Use this space to discuss training issues -- brag about successes, lament setbacks or bounce a question off the group.
EDDIE: He takes his therapy dog recertification test on Saturday, and I feel pretty good about it. I'm not as nervous as the two other times I took it with him, at least. And my nervousness and preparedness are really the only issues we've ever had.
Here are the things I've been criticized for before in passing the previous tests:
* Continuous leashing: There's a point in the test where I have to unleash him from his 6-foot leash and hook him up to a 10 or 12-foot lead. The Pet Partner (formerly Delta Society) rules are that one leash has to be attached at all times: So you hook up the second leash before removing the first one (and vice-versa when you switch back). I have some kind of mental block on that, because both times I've done it wrong, and the instructor let me slide. Note to self: No going on cruise control!
* Supporting your animal: There's another point in the test for small dogs where I have to place him on the laps of three different people. During my real therapy visits, I walk to the end of the leash to give Eddie a chance to interact with the person he's sitting with and not be focused on me. But the Pet Partner instructors always criticize me for not staying close and supporting Eddie. Note to self: Stay with Eddie at all times during the test.
* Personal appearance: Seems like a no-brainer, but I was criticized once for not realizing my shirt was untucked. Note to self: Don't be your normal slovenly self!
Wish me luck!
JILLIE: Her nosework training is coming along OK. The biggest problem I've had is finding time to work with her. Every time I try, Eddie throws a fit and wants to play along. But in the practice sessions we've had, she's learned the game. She can find the box with a treat and an odor in it. I haven't worked with her individually on odor-only, but I laughed a couple times this week when Eddie was doing odor-only searches on our walk and Jillie found the odor first.
LUCY: She went on injured reserve last week when she and Eddie had a disagreement, and she excitedly reared up on her back legs and pounced down hard on her front legs on the hard linoleum floor. One front leg went limp and there was pain in her shoulder. Fortunately, rest and anti-inflammatories seem to have done the trick. She's back to joining us on our regular walks.
WALKS: Summer is a blessing and a curse. The dogs love the warmer weather, but so do other dog-walkers. My once solitary neighborhood park now has other dogs there all the time. It adds a challenge because I'm not as free to walk them unleashed. Even last night at 1 a.m., we ran into two other dog-walkers.
I've already had two incidents that make me realize I can't bend the rules any more. Two unleashed dogs came charging all the way across the park to check us out while mine were unleashed. I was able to leash Lucy and Eddie in time, but Jillie panicked and took off running. Of course, the other dogs thought that was great fun -- chasing a 4-pound furball. Fortunately, they were friendly dogs and the owner was right behind, but it could have been an ugly scene.
The second time, a responsible dog-walker was walking his poodle on a leash, and my unleashed three all wanted to investigate. They were "nice" about it, but it had to be stressful for the other dog walker and his dog. I apologized profusely and decided that was the last straw. I can't take any more chances in summertime.
Sorry for the novella, but it's summer and I've got happy dogs on my mind. What's up with your pack?