About Me

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!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Few More Days of 365 Days of Training Adventures

Little Red
It’s been quiet the busy week so far.  Monday was a cold and wet day so I stayed inside with the Doodle Bug Puppies.  While working with teach them to walk on a leash, I tripped over a rug and fell.  So I was very sore but oh what sweet babies.  They are 6 weeks old now and have taken well to sitting with a lure and even offering a Sit from time to time.  They do a Down really well and are
starting to respond to Come even without playing the name game.  Tuesday I took it easy because I was so sore but Wednesday saw us working a full day.  

First pup of the day was a little Frenchie named Rogan, we were working on public access skills and learning to ignore things such as food dropping to the floor and Ms. Riley.  Other ladies sitting at a table near us who he just knew if he could get over to them, they would give him lots of loving.  He did amazing though as he always does, and within a few times of practicing each behavior he had it down.  It will take several more weeks, or months of practice before he is reliable at the behaviors but he is well on his way.  
Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of Rogan working.  

Later Riley went to work on learning to relax while out in public.  I have been letting her greet
Riley Tucking under a table while I have a coffee
strangers to get ready for the CGC test to help her learn to sit to greet them.  When I test my Service Dog client dogs for this, I practice the behavior with them and make sure they are able to sit for me...  AKA The magic treat lady.  When they learn to ignore me with the magic treat pouch, they can ignore anyone!!!  Well with my own dog, I am not able to do that with.  So we have done a few Therapy visits and then allowing her to greet kids because she so gentle and then we tell the kids what Service Dos do and that we should never distract them because of how important their jobs are.
Lately though she has decided that if someone is looking at her but does not move to pet her then she things it is acceptable to woof at them.  So we are no longer going to be greeting anyone and going to make sure that she understand that I am the only person she needs to be focused on.


We had a session with Ashlynn and her SD Lilly.  After doing several weeks of work with Lilly on just ignoring people and other dogs we have moved on to working on her Tricks titles where are going to be a walk in the park for her because she does so much for Ashlyn already.  As we were talking about something, I dropped my phone and Lilly calmly retrieved it for me from under Ashlynn’s chair.  She is such an amazing dog.  She helps Ashlynn with so many different things and it is so wonderful to see them work together.

After working with Lilly we did some more work on our own walking around the mall we went down to the Gear Head store to see if they had any dog boots in stock but they did not sadly.  Then we did
more walking around and worked on ignoring people.  Worked with walking beside a cart that I really wished I had been able to get a video of and finally as I sat down for yet another lovely dose of coffee, she got very comfy under my chair and passed out.

She is still very young and I like to give her time to nap or for us to go sit outside and her just relax in the sun, but with it being so cold we just took it easy on her.  She came home played like a crazy child with Yadi and then laid down and went back to sleep again.

While she was at home resting, I worked with one of my dogs that hopes to be a therapy dog.  She is a little nervous but we are working on it.

Today I went back out to work with the puppies I didn’t get any pictures of them today but I did get some videos I will post them soon.  I also worked with a couple of my Veteran Service dogs and a Therapy dog.  I will write up more about them tomorrow, so come back to hear about another day’s adventures.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bark... bark... bark... I'm going to go hide...

There are days when my own issues get to me and get in the way of training.  It's all I can do something to hold it together, something causes me to cry and I can barely hold back the floodgates.   Yesterday one of those days.  Our training was mostly centered around the issues that we have been having at home.

We started off this morning with having a battle of wills for lack of a better word with Riley.  When I'm fixing everyones breakfast I put their bowls on the counter and put their food in the bowls then add the probiotic and then a hip and joint supplement for the Corgis.  Then everyone has to go to their places and then I put their food bowls down and they get to eat.  Well Ms Riley decided she didn't want to wait this morning and barked at me the whole time.  She jumped up and knocked her food bowl off.  But instead of letting her eat any of it off the floor, I told her to "Leave it" every time she went near it.  I gave Yadi his bowl and Marley her bowel, and I made Riley sit and wait while I cleaned all her food up off the floor.  I made her a new bowl and then go to her place and sit and wait before I put it down for her.


The Corgis playing 
Our biggest issues lately has been the Corgis and their herding instincts.  They rush out the back door and run straight to the gate and run our fence barking at the neighbor's dog Coco.  Since we have gotten Riley it has gotten worse not because she is joining in but it almost seems like they are protecting Riley from Coco, even though she is sweet as she can be.
So we have switched into management while trying to work individually on trying to get them to leave Coco alone.  Most of our fencing is covered in this green mesh because I didn't want the dogs chasing cars down the side of the fence that is on the street.  So I ordered more of it this morning to finish covering up the small area that they can see her.

They are only allowed to go out one at a time and let me tell you they are not happy about it.  They have pouted like crazy all day that they can't go out side together all day.  They are very bonded to each other and I don't think I really realized it until today.

Bacon Apple treats in bone molds ready for the oven
The other issue is Riley's counter surfing.  She has been stuck with me on leash because I don't trust her not to try and eat things she shouldn't.  Though this is part of her training anyway to help with her learning that she needs to stay right with me, it helps me know she is not getting on a table somewhere or sneaking off to pee while I'm working.  

I spent quite some time in the kitchen moving my plants out of the windowsill as it's getting colder, so overtime she put her feet up on my counters she got a 2 minute time out in the crate.  This didn't seem to phase her.  She would run right out of the crate and put her feet back up on the counters again.  So I guess she isn't even going to get any free time in the kitchen, she is going to have to stay on leash with me all the time.

We did however make lots of treats this morning for training this weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Community Dogs make me so happy!

Yesterday was a very light day for me, I was feeling under the weather as it was cold and wet and the barometric pressure was up pretty high with the rain front moving though.  My head was aching, but I went to breakfast with the hubs which is something we try to do to do on his off days cause we really don't get much time together these days.  Then we went to visit mom at the Nursing home, which is always a stressful time in which I really wish I could have Riley with me, but I'm not sure how they look at that, since they are a state run nursing home and don't even allow therapy dogs to come in.  I'm not sure if they would allow service dogs.  I spent most of the time there writing yesterday's blog so that I could keep my mind occupied on something other than how stressed I was.

Later in the afternoon I had an appointment with Aspen one of my Therapy dogs in training.  Our main focus was her not forging ahead of her mom.  Leash walking can be such a source of frustration for us slow humans.  There are so many different ways to teach leash walking but one of my favorite ways is to teach your dog that if they pull on the leash you are not going to go anywhere with them.  I like this method of training with them because it teaches them that they can go where ever they want as long as they do not pull on you.  The walk itself becomes the reward for them staying with you but you have to make it a point to STOP every single time that they pull the leash tight.  I tell my students that you might practice for an hour and only get 20 feet and that is fine as long as you stopped every time your dog pulled the leash tight.

Also we have to reward them for paying attention to us while we are walking with them.  It is unnatural for our dogs to slow down to our pace and not explore while out on an adventure with us.  Apparently this is not something I have a video of working on so I need to fix this this next week while my hubby is off work and can make some videos with me.

After Aspen's appointment I took a group of Therapy Dogs in Training to visit our friends at one of our local nursing homes.  We have been going to visit these wonderful women and men for almost 3 years now and they love seeing us come in.  We have a set schedule of when we visit and we have pups that dress up and pups that do tricks and pups that just love to snuggle and make people smile.  

Scooby & Kevin
Lincoln & Ms. Joyce 
Scooby (grey Staffy) and Ms Lilly (yellow Lab) are both pulling double duty they are Service Dogs who like to go to the nursing home to give all the love they have stored up and are not able to give to people when they are on duty.

Lincoln is a Springer Spaniel who is going to be going to St Jude's to visit with the kids and help to cheer them up.

Of course Ms Riley is learning to sit politely for people to pet her since that will be part of her Canine Good Citizen Test.  Normally Ms Marley comes with me for Therapy Dog visits she is one of the ones that loves to dress up.

As we were leaving one of the ladies grabbed my arm and was so just so thankful that we had come and brought the babies to see them.  She said having to leave her baby behind was the worst part of having to go into the nursing home but she looked forward to our visits, and that helped me remember why I work as hard as I do.
Lilly & Ms Ashlynn

Riley getting some lovens

Ms Marley

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Training Riley

Yesterday was a good, but frustrating day for training Riley.  She is so good at some things and so annoying at others, but that’s why we are training.  We started our day out at Starbucks for a coffee and some quiet downtime before my day of training started.
She settled into a spot between my chair and the window and laid down to watch the world go by as I did some light reading and enjoyed my coffee.  She got lots of stairs and smiles and one guy even asked if he could take her picture.  I didn’t mind because at least he asked.  She behaved herself very nicely I was super proud.  
One of the things best things I was happy to see was that traffic didn’t phase her in the least.  As we crossed two busy intersections she happily stayed right with me in our heel position, and stopped when I did.    
 She didn’t care to walk in the rain at all, however every puddle we came to she wanted to drink it dry.  So we had to do a lot of leave it practice with puddles.  I was like I know I’m giving you plenty of water what on earth is going on???  She can drink a whole bowl bone dry in 3 seconds flat.  Which makes our potty training that much harder.  I have to remember that I have only had her for 2 weeks and we are making progress.  I need to teach a target behavior to let me know she has to go potty so that she can tell me when she needs to go out in public.  
We went to Lowe’s later and worked with a new Therapy dog student named Sam.  Riley did some barking while Sam’s dad held her for me and I worked with holding on to Sam.  Normally I would have used Riley to show Sam’s dad how to do the behaviors with Sam, however Sam was pulling really bad, and Sam’s dad had stitches in his hand so I did the work with Sam and let his Dad watch.  When he settled down I let dad take him back and I took Riley and had her work on Cover (her laying behind me to prevent someone from walking up into my personal space.). 

Later in the day we went to meet with Ashlynn and
Lilly to work on helping Lilly work on ignoring other dogs.  I’d say we had a wonderfully successful session.  Several people walked by and Lilly ignored them.  A guy walked by with a big cart and said “Hi Lilly” and she just kept her eyes on Ashlynn, I was very proud of her.  She is 5 years old and I’ve been working with her off and on since she was 12 weeks old!

Then we worked on ignoring another dog with the little spit fire Eve, a young German Shepard Puppy.  She was working on learning to settle down and not show her frustration at being not a being able to just do what ever she wanted to do.  When she gets over being a pushy puppy she is going to be such a solid girl.

I ended the night training with Keira teaching her not to pay attention to kids moving around her.  So we were at the mall, and enlisted Ian to help us train.  He was just inside the playground practicing his ninja skills while we played “look at that” from a distance.  Even the mall Security Guards were enjoying watching us work and came by to tell us so.

All in all it was a very good training day!  Happy Training everyone!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Here I go again!!!

Tazie in a basket
Tazie 2007
Training a service dog is not easy, and only 1 in 10 actually make good service dogs. It's a very hard road to training a service dog.  There are days when my mental energy is so low that I just can't push through.  Just getting out of bed in the morning is more than I feel like I can handle some times.  I have a wonderful support system in my husband and friends though.  I know that there is a reason that this is my calling and the more I devote to it the more I love it.  
Marley & Yadi

I was very lucky with my first service dog Tazie.  I lost my hold on a lot of things when I lost my Tazie.  I felt that my connection to dog training had just been cut off as he was my partner.  He taught me that I could do things on my own if I would just trust myself the way he trusted me.  He was always up for learning, but then again maybe I was always up for training him, we were a good team that way.
I finally got around to trying again with Yadi. He however did not have the right personality.  He is feisty and barks at bigger dogs.  Though he did help me get back part of my love of training.  We did a great deal of tricks training and he even became an Intermediate Tricks dog.

Marley
I thought I might have a better chance with my sweet Marley but she likes to sleep when we are not moving and I don't think she will pay much attention to me and to what I need her to pay attention, to the subtle changes in my mood or the change in my breath that denotes a migraine coming on.

I've had an opportunity to add a beautiful little girl to our family.  So I'm going to work with her and pray that she is able to give me back the relief and confidence that Tazie used to.
So hopefully little Sidda will help me get back to who I used to be and what I used to love.  I am hopeful as I start training more with her and with the corgi kids that I'll find that love and passion I used to have for training again.

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.

A Few More Days of 365 Days of Training Adventures

Little Red It’s been quiet the busy week so far.  Monday was a cold and wet day so I stayed inside with the Doodle Bug Puppies.  While ...