Life with Allison

Our family's journey with a special needs child

Another day

I’M BAACCCKKKK!!!

I know it’s been awhile…uh, quite a while, sorry…..since my last post about Ally. Not sure how to classify everything in a nutshell. We’ve had good days and bad days. Her seizures were starting to get out of control, like 15-20 daily, so we began looking for alternative help. As I may have said before, we’ve ran the course of all prescription drugs we can do to the point the rescue meds just really don’t cut it in emergency situations. After asking around, some essential oils were recommended. A friend we met thru in our 4 Paws class scored us a free bottle of frankincense to try…..thanks again, you-know-who. 😉

It REALLY helped!! Couldn’t believe how well too. It has decreased the seizure activity down to 0-5 most nights. When we see her starting to have an increase, we give her another round of frankincense and it usually slows them down. We haven’t given the rescue meds since starting it! I wouldn’t say she’s under control by any means, but it’s better than where we were. A lot better!

Ally started some new stemming and well, I’m not sure what to call it all. She now rolls her eyes into the back of her head often, collapses when you brush her hair, and ‘pretends’ to have a seizure when you change her shirt. I say pretend because I’m not sure if it’s a real one or not. Actually, they all could appear to be seizures, but no one knows for sure. We did a prolonged EEG at a local hospital and I kick myself for it. It was just easier than driving the 2 hours to our hospital for a 2 hour EEG, wait for the doctor to read it and talk to us, and drive 2 hours home. I took a shortcut and got mediocre results. When my nurse called with the results from the other hospital, it said patient was uncooperative!! I mean, really. The rest was pretty inconclusive. We’ve had some days with a lot of misfires, too. Just this week, she had a day she couldn’t walk. She slid off the couch and fell flat on her face because she couldn’t lift her arms to catch herself. Then when she attempted to stand up, she couldn’t and had to crawl instead. She fell so many times, everyone started just holding her to keep her from hurting herself all day. It was really hard to watch and in some ways, I find it harder than the seizures. Thank goodness it was only 1 day.

We did get the autism diagnosis! Yay! Our school thinks she doesn’t have behavior issues though. Yuck. School has been giving us issues too. Actually, all year. First it started off when we brought Perry home and wanted to enroll the dog in school with Ally. The school agreed to have the teachers/aides command Perry, but no staff or student was allowed to take her out to the bathroom. I’ll give you a minute to let that soak in……….WHAT???!!! Its such a catch 22! If she is forced to hold it all day, which is WAY too long to ask any dog to do, she will inevitably go on the floor in the school at some point at which time it gives the school federal rights to kick the dog out permanently. They want me to go in and walk her whenever its needed. Also, unrealistic. It is ADA law that they ‘are not responsible for the care and supervision of the animal’, but my feeling is, no idea how much weight it would carry in court, if they are ‘supervising’ the dog by commanding her and walking her around the school, is there a way they may have to be responsible for the ‘care’ part since they agreed to the other? I mean, do they really get to pick and choose like that? Anyway, the school has also violated privacy issues, not followed our IEP because of word of mouth (that didn’t come from me or my husband), and when we had a sit down with the principal, 1 therapist and sub teacher (ours was out on maternity leave) they eased my worries but then someone in the class tells me it was all lies and that’s not what is going on. The school nurse actually giggled at the beginning of the year when I dropped of our rescue meds and she said ‘This is the fifth one of these I have. Now, aren’t I supposed to call the ambulance when I use it?’ Comforting. I feel so safe dropping my child off in your hands. I’m so frustrated beyond belief with this place! I’m really very under impressed with this school and its program.

On a more positive note, Perry really knows who her girl is! She is such a friendly, family dog, but when Ally needs her, she just knows it. Perry will follow Ally on her off days, lay with her and sometimes across her to prevent her from falling off the bed during the night. Ally tries hard to play with her by getting all her toys and giving them to her one at a time. Perry in return will lick her in the face and nibbles her feet (that’s a no no but we are still working on discouraging it). Perry ALWAYS wakes us when Ally is seizing or just awake. She will nuzzle, hard, under our faces and arms till we respond. She still doesn’t bark at the seizures, but its hard when Ally is having so many Perry can’t smell them anymore. There’s no break in the scent so she has to recognize the movement, which she is! We’ve worked on practicing the seizure alerting that when Ally starts moving, Perry starts getting excited and looks at me and I tell her to bark, and she does. Hopefully soon she won’t need to look to me to know yes, this is what we bark at. I’m so proud of her! Its really amazing at what dogs can do or be observant about that I never gave them enough credit before. One of the workers at 4 Paws told my husband she would miss Perry because it was impossible to have a bad day with Perry there, and she’s right! Perry knows a little nuzzle and petting and hugs (she loves to hug!!) can brighten anyone’s day!

Next week we go for the VNS consult. We did decide to go thru with it, just need to have a meeting with the surgeon and hopefully this spring it will be implanted. Maybe as early as April. Keeping my fingers crossed for positive results. If you would cross your fingers too, it would be much appreciated.

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Ally just loves her daddy!

Ally just loves her daddy!

Kisses for mom

Kisses for mom

At the prolonged EEG

At the prolonged EEG

Rough morning and needed hugs

Rough morning and needed hugs

Kisses for her girl!

Kisses for her girl!

Having a bad day....before meds

Having a bad day….before meds

Bad day....after meds

Bad day….after meds

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Getting to know each other

Its been a while since my last update. Shame on me, but life has been pretty busy here lately. I know, I know. Lame excuse. Everyone uses that when they don’t get around to something. Ok, on with our news.

Its been a little over 2 months home with our furry friend, Periwinkle and its been a wonderful 2 months at that! Watching Allison and Perry grow their bond together has been such an amazing sight. Its crazy how far they have come in such a short amount of time.

We are to the point now that Perry definitely takes note of Ally where ever she is. We’ve noticed that when Ally decides to go to the basement  (that’s the toy room), Perry will go down to scope things out then lay at the top of the stairs where she can hear her. And she will stay there till Ally comes upstairs. If Perry is in the living room sleeping or playing, and Ally walks thru, Perry ALWAYS stops what she’s doing to watch her. I’d say 50% of the time, she will even get up to follow her to see where Ally is headed. The lay together a lot. Perry will grab her Kong and lay next to Ally on the floor and then usually Ally ends up wiggling over to rest her head on Perry’s side.  They are the cutest thing to watch!

Ally has recently started to actually try to play with Perry. She will go pick up Perry’s toy and bring it to her. I can now, give Ally treats to feed Perry. It used to be I’d have to do a hand-over-hand to get Ally to give it to Perry, but now she will reach out, take the treat, and give it to her all on her own. Ally gets to give Perry whole treats, lots of treats, and peanut butter. Perry says ‘mmm’! Well, not really. More like air being inhaled quickly as she gulps down whatever tasty morsel Ally offers……or drops . 🙂 No wonder that dog follows her so much!

The tethering has been way awesome! We use it most nights that haven’t been too cool to take Ally out. My husband likes to sit outside and takes the 2 of them out for fresh air and a walk. We went to our local downtown trick or treating at the stores yesterday. Walked for 40 minutes and Ally never once asked to be picked up! A-mazing!! Perry did great with the crowd, candy and kids. A photographer had to stop and take a picture of Ally and Perry walking so I’ll be keeping an eye out in the newspaper for their picture.

Found out last night that Perry has a new skill set that 4 Paws forgot to tell us about…..she’s a physical therapist! LOL! Perry was ‘chasing’ her last night thru the house and Ally RAN! Like a real run. For the first time. EVER. She’s been able to do this staggering, drunk looking quick walk, but what I’m talking about is a true 6 year old run. Strong, long strides and all! They’d run from the living room to Ally’s bedroom and back. Over and over and over. I wish I had videoed it. We were sure if she would ever have a steady of enough gait to do it. Can’t tell I’m impressed, proud or excited, eh??? :):):)

The seizure work. I’m sure you are curious about how that’s going, since it is the reason we started out on the journey for Perry. Well, Ally has been having seizures about every third night for the past 2 months. That’s a lot more than we originally thought. We had her sleep with either her dad or I for awhile with Perry to try and track how they were doing seizure-wise and alerting-wise.  After that, Ally and Perry went back to their own room to practice together. Not so good unfortunately. I started noticing Ally would have seizures and Perry never barked. Then it got a little difficult to get Perry to go to bed with Ally. She would be hesitant about going in there but ultimately did because I told her to. Then last week, I woke to hearing Ally moving around her room. I thought she had just woke up and was doing this stomping stimming thing she does, but that wasn’t it at all. She was on the floor, half under bed, trapped by the metal framework of her bed and the trundle (that has no mattress on it), having a big convulsive seizure. She had thrown herself around so much, it left bruises on her arms. 😦 And Perry, well, Perry was terrified! Poor dog had her head bowed, tail tucked and when Ally was done seizing and I asked Perry to get in the bed….she bolted out the door!! It was pretty discouraging.

But nothing a simple phone call to her trainer can’t fix! They explained that the real life situation is much different from our practice sessions for the dogs. Our practice sessions, there’s lots of different people involved, treats, praise and all around fun! The real life situation is totally opposite. Perry can smell stress, anxiety, tension. She’s alone with her girl that she knows something is wrong but doesn’t know what. Her girl is acting weird, family is rushing in and its not what we practice. So its super scary for her right now. She needs a little time to realize that Ally is still Ally when its all over. Right now, she’s not sure what to think. So the trainer assured me that give her some time, and she will come around. We just keep practicing and Perry will probably be fine with it once she sees its all gonna be ok. I mean, she is an animal, not a machine so she needs adjust time too. This is the part 4 Paws could train for her. Only Ally and her can find this together, so we will keep on what we are doing and help them both. Oh, and we had to up Ally’s meds.

All our lives have flipped since receiving Perry. She affects us all. She is so loving and sweet. One of the 4 Paws staff was sad to see Perry go and said ‘She never let you have a bad day’. And that’s absolutely true. 🙂

 

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Home sweet home

We’ve been home now almost 3 weeks. I wanted to update sooner than this, but its been crazy busy! We came home on the Saturday after graduation, and barely got to rest Sunday. On Monday, the girls all started school (first day was actually that last week we were gone) and Joe and I headed back to work. I was also on a mission to push for an Autism Spectrum diagnosis. I’m still in the middle of this, but it looks very likely that someone will give it to us.

Also had a discussion with school about Periwinkle attending. Joe and I had decided not to send Perry until at least January, just to give Ally and her plenty of time to secure a good bond, and to solidify Joe and I’s handling skills. After all, we do have to train someone else to handle her in school and I don’t want to feel like a novice, I’d like to know Perry’s cues better and be able to answer questions without running to the phone and calling one of the trainers.

I was unsure about the bond, I mean, why not, it is pretty new to all of us! It’s just me being me, over worrying. Can’t blame me though. After all the work that has gone into fundraising, training and bringing her home, I want it to be right. There have been some changes over the last few days in Perry and Ally’s relationship we’ve noticed. Ally gets home from school and Perry is super excited! She is trying to nuzzle Ally and lick her all over! Ally is not sure if she likes it or not. She giggles and cries. I know Ally can do without the licking. She tries to push Perry away and Perry gets right back in there. I’m still learning whether this is excitement to see her or if its an alert. She hasn’t alerted enough (or maybe we haven’t caught the clues) for me to say yes, everytime she acts this way, a seizure is surely to follow. I do see Perry taking to Ally more though. Last night, my parents took Ally back to their house (right next door to us) and Perry did not seem to like that. She was running to the basement and prancing till Joe opened the door and she could go ‘find’ Ally. But of course, Ally wasn’t there. So she paced the upstairs till Ally came home and then greeted her and calmed down. So I think we are getting somewhere on that bond, and that makes me happy and a little more relaxed.

We have practiced a few tracks. Joe is excellent at reading Perry’s movements, but I still need some help. He has no problem following Perry’s cues and finding Ally and I, but when I handle Perry, it’s a different story. We went to the park one day and Joe walked Ally into the woods on a walking trail. I thought he went right and Perry seemed to think so too. She tugged me way down the trail and when we got to the end and still didn’t find them, she stopped to pee and poop! She never did this once during training at 4 Paws. She also seemed to lose interest. We backtracked to the last place I was sure they were (there was only one other direction to go) and headed that way, but it still didn’t seem like Perry smelled her until we were practically on top of them. We praised her like crazy, but I didn’t feel good about the track at all. I definitely need more practice in this area! I couldn’t help but think ‘JESSA (a trainer who spent most of the tracking lessons with us), WHERE ARE YOU WHEN I NEED YOU!!’. Ha!

Our Miss Periwinkle is getting bored, I think. She goes and gets any shoe she finds and brings it back to the living room. She doesn’t chew on it, but lays it between her front paws and waits for us to take it away. We never make a big deal of this, just remove it and give her one of her toys. I’ll be heading to the store soon to buy a few new items to rotate for her. We are trying to find a groove of getting her more exercise and still getting everything else done that needs done. It seems like a lot now, but I know it will be second nature sooner than later.

Perry has brightened all of our days! She is so happy in the morning and loves that everyone staggers out at different times. She gets excited every time someone different walks out or she will go to their doors and wait for me to let her in and pounce on the beds to wake them with nudges and licks! The girls LOVE IT! Ally gets up every morning with a smile and a ‘Hi, Perry!’.  Tomorrow will be 1 month since we met Perry. She has made all of lives a little brighter and we are all grateful for her presence.

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Training Day 12: Testing and tearful goodbyes

 

WE PASSED OUR PUBLIC ACCESS PASS!!

Perry performed like a champ! I was proud of her and me. Gotta pat myself on the back too. I mean, she already knew her stuff, it was me that needed to prove myself. It was not that difficult of a test. We HAD been working on all the stuff ALL 2 weeks we’ve been there. So actually it would have been kind of sad if we failed.

After our test, we headed back to 4 Paws to sign paperwork and receive Perry’s medical records. Then it was onto introduction to fosters, breeders, trainers, kennel staff, vet staff, and the 2 old ladies that raise money for 4 Paws (that’s how they put it!) LOL. Each family got a chance to introduce ourselves to those people and say our thanks or whatever we wanted. I think we made it to the 3rd family when the mom started crying and I lost it. I was done for after that. It got to be my turn and I couldn’t keep the tears out or my voice from choking up. I tried to lighten the mood because I guess that’s just how I am.

There were pictures taken and hugs exchanged. It was a very emotional time. These families and even the trainers have been a significant part of our lives for the better part of 12 days. And being here meeting everyone made it that much more real. I have never had a group of people like this in my life and I really hope I get to see them all again. I know even if not, they will be only a phone call away or as bad as we all are about Facebook, I can write them there and get a reply probably within 30 mins! LOL Love you all and wish you all the best with your kids and all endeavors here on out.

I wish I could really express my feelings about this journey. It was no simple decision to get a SD. And seeing the love and care put into these dogs to bring them up specifically for our kids…..well, I wish I lived closer to participate in helping these amazing people bring up these dogs. Hey, maybe I’ll change professions one day! Ha. My heart is in cooking. Maybe I’ll just come cook for everyone! 🙂

Now its time to start a new journey with a very loving, sweet, playful dog named Periwinkle.

Signed, sealed, and certified!

Signed, sealed, and certified!

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We did it!

We did it!

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Training Days 10 & 11: More practice and talks

 

I was just too tired yesterday to write, so this is a double post.

Day 10:

Tracking again in the morning. Nothing much to say about it. It is going really well.

The afternoon we went to the mall as our last outing as a class. We did walked with the trainer to work on the HEEL command. Perry and I do great almost everywhere….except the mall. Jeremy seemed to think its because the dogs are still immature and it’s the first time the dogs can smell each other but not see each other. It took some extra motivation with whole pupperoni’s, but it worked. We did walk by an older lady with some tall white hair that scared Perry to the point she actually gave a small bark! Dogs can get spooked by new things just like people. So things like tall white hair, people that stare with fear, huge ZZ Top beards, etc. can look pretty scary to them if they’ve never seen it before. We got passed all that and the rest of our walk went fine.

That night, we tried some Lavender essential oil on all my girls’ feet to help with the restlessness and Ally not sleeping well. It worked awesome!! The girls slept so great! Finally a night’s sleep!

 

Day 11:

Today we started with the normal track. The trainer said Perry’s nose is pretty darn good for a tracking dog! Like better than normal.

We did try putting the dogs in a DOWN or a STAND while we kept walking. It takes the dogs an extra step or two to process the fact that they are supposed to stop and we keep walking. We struggled with the STANDING in motion but the DOWN in motion was a piece of cake. We need work together as a team, but we are doing good for as much time as we’ve had together so far.

The afternoon was dedicated to talking about taking the dogs home. Spent a lot of time talking about taking them in airports and introducing them into a school. For some reason it never dawned on me that we could wait a couple months or even till next school year to send Perry to school. Its something to think over. Even if we waited till mid-year, that would give us time to solidify Ally and Perry’s bond together and my handler bond with Perry. Frankly, its  intimidating to think of turning around and trying to train someone to handle Perry at school when I’m still such a novice at it myself. Its food for thought.

Tomorrow is testing and we are going first. Sounds like its really hard to fully ‘fail’. There are ways to ‘fail’ like if the the dog goes potty in the mall or bites someone, but what are the odds of that happening…..LOL oh yeah, Perry pooped in front of GNC our first outing at the mall! Anyway, if you fail, you get another chance. Basically they want to see that you can handle your dog to keep them safe and the people around you safe. I don’t think we will have too much of a problem, but I’m still a little nervous. Wish us luck!

Perry's first bath....with us at least

Perry’s first bath….with us at least

Emma, Ally, and Chloe.....getting so big

Emma, Ally, and Chloe…..getting so big

This was a lot more interesting than eating breakfast

This was a lot more interesting than eating breakfast

Ally is really loving Periwinkle

Ally is really loving Periwinkle

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Training Day 9: Zzzzzzzzz

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Practicing OVER on Ally

Practicing OVER on Ally

Laying with distractions all around

Laying with distractions all around

If I thought I was tired yesterday, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Last night was a looonnnggg one! Emma and Chloe were missing me some and wanted to sleep with me, so we crammed the 3 of us in a hotel queen bed. Those 2 thrashed all night long. I tried to move to the floor….well I may not be ‘old’ but my body says its too old to sleep there anymore. I curled up in a U shape at the foot of the bed but no matter where I was, it wasn’t good enough to sleep. I was up just about all night.

Ally had a seizure at around 6 am. Joe told me to go get Perry because it was the middle of the seizure.  We tried to get her to sniff around Ally but I think there was too much excitement about getting out of the kennel that Perry had a hard time focusing. Today, Jeremy gave us some tips on how to make that more effective in the future. He also believes Perry had alerted us 10 hours prior to it happening!! Ally came to Joe last night and wanted to go to bed and as they walked passed Perry, her head snapped up from a squeaky toy with treats in it. She watched them intently enter the bedroom then got up to follow. She jumped on the bed with Ally, wagging her tail and licked Ally a few times in the face, then laid with her.  Its not a positive, but the trainer feels very confident that that’s what it was. Very exciting!

We did some more outdoor tracking this morning, then back to the training center. We learned a few more tricks. We did ROLL OVER and BANG (this is where you pretend to shoot your dog with a finger gun and they fall to the side like their dead). BANG can also be changed to about any sound or word you want. There is also a SIDE command that makes them lay the exact same way.

After that we worked on more obedience, this time off the leash. The dogs did SIT and DOWN, then to my surprise would HEEL without a leash on!! I thought that was really cool.

Just about time for dinner. This hotel is pretty awesome! I’ll write a separate post on that and tips for future families. For now, its dinnertime and then early to bed!

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Training Day 8: Building Confidence and Bonds

 

I was ready for a nap before lunchtime. This was the first time we did tracking and Perry had trouble. Don’t get me wrong, she did absolutely awesome, but there were several distractions. She had to pass up fresh cut grass, other dog poop, and a dog walking by.  The trainer said this was like finding a vanilla candle in a shop of all chocolate. Its possible, but she has to work that much harder. Perry just amazes me every time we go out. I may be a little biased, but she’s my favorite in class! 🙂 LOL

We heard about 4 Paws building they have been fundraising for. They are going to add on an extra 14,000 sq. ft. for dog housing, a vet operating room to do their own spaying and neutering, a training facility that can be utilized even when class is in session, etc. Right now they can place 100 dogs a year. This new building will help them increase that. The trainers cannot right now train dogs while class is in. The new building will allow for a classroom and a training room. Class occupies 4 months out of the year! That’s a lot of training time lost! There’s a lot more to it. So if you can, go to their website and donate to their building funds!! These dogs are so amazing and 4 Paws is a one of a kind place! No other service dog agency can compare…..we looked.

After lunch, we headed to the mall and did 3 inside tracks. Its quite different than outdoor tracking. The head snaps are smaller and I thought it was harder to read her. I know this will get better as we get to know each other more.  Once we completed our tracks, we headed down to the food court and did a little obedience training. Got some tips on heeling and walking the stairs. Other than that, we did pretty well.

Tonight (I wish I had gotten a picture) Joe went to lay Ally down for bed and as they walked passed Perry, her head snapped up to watch. Then she jumped up immediately and followed into the bedroom, jumped on the bed and started nuzzling Ally!! She laid with her for a little bit. It was so sweet!!

I was so tired today that I came back to the hotel and laid in bed for an hour. Perry laid with me. J Only a couple days left. I’m feeling pretty good about it. Smiling towards the future…..and getting home to my own bed!! 😛

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Training Day 7: Grooming and more

 

They days are feeling longer. Feeling like we are starting to hit information overload.

We did another outdoor track, this time across pavement and cement.  I walked away with Ally and Joe tracked us with Perry. She struggled over one area that another kid from our group had sat in for quite a while.  Time will resolve this. The only reason it was a struggle is because the dogs are trying to memorize their kid’s scent. Once they do this, it will be almost impossible for the dogs not to find their kids.

This afternoon we talked about grooming and appropriate and not appropriate toys. Found out I’ll need a third brush (or rather, rake) for Perry. I’d really like to bathe and groom her but I need to wait till her hot spot is fully healed, which stinks because she rolled in mud today! At least the slicker brush took out most of it.

Inappropriate toys include rawhides, anything small enough to swallow, anything made from real animals such as pig ears, and no real animal bones. Rawhides are leather and when a dog can’t find their rawhide bone, they will try to find something else with the same scent, including, belts, shoes, or furniture. To the dog, leather smells like leather, no matter what is shaped like.  Also, rawhide is NOT digestible. Real animal products can encourage some natural instincts that we would really not have. Not that the trainers think our dogs would do this because of all the training that goes into them and how much they’ve been worked with, but it’s better to never tempt fate. Real bones splinter easy, some more than others. Chicken bones especially splinter easy and this can cause a major problem for the dogs intestines….if it hasn’t caused a problem before then.

I’ve been getting tired pretty fast in the evenings. Its hard to come back to the hotel, get dinner, let the children get their exercise, walk the dog and practice commands with the dog. We decided not to track tonight, pretty much because we forgot to do it back from swimming and then Ally fell asleep.  We did practice NUZZLE which is an active behavior disruption. If the child is crying, the dog will go nose her like saying ‘Hey, forget about that and pay attention to me!’. This command can be customized to any behavior we don’t want the kid doing. Like for Ally, her teeth grinding and hand flapping.  I also worked on OVER, a command that sends Perry sort of laying over whatever I point at. Ally sat with her legs straight out and I had Perry lay with her front paws and head over her legs. Ally seemed to maybe like it but not for too long. Its supposed to help provide the her with deep pressure some kids really seek out.

I think Perry is starting to bond with Ally. I took her out tonight to go potty and when we came back up and I let her be FREE, I found her next to Ally in the bed! She has also gone and sat or laid by her several times. She is not always doing this when everyone is around but I’m hoping when we go home and the novelty dies down, this will increase and create a strong bond between the two. Ally is definitely seeking Perry out. She calls for her and if I ask her where Perry is, she scans the area looking for her. She even says ‘my Perry’.

Off to bed. We are going to the mall tomorrow and practicing tracking indoors. Till then…..Goodnight!

 

The OVER command

The OVER command

Practicing tethering

Practicing tethering

Where Perry chooses to lay on her own

Where Perry chooses to lay on her own

Emma enjoying Perry

Emma enjoying Perry

Chloe with Perry

Chloe with Perry

Love the 'hug', but wish Ally's face wasn't blurry. She doesn't sit still! LOL

Love the ‘hug’, but wish Ally’s face wasn’t blurry. She doesn’t sit still! LOL

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Training Day 6: Tethering

Today was a lot more laid back for me. Perry actually got bored in class and started throwing her nylabone around. Ha!

We did our track again this morning. This time I took Ally and walked off to hide in some bushes. While we were sitting there, Ally stars calling ‘Perry. Perry. Uh, Oh. Perry’ like she was trying to say I know I’m supposed to be ‘lost’ come find me. So cute! Periwinkle tracked us down no problem again. I think she knows who she is looking for.

Second half of class, we started some tethering. That was funny watching the dogs in a DOWN and being dragged around by other adults. We don’t want to start with the kids till the dogs are used to knew handlers controlling this and the handlers feel it’s a comfortable thing for the child and dog. I really see this being VERY useful! I can’t wait to use it! There is a short leash for Ally to hold that can make her feel like she is walking the dog. However, I don’t think she will hold it for now. I think Chloe might like it though and it will help keep her close by.

Then we sat on the floor with our dogs and told them LAP. The dogs laid their heads across our legs (because that is where we pointed) and just laid there. It’s a calming behavior disruption. It’s something very comfortable for both kids and dogs. We sat and petted the dogs and the whole room calmed down. I could have sat there like that all day.

Next, was KISSES.  This is exactly what it sounds like. Not all the dogs were trained to give kisses, but it’s a pretty easy thing to teach them. So the trainer showed us in case we would like our dogs to do this.

So, today we took Perry to lunch with us. Two people asked to pet Perry and I said yes. The funny thing is both of the people stood more than arm’s length away and tried to call her to them. Perry did start to move for the first person, I corrected her and told the man he was gonna have to come to her if he wanted to pet her. He was really close to lying across the floor on his belly!! Why he didn’t just take one step closer is beyond me. People surprise me. Other than that one correction, Perry did everything perfect!

Then we took her to Meijer. I guess there were lots of people that stared at us, but I didn’t pay attention. I don’t care if people like or not like Perry in public. I never cared what they thought when my kids acted up or Ally’s weird mannerisms, so why start now. If they don’t like it, they can keep walking. I worked way too hard to provide this for my daughter and I will not allow someone to unload their opinion without a piece of mine. Anyway, Perry did really well, and I thought I did too.

Tomorrow is about grooming. Good, because she needs a brushing!!

Emma swimming Ally around

Emma swimming Ally around

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Me practicing LAP command

Me practicing LAP command

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Joe dragging Chex, a Bloodhound/Lab around during tethering practice

Joe dragging Chex, a Bloodhound/Lab around during tethering practice

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Training Day 5: First Public Outing

 

Today I woke up feeling the mental exhaustion starting. It’s the first day I’ve felt like I didn’t want to get up. I know this is only the beginning. We aren’t quite half way thru our Doggie 101 course yet.

We started with a track again this morning. The tracks are getting a little longer each time. Today, we didn’t let Perry watch Ally leave as long as we have been letting her. Also, about a quarter of the way thru the track, the trainer Jessa handed me the Flexi and I got to ‘control’ the leash. Control is a very loose word here. Really it’s a way for me to keep her from running her full 25 miles per hour which I definitely can’t keep up with. It went really well and Jessa was happy with both Perry’s searching and my handling. Good!

Then we headed back to 4 Paws for a brief discussion on how our nights went. We were shown another command, UNDER. This is for the dogs to lay under a table when out to eat or under something table like to keep them out of the way. I was worried about how Ally throws so much food down, but I guess if it is thrown pretty directly at the dog, it will be used to help them bond. If its thrown far enough away that the Perry would have to crawl or move her paws, then its off limits.

Next, was what to expect at our first outing. Yep, we went to the mall today for the first time with our dogs as a group. A few trainers went along to walk with each of us individually to make sure we felt comfortable handling them there. Perry did better than I had expected. We had been having a little trouble with breaking command with distractions and I thought the mall would be worse. Much to my surprise, Perry was better! She laid in a DOWN for 1 ½ hours with only 1 correction!! Kids and adults were petting her and she still held it. Starting think maybe we do work ok together. 🙂

When it was our turn to be observed by the trainer, we struggled with the HEEL command. Nothing to be surprised about because apparently it is one of the hardest commands to master. So we practiced this for quite awhile until we started getting it down. As we walked by GNC, Perry decides that she has to go potty……SHE POOPED! Yep, right there on the floor in the middle of the mall. Thanks, Perry. At least I got that experience out of the way.

We tried another track tonight at the hotel. This time in a completely different hallway we have never walked down. Perry is so awesome she found us in a matter of seconds! I

Ally is showing some real bonding towards Perry. She seeks her out and today she laid down on her, told her I love you, and when they are near each other told me Happy! Not sure how Perry feels about her but she has done excellent about not getting upset with Ally grabbing her (which we always redirect and tell Perry what a good girl she was). One of my fears was Ally would lose interest but it is doing the opposite!

Perry has a skin rash/infection called a hot spot. So she is on antibiotics. Nothing serious but we need to keep it dry and keep her from chewing on it. This is something I’ve never heard of before. None of our previous dogs have ever had it or at least not that we knew of. With first round of meds though she doesn’t even look at it anymore.

We’ll see what morning brings. Its hard to sleep in the hotel. Partly its not my bed, and part my mind has too much on it. There is so much more than any of us thought there would be to all this.

Ally with the morning giggles

Ally with the morning giggles

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