Saturday, August 29, 2009

What are Autism Service Dogs?

Lately there have been several service dogs in the news lately. Specifically Autism Service Dogs.

Autism service dogs are not widely known, and so appearance of them is causing some concern with people.

Here is a little bit more, about what exactly autism service dogs do:

Assistance and Searching, and Alert: Our goal, is reduce the child's anxiety in public, and allow them and their family, more access to a normal life. To increase the safety and remove the stress from their family, to know there child will be accounted for, by having a means to find the child should he decided to run away, try to interrupt escaping behaviors by nuzzling, or barking to alert the parent of the child's attempt to leave. The dogs also are trained to retrieve the child if they run away, by knocking them down, and holding them in one location until the parent arrives.

Increase Verbalization: To help the child to increase their verbal skills, the dog maintains eye contact when its attempting to speak, and respond to the commands. Our dogs are trained to pick out anything they understand and offer a behavior, which encourages the child to keep speaking.

Physical Behaviors: Slapping their faces, banging their head.....the dog is trained to nuzzle in and interrupt those behaviors so the dog, starts petting the dog, which as you know is a very calming act. Now they are no longer harming themselves but are hanging onto their dog.

Socialization: The child appears and is physically normal, so when they do odd behaviors, they are judged harshly by the public,(believe me I've been there) and people will be very rude to the child or the parent, and its not the parent or the child's fault. The dog is a very clear sign that there is a disorder. With children of the same age, the dog is a fun thing to play with so, kids who wouldn't play with the child before, would come over and interact with the child, when they otherwise wouldn't.

Each dog is trained for their individual clients need, as autism is such a broad disorder.

This list is just a small general overview of how these dogs help their clients. Parent's have been able to get their first night's sleep in YEARS, because they know the dog will alert them to any escaping or safety alert behaviors.

Families who haven't been out together in public, are able to go camping, and on trips with their child because of these dogs.

Children who have been pretty much home bound since they were toddlers are now able to partake in normal activities.

I could go on and on about the difference these dogs make, but you know. Anyone with a service dog/a service dog in training/even just a pet, KNOWS The impact a dog has on your life.

I can't imagine denying these kids that same chance.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ira - Day 4

Ira has know been with me for four days now, and I believe she's starting to respond to me. The first week or so, I don't expect much from the dog, because they are normally really stressed about the whole home switch.
3 pics of Ira
Ira hasn't shown as much as some of my others, but she is stressed. Thursday was the first full day I had with her, as I had to work allll day Wednesday unfortunately.

I spent most of the day puppy proofing, and where her out, as wow does she love to chew!! Paper, Shoes, Cords, Cardboard, if it looks good she wants to try it! I have one word for that...or two: Adolescences and Teething. What I can't remember is when they stop teething...(It has been 8-months since I've had a young dog! :))
Chewing on a kong
Ira trying to squeeze on small blue couch chewing on ball

Once I'd picked up everything I could possibly move, I knew it was time to go out and exercise. This dog is obsessed with balls. She would die chasing a ball I'd believe, so I used that time to practice our commands.

Sit/Wait - Throw ball ( that took her a while to get)
Sit/Wait -1,2,3 - Throw Ball
Sit/Wait - 5, 6, 7, 8 - Throw Ball

By the time we were finished, she and Texas were slept for the next couple of hours and when she tore apart my flip-flop, I knew it was time to do something constructive again. ::grins::
Me holding a ball, with Texas and Ira in the background
So we went out and did some more command work, and then came back in and I went back over the possible "chew toys" (not) and made sure lots of other toys were readily available. Heh.

I had some shopping to do, so everyone went back outside to play, some of the kids from church were out, and they wore Texas, Ira and themselves out with the balls. (They were chasing them as well :)

After putting the dogs up, Ira and I hit up Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, and Target in the rain, before heading to Salarista's to meet a friend for dinner. She did great through all of our outings, even though she did chew apart my flip-flop while laying quietly under the table.
Ira in Target 1
Oh well, I needed an excuse to get new shoes anyways. That will teach me to a.) bring a toy for her or b.) keep my feet in my shoes!!

But once I removed my shoes from her reach, she curled up and slept until it was time to go. I love her size, since it makes its nice and easy to squeeze her into small places!

Is it too early to say I"m going to miss this face come December??
Tomorrow Bubbles and Texas will be going to get their yearly vaccines. Texas is such a weenie when it comes to shots, and this being a different vet this last time (one he doesn't know) should be....interesting to say the least.

Wish Us Luck!

Erin, Bubbles, Texas and Ira

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meet Ira

Golden retriever named IraMeet Ira,one of the last Wilderwood Puppies that I will be training from my home.{More on that later} She is a 9-month-old Golden retriever, and one of the tiniest I've seen yet! So loves balls, and chewing up paper.

She is a dainty little dog, and is very nice about nibbling treats out of my hand. Its so cute. I think she and I will get along famously :))

My dear siblings were home, when Ira and I arrived so I was able to properly introduce Texas and her. Bubbles could care less....and now that I think about it, I don't think she's realized there is a different dog in the house.

I change dogs so much, my family didn't even realize that she was a different dog. *sigh*

But that is all about to change, you'll find out soon enough.

Where is Ben? He is back with another trainer who is working on his client specific commands. Graduation is only 2 weeks away!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Week of Work

Hey Everyone,

Time for the weekly update of our clan. The great thing about working with Service Dogs, is no matter how busy you are, you don't have to neglect your dog.

Because he's with you!

Ben and I have been going none stop almost all week it seems like. I have implemented some new restraints on myself,money wise, and have tried to grocery shop once a month.

So Monday he and I trucked through store, after store. The Poor guy was sooo tired by the time we headed home; he crashed. But he did great, no pulling, sitting for petting. Yay!
Ben in the car

Tuesday- I held a one on one class with one of our new foster families, Ben was the demo dog, and did fabulously! After that headed out to Wilderwood's Puppy Kennels, one of our puppies was heading to his new foster home, so we were there to meet with his new family, and send him on his way.
Texas on his beds
Wednesday - I worked pretty much all day.

Thursday - Our one and only day of rest. Though we went out to eat with friends that evening. Ben I believe may be claustrophobic, as he had a hard time settling down in the small space we were in.
Friday - The weeks craziest day, my poor dogs were sooo neglected, I was able to give them a short walk before I left for work, by the time I got off work, bought dog food, and got home, I only had an hour before I had to get ready to go over to Asheville. (which is about 1.5 hrs away.)
Got home at 2:30AM.

Saturday - Scrambled out of bed, dove into some clothes, made up some kongs, and dashed Ben out the door. Only when I was about 15 minutes away, did I realize I forgot to give Bubbles and Texas their KONG's, and FORGOT MY CAMERA!!!!
I was headed back out to WSD's Kennels for another puppy pick up, and wanted to get pics of all the little guys, but alas and alack.
Texas,Me and Ben
Maybe next time! The babies were sooooooo cute, I kept threatening to take one with me! I miss having a baby puppy in the house. *sniff*

As it turns out it was probably a good thing I didn't give B & T KONG's while I was gone, since Bubbles decided to fight Texas over it. While he needed his little butt whooped, I don't allow that in my house, so the poor KONG has been sitting on the bookshelf all by his lonesome. :((
Me and Texas
This next week holds lots of new adventures and changes for us, Can We Do It? YES WE CAN!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ooh lots of things....

Weekends {by Buddy}

Dear Furpals,
It is with a joyful heart, that I bring to you, an excerpt from a book, I am writing called:

"When Humans Over Sleep"
Chapter 2
Available July 2019

When Humans Oversleep - Book CoverThis chapter deals with the 5 ways to awake your human,if he or she has overslept. This is something I have to deal with frequently with my current human, cause she is sooo lazy.
There area couple nice approaches that I want to bring out, and the first one is:

The "Stand-at-the-side-of-the-bed-and-look-cute", this is the nicest of approaches, and can only be done with the sensitive humans; so if you have a really gullible human, this one might work for you.

Second would be the "sweetly-lick-hand-or-face-if-close-to-edge-of-bed". In this technique, you are approaching the bed, quietly, and gently telling your human, that he/she needs to get up. If your human likes doggy kisses, you are more likely to get a smile out of them this way. My human doesn't, so I'm more likely to get swatted. (EDITORS NOTE:REFLEX ONLY PEOPLE!!!)

The next one is the "stand-at-the-door-and-whine", this one is a little bit more aggressive, as it makes the human think you need to go potty, (I would advise loud, long moans, and short barks for this one). But I have found this one will back fire, sometimes, as the human will let you out, and then go back to bed. Pottying inside, will defiantly help them stay up longer, and increase the chances of them not going back to sleep.

Those are all good and well, for some of you, (*coughTexas* *coughBubbles*), but when I wake up my human, I want her to be WIDE awake, and in a state of mind, to take me outside, walk me, and feed me.

This process is a multi-step process, so kids get out your pens and notepads. *ahem*

Step 1: as soon as you here that bizarre ringing thing, go off, jump up, and run to the side of the bed.If there is no movement from the human, hop on to the bed, and peer into their face.

If the eyes are still shut, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Began washing humans face vigorously with lots of slobber, this is sure to cause them to at LEAST stir. Most will probably push your head away, or bury their head under the pillows.

Do not be discourage if the happens, as its time for step three.

Step 3: Lay down beside human, in my case, Bubbles and Texas are in the bed, so my laying down, is normally on them. (Ohwell)

Step 4: Stick paws in humans, face, and lick.

Step 5: Roll onto Human, with full weight, continue with step 4.

Now if you have a stubborn human like I do, they might fake getting up, and do something like sit up and look at the clock.
The mistake I make here, is getting off the bed at this point. Because as soon as I get off, she lays BACK DOWN!!?
Ben Collage

Sometimes I'll give in and let her have a few more minutes,but as soon as that ringy thing goes off again, immediately start with step 5 and repeat, also inlisting help of your furry housemates will help as well.

When human yells something like:"OK ALL DOGS OFF THE BED".

You know your job is complete.

Editors Note: See what I have to put up with in the mornings? He only started the body slamming/rolling onto thing this morning. New tactic I suppose. *eye roll*

Out on the Town {by: Texas}

Ok so decided that I need more socialization etc, for some reason, I mean I'm already the awesomest dog she has, but it was cool, cause she doesn't take places a lot like she used to. Well that and I like to scream at everyone and anything walk or moving outside of the vehicle, and I'm worse on leash.
Ben and Texas in the backseat of the car
She hasn't taken me out on leash in places other than at home, so she said this was going to be an adventure. We parked in this big dark place, and only Bubbles and I got out. As soon as we started to leave that place there were like THREE dogs out there and I KNEW they were laughing at me. And I don't take that offa NOBODY, and cause Bubbles is a great sister,she joined in until Mom told us to "Look" and "Sit".

Ok so its hard to do that and bark at them, at the same time, so we did what she asked, and got a treat for it. And we were able to move on. Than someone dared to walk past me...and I had to yell at them for that.

So mom picked me up, and corrected me every time I tried to yell at someone. So I decided being quiet was better...and more rewarding. :))
Texas and Bubbles
::Seriously Mom? In front of the garbage can?"::
And since I was being quiet, she put me down, and we got to walk around downtown, and smell all kinds of new things, and see new places. And I didn't even bark a single time else! Not even when there was a bird right in front of us!!!!

Mom was really happy, and after a little bit we went back to the car, since it was super hot!
Texas laying on the passenger seat of the car
After that, she and Ben kept getting in and out of the car, always real quick,since it was super hot out. But she made sure we had lots of water and were in the shade when she had to leave, but even then was nervous, and shopped real quick!
But we did get a treat for all of our hard work, FROSTY PAWS!! :))
three bowls of dog food with frosty paws in it
::Dinner AND Dessert::
dogs in the kitchen eating their food

After that, we couldn't even move! ...which is why mom is writing this down for me, cause I can't move from the couch!
Texas laid out on the couch
Ben sleep on the floorBubbles on her small couch

See Ya!

- Random Photo: Texas had to get a bath yesterday, for rolling in poop. eeeewww
Texas outside

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Weekend {by Buddy}

Hey Gang,
WOW has Mom been busy!! One of her friends was getting, married this weekend, and she was the pianist for the wedding, so Friday she was in a real big hurry. Since I had gone out on Thursday, it was Daniels turn to go with her, so she took him too the rehearsal with her.

She said he was an angel, sit/waiting at the end of the buffet table while she got her food, and then laying quietly at her feet while they went through the rehearsal. Halfway through one of her siblings took him, and the kids played with him, while mom practiced and practiced.

FINALLY they came back, and she let us run around outside, it was weird playing in the dark, but fun!

Saturday, she was gone a really, really, really long time. She didn't take either of us, cause she said it was too hot.(the wedding was outdoors) I'm like WHATEVER.

When she came back, she played with us for a little bit...AND LEFT AGAIN! ugh. So basically Saturday was a really boring day for us dogs, though she did let us do the whole play outside in Daniel - Goldendoodle 2the dark thing.

Sunday, it was my turn to go out, and I escorted my mom and a big group of her friends, to a restaurant. They all ooed and aahed over me, (Cause I'm sooo handsome) I didn't pull at all, and laid very quietly under her chair while they ate. I even slept a tiny bit, but its more interesting to watch the people walk by.

Today Mom took Daniel to a different trainer, so he could start learning more autism skills. She took me too, cause she wanted to see if I would pull harder in a newer surroundings. Well as we were walking out of the parking garage, we almost ran into a lady talking on her phone.

She didn't realize what she was looking at when she saw Daniel (I'm guessing) and was scrambling to get out of our way!! It was quite funny.

But Daniel and I walked through downtown, on a mostly loose leash, and had fun doing it!!! (The clicker thing is awesome!)

After Daniel left, Mom and I walked around Downtown, and I didn't pull much at all, she even convinced me to walk over a couple of grates; once realizing what they were I would hop over them. HA.

Then we went home. Played, ate dinner, and played some more once it got cool. I hate having to wait so long to outside, but mom says its good for us. whatever.

It was really dark when mom put, Me, Bubbles and Texas into the car, I was very confused, because we don't go out when its night time much; apparently Mom had to go get some food for her siblings, so she took us along. She and I marched into Wal-Mart, (me NOT pulling of course), got our stuff, I down/waited while she checked out, and we left!!!

I am soo good.

Ben in the car leaning over the seat
Anyways its waay past my bedtime, so I'm signing off here!
Buddy's Signature
P.S. (Mom has not called me Buddy almost the entire time she's had me! But its ok, I respond to either name to make it easier on her :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Guess Who??

My three-dog household, has once again been pushed back up to four, with the welcome "re" edition of known as Buddy.

Buddy needed some extra loose leash work, so I'll have him (until further notice...remember the whole write it in pencil thing? yeah.) probably until September. Daniel will move onto another trainer and learn skills that he will need when working with his autistic child. is ONE of my favs, so we're happy to see him again. Today we dropped into Target to see what we had to work on, and he did beautifully; you really wouldn't know that he hadn't been training for this all of his life.

Ben laying in the floor of target.
{Shopping is boooring in his opinion}

I do wish I could keep Daniel as well, as these two are more of the same energy level, and makes them easy to manage together. Ah well, he'll move on Monday afternoon.

And we'll be back down to three dogs.....for a little while at least. I am going to need a bigger house I think!

P.S. (Ben's name was changed because he happens to share it with his new little ...well buddy! :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Training the Dachshund

The question was posed to me a couple of days ago, about teaching a dachshund the "down" command.

Sounds like you have the command down,(no pun intended) but you want to lengthen her response time? To do that, what I do, especially with pups that have short attention spans, once I get them into the down position, I'll put down a hand full of treats. This keeps them in the down position a little bit longer than giving a tiny treat.

I did a video of Texas doing going through some of the behaviors I've taught him. And each time I have him "down" I put down three or four treats, which, as you'll see keep him the position longer.

This will also roll over into the "wait" or "stay" command. Putting down a handful of treats, walking away while the pup eats them, and coming back right as they are finished.

"Good pup!"

I'll let an expert demo that one!

I Hope this helps!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gooood Morning!

Bubbles, Texas and Daniel

.....what can I say? They are not morning dogs....just like mom!
But they have fun when they do wake up - This video was done back when Ben was with me, which is why he is in them. :D