About Me

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I am the Dog Trainer Girl. A wife to a wonderful husband, momma to 2 boys, one that is a mini-me and makes me call my dad and appologize on a regular basis. I am owned by a Corgi named Yadi. I'm a Baseball girl, who likes bats, ball and bases on my diamonds. Go Cardinals!!!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Training Marley - The Rise of my Panic

Marley sleeping on the job! 
Yesterday I went to the Neighborhood Market with Tim (my husband). We just had a few things we needed to pick up and then we had to run home and I had to run to an evaluation.  I got distracted by the candles and I heard Tim say something behind me and from the corner of eye saw him move off to my right.

When I was done picking out the candles I wanted I turned to go find him, and I couldn't!  I walked from one end of the store to the other but could not find him, and I felt gripped by the fear and panic of being alone surrounded by people.  As I got closer to the end of the isles that he could be on I felt like my chest was in a vice grip and I almost lost my breath.  It was literally all I could do to hold on to the candles in my hands and not drop them and sit in the middle of the floor and cry.  Once I got to the end of the isles I turned to see him behind me about half way across the store.  By the time he got to me I was completely shut down and couldn't even talk, or look up at him.

This was the first time in a very long time that kind of fear has taken hold of me, but it's also the first time since my accident that I've been alone when I wasn't training.  I'm usually training (which as I mentioned in my last post is my safety mask) or I'm with a friend that I trust.

When I got back home Marley girl came to my rescue.  She got in my lap and did DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) and forced me to engage with her, instead of allowing me to fall into disassociation and avoidance.  She helps me stay in the here and now and I need that most.  Especially right now.

The picture above was from a few days ago, she was doing DPT for me and feel asleep!  I love this girl so much.  I love Yadi he is my boy, but he is not a cuddlier and will not stay on my lap for very long.  Marley also likes to get on my chest and that calms me so fast, and though "calming" is not a task it defiantly helps pull me back from a full blown panic attack and keeps me from falling into that avoidance that I talked about, and for me those two things are tasks.

So this morning I woke up and realized that I this is a perfect opportunity for me to talk about my experiences with training Service Tasks and how much they help.  I can't talk about what I do with my clients but I can talk about what I do for myself.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The iT in SDiT

SDIT Patch
We know that the world of Service Dogs is a one that is hard to navigate.  The laws are open to interpretation and there is no education to the general public.  That's one of the reasons I am all for the laws and regulations governing Service Dogs to be changed.  We put so much work into our Service Dogs to have someone that just wants to take their pet dog with them where ever they go and not put any training into it, causes us to have a harder time with our real Service Dogs.

I lost my Service Dog about 4 years ago and I've had to learn to live without him.  I've gradually shifted to needing to be with my husband when living my daily life.  I can't really handle being by myself unless I'm doing training.  I can't really explain that other than that I've been doing training for so long that it just feels so natural and I get more relaxed when I'm training a dog.  Many friends watching me train have often said that I am a different person when I train and I often attribute that to being of of the many masks that I wear to hide how I'm feeling.

I said that to be able to say this, I understand how hard it is to train with your dog when you have stuff going on that just make you want to stay in bed all day, or you have a medical issue where you need to stay in bed all day, but the training has to continue.  It can't stop just because we can't get out and go.
Yadi doing DPT while I was laying down.  
On those days you may work on relaxation techniques to help your dogs learn to calm down and relax on for times when you need to go to the doctors office or just want to sit and have a coffee with a friend.  Relaxation is a key element in a Service Dog's behavior.

The training has to be an ongoing 24/7 thing.  You cannot allow your dog to jump on you some times and correct them other times, you cannot allow them to pull on leash some times and not others.  You have to ask that they follow the rules all the time.  Allowing them to get away something only sets you back in your training.

Think of all of the time that you spend trying to cleaning up after a mess that your dog has made because you didn't work on leave it enough with them. Or how long you spend chasing them in the yard because you didn't reward them enough for coming when you called them, or maybe you even you called them to you and then got onto them for something they did when they came to you.

We have to approach our training with a proactive mindset and teach our dogs what we want them to do from the beginning rather than waiting until they have already reacted and then us responding to that behavior.

Feel free to email me at dog.trainer.girl@gmail.com with any questions you might have.

The Kona Diaries - Secondary Fear Stage and Vet Visits

This morning I had a plan.  I was going to take Kona to Hollywood Feed for some social interactions.  Since spending all this time at home...