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!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

embarrassed moment leads to lightbulb moment!!!

I've always been a big fan of talking about training because when you talk about it, things come out that you wouldn't have thought about in the beginning.  Now this blog post has taken on a totally new light since I started writing it 20 minutes ago.  I'm leaving the original post below in italics.
Riley - Black Standard Poodle

I'm not talking a little, I'm talking completely flushed and sweating I was so embarrassed!!!  So Riley is my new prospect.  She will be 6 months old tomorrow, I quit working her out in public for more than a short period at a time because she was just not handling her food well, she was allergic to chicken and I didn't realize it at first.  I was having a hard time getting her potty trained at home because of it and didn't want to risk an accident out in public because she had already had one.  
Kiera in the red vest, getting ready to do a recall past another dog (Riley)

Well last night I took her to work with another student of mine Kiera.  Y'all this girl is going to challenge me until I change everything about how I train, or I pull out every last hair on my head.  Now I know she was probably feeding off of me because I was nervous having her out anyway, and I had a headache so I was a little off my game.  This girl for one is afraid of other dogs, I don't know if she has picked that up from Yadi or something that happened before I brought her home.  

We get past her barking at Kiera at first and then we start to work on Kiera's lesson, she is amazing and she and her handler do beautiful together!!  So we start to head down to Target.  Riley gives me no warning at all and just pees as she is walking...  

I'm like what?????   You have to be kidding me...  

Clean that mess up and then continue on get to Target to work on ignoring food for Kiera and Riley just relaxing and being a distraction.  Before we could even get started there she pooped in the middle of the main isle.  OMG Riley!!!!   Now my student says...  I love how you even gave her a chance to go potty and she just stood there and looked at you.   Guys I wanted to crawl into a whole and hide, but this customer walking by as I was cleaning everything up says "did we have an accident?  Well it happens to all of us sometimes."  That made me feel a tiny bit better and then my student's mom says "you make me feel normal" and that made me feel better.  

I guess the take away from this is that we are dealing with dog's they are not perfect, they are not robots, I am going to take this a yet another learning experience with her and make sure that if we are going to work in public I take her out on leash to potty before going anywhere, and I'm going to work on teaching her to paw target my foot when she needs to go out to go potty instead of barking at me.

It was upon typing that last sentence it hit me, I did this to myself.  I took away my pups potty alert without teaching her a new one first!  Talk about a face palm moment.  Her cue to go potty was to bark at me, and since I have been correcting her for barking in public... when we are in public she doesn't know how to let me know that she has to go potty.

I know I will get a lot of flack for this post from people that will say I have no business taking my pup out to train if she is going to have potty accidents in public.  Believe me, it's not something I want to have happen, but it did and if someone else can learn something from my mistake then I'll take the flack for it.

Happy Training!!


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Feeling like a Fake...


I have never been stopped so many times over a service dog as I have in the last week.  Everything from “oh my gosh your dog is so pretty” as they pass by which I honestly don’t mind.  To people wanting to take pictures of the dogs I’m working with, and one guy that interrupted a training session yesterday because “I could just tell he wanted to sniff me” as he leans down and puts the back of his hand right up to the dog’s nose as I’m saying “He is a Service Dog, you can’t pet him” he says “oh I’m not petting him”.

I just blinked…

Last week I was working with a client dog Leo, and while I must admit he is a very handsome boy I was constantly being hassled from people wanting to take his picture.  Early this week I got in a patch that I ordered for Riley that says, “I’m a Service Dog not a Magical Unicorn” and I feel it came at the perfect time.  It’s hard enough when we are working with a young service dog in training to keep their attention and teach the the skills needed, then you add in the stress we feel having our dog out in public in the first place.  Most of us are so awarded of all the “Fake Service Dog” stuff going on that we are scared to death our dogs are going to do something and be labeled as fake, then where will we be?? 

Well here is my take on it, the difference between a “Fake Service Dog”, and a “Service Dog in Training” is all about how we the handler’s deal with issues that come up.  
Service Dogs are not robots. 
They are going to make mistakes.
They are going to have off days.
They are going to not know how to handle things.
What matters is how we help them though these trying times.  Remember we are asking our dogs to conform to our society and what we think they should be doing, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to teach them to succeed in this area of life. 

There is very little chance that you are going to be able to think of every single situation that you and your SDiT might find yourselves in to try and train it at home, and if you did by some miracle there is no way to know that your dog is going to be able to handle the situation the same way out in public that they did at home. 

The best advice I can give is to be prepaid for an anything to happen.  Riley is still under 8 months so I know we are going to at some point have a potty accident somewhere.  I’m hopeful now that I have her off of all chicken it won’t happen EVER again (yes I said again because it has happened before). Though we never want to think about it happening, at some point our dogs are going to have an accident. 

I usually carry some sort of bag with me when I’m out training, I try to always make sure that bag has the following things in it:
Unscented baby wipes/Antibacterial wipes
Hand sanitizer (great for cleaning the floor too)
Extra roll of poop bags
Water bottle and/or bowl
A small lightweight blanket to use as a place mat

So recently I’ve come to Realize that raising Riley with to Corgis she thinks she is a small dog too.  She is actually fearful of dogs her own size or bigger.  If I take her out to work with her and she barks, is she a fake?  Or is it an untrained reaction? 
She does the Tasks I need most from her, she interrupts my self harming behavior, and brings me back from Grey outs.  She has also learned to circle me so we are working on her doing that when we are in a crowd of people.  Does that not fit the definition of a Service Dog?  With just those few things, not even the things that we are still working on learning, has she not helped to significantly ease major portions of my life that have caused me from interacting with other people, helps me to deal with my PTSD in a health way that does not leave more visible scars that the invisible ones?  To me, the answer is Yes, so she can’t be a fake.  She still has areas where she needs to train of course, she will for the rest of her life, but she is a Service Dog in Training.  She has the chops to do the job, and she is such a wonderful girl.  I can teach her not to be afraid of the other dogs, and train her behaviors. 

There are going to be things our dogs have problems with, but we have to help them learn how to deal with it.  We have to teach them the appropriate and acceptable responses to stimulus that they come in contact with.  When you go out with your SdiT if you feel nervous because of people judging you, or that someone is going to say something to you, stick to the dog friendly but not heavily dog populated areas.  Focus on your dog and what your dog needs to be doing, and that you need to be communicating with them.  Remember to make the outing about your dog and not let other people get under your skin they all have opinions and your never going to please everyone so don’t worry about them, just think about you and your dog.    

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A hard week for training

Last Tuesday I started feeling sluggish and achey so I knew what was about to happen.  As the week went on, it got worse, and I spent most of last weekend curled up with a blanket.  With the holiday coming I really wanted to just push though until I was off for the holidays.  However, my body had other plans.  I've done some work with my pups but not much.  Mostly just trying to stick to our routines, and not sliding backwards on any progress we have made.

Black Poodle sitting in the leaves
Riley in the leaves
Riley finally pooped out the other glove that she ate 2 weeks ago.  I had been watching her very closely for any signs of a blockage, so to find that other glove made me very happy.  Then she turned around and while playing with a tennis ball in the kitchen, she popped it and ATE it! I swear I'm going to have to just keep her on leash for the rest of her life!  She is the first dog I have ever had that eats things like that.  Her breeder told me she is pure Poodle but I think there is some goat in there somewhere.  

Yadi and Marley Yadi made some huge strides in the last week with his food aggression.  We have worked long and hard at getting him comfortable with the other dogs being around him with his food or treats.  Last week Marley sneaked up as I was fixing a cup of coffee and was eating out of his bowl with him.  I was amazed.  I've been working with making them lay down and giving treats out of my hand while they are near each other. 

He and Marley will still every now and then get into it when they are playing and get over stimulated and one of them takes something the wrong way, but that doesn't happen often.  They can both lay in my lap and not get upset at each other.  

Golden Doodle puppy
Little Blue


Since it was going to be a long weekend, I had a training puppy at home with me from Doodlebug Doodles and Poodles.  Little Blue is doing amazing.  He is so smart and so eager to train even though he is only 10 weeks, he will Sit, Down, and Stand with hand signals, Come when called, and is learning to be on a leash, and social skills.  Crate training has not been fun he doesn't like being alone, but we are doing it in small blocks with fun things to play with in the crate.  He sleeps with Riley because he just loves her.  He is sleeping though the night without potty accidents in the crate, and happily runs right outside for playtime with my pups.  

Yadi and Marley in the leavesThat's really about all I've been up to, I have not even been on Facebook much other than to look at posts I was tagged in.  I am hopeful today I would feel better and be up to doing a lot of work with Riley on her Tricks, but I'm just exhausted still. Hopefully soon though.



The Big Move

 There are some changes I'm working on and so this blog, the training blog will continue but will be moved over to www.downtoearthdogtra...