actually comes to me with a wagging tail. He is so sweet!

His potty schedule has matched my potty schedule. Well, almost! He pees a lot, and I should probably take him to the grass a few times a day. As we were told, I should probably let him do his thing everytime I do my thing. J Never going to happen, since I do my thing many, many, many times a day! His morning and evening routines are compatible with my sleeping habits, though. Go, McLean!

Lastly, his feeding schedule. He and Showbo are eating at the same time but still eat 2 different foods, and definitely 2 different paces! Showbo eats like such a girl, while McLean eats a little faster. McLean, being the gentleman that he is, has to wait for me to feed Showbo. I can tell he wants to eat, but he patiently waits for his food and turn in line to eat. He finishes eating first, even though he starts last and also gets more food. More food for a large dude!

Ok, I am still very tired, after a long nap, and am thankful for no reading tonight! Good night.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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.