Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sit... No... Sit... Good Sit.

Today we worked a lot on commands.  Or more, how I say commands.  I need to work on being more forceful when I give commands to Owen to make sure I have his attention and I'm not sitting there saying the same thing a few times before I choose to get forceful.  I just did basic obedience commands with Owen today: sit, down, stand, stay, wait, okay, let's go, heel.

I had to get "treats" (really just his kibble) out to get his attention on me initially, but once he was paying attention to me we put them away because he became very distracted (even now he is still licking at my pocket where I stashed his food).  He did all his commands for me, and even did a down-stay while Darcie walked around trying to distract him.  He stayed down while she knocked on the door, left the apartment and came back, played with kitty-cat toys, and rustled the food bag.  He broke his down stay when she started playing with Toby though.  Whoops!  She showed me how to do the appropriate correction and after that he stayed for me the whole time.

Darcie also worked with Owen on some of his tasks and also teaching him the difference between "go to your bed" and "go to your place" now that we have both a bed and his mat for going out places (it's an orthopedic bath mat).  After we did some command work, I learned how to put his harness on and off and Darcie showed me how tightly each of the buckles need to be cinched.

We also ordered a lot of things I will need from Amazon (like joint supplements, fish oil, a new collar, etc.) - but don't tell my parents!

After we gave Owen a break (he napped), Darcie and I went out to lunch again.  But... today I was the one handling Owen in the restaurant.  It wasn't flawless, I didn't choke up on the leash enough when we walked in and he thought about visiting with people who were eating and I got a little flustered so Darcie stepped in and corrected him.  It definitely didn't help that the hostess wanted to chat with us and I was trying to be friendly, but all I wanted to say was, "Can't you see I don't know what I'm doing?  Gah!"  But I didn't.

Owen went under the table perfectly and laid down on my foot where he stayed the whole time.  When it was time to leave I took my time making sure his harness was cinched up right (we loosened it so he could lay down comfortably) and that I had a good grasp on his lead before telling him "OK" and "Let's go".  It worked much better and we walked right out with no problems.  I used my over the shoulder leash today, and I really liked it.  It felt really natural and while I will hold onto it like a normal leash, if I need to I can let go before my tics get out of hand and I know Owen will continue to heel like normal.

Team Training is hard work!
Now Owen and I are back at my apartment for some bonding time by ourselves.  Toby and Owen are doing really well together, Toby is right now sleeping on the couch right next to Owen's bed.  Owen is passed out (snoring) on his bed next to me.  I can tell our bond is starting to develop already, he's sleeping with his paws on my leg and comes over to me for kisses a lot.  This morning I met Darcie and Owen back at the same Starbucks that we did yesterday and she said that when they walked in he was more happy than normal because she thinks he thought I would be there.  He was very happy to see me when I walked in, though I managed to sneak up on him before he turned around and saw me!

Earlier, Owen thought he would play with Toby and it was quite comical.  He looks like a total goof when he plays, I will have to try and get a video of it at some point.  Toby wasn't too sure about the goofball lab running around the apartment, but he didn't hide.  He just jumped up on the bed and meowed at Owen for a while.  I'm really relieved to see them getting along so well, hopefully they do eventually play together but for now, I'm happy that they are peaceful together.

Tomorrow we will do some more work with Owen's words and then in the afternoon Darcie and I are going back to school to go do some training in the classrooms on campus so that I know what to do next semester.


  1. Yay service dog shopping. One of my very favorite activities! 75% of my Christmas list was made up of stuff for Ben. If you ever want to spend a lot of money I'll send you my favorite websites (lol). And you handled him in public! That's HUGE!!!

    - Kate and Ben

    1. Unfortunately my whole holiday wish list is made up of one thing: money to replace my computer that I've killed. :)

      He did really good out in public for me, the little stumbles we had were my fault for not being more direct with what I needed him to do. With my kids I work with, I've adopted a quiet voice because then they have to be quiet to hear me - it's a pretty effective classroom management technique. And they know that when I raise my voice up that I mean business. But with Owen, I need to work on being direct the first time I give a command.

      It's funny, I hate hate hate the mall, but I live right by one and we drove past Darcie made a comment like, "Oh good, we'll go there for public access work." As much as I hate the mall, I can't wait to take Owen there and work out in public some more!