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Showing posts from March, 2014

Loose Leash Walking: Week 4

We'd had several great days of warm and dry weather.  The previous weekend I was able to leave the front door open for almost the entire day on Sunday while I cleaned and the dogs had run themselves tired playing in the yard.  It was a day of required cleaning and I felt so much better having it done, even if it meant a physical toll on my body.  I am back to it again this weekend.

I love my Dieter dog, I truly do, but at almost 16 years of age he's lost control of his bladder and is leaving messes in the house.  At the end of the week, with my suddenly sensitive sense of smell, I can smell the urine in the house and need to clean the floors to even feel clean and comfortable in my home.  It's a price I pay to enjoy the final years of my old dog's life and one I paid happily for Attitude when she was constantly peeing in the house due to her health.  Truth is, when Dieter's time comes I'll have the same guilt and relief about not having to worry about pee and …

8 Months: Training - Days 116 - 120

Monday - Friday

I was drained emotionally.  With Malcolm's GoFundMe page being visited, but no donations coming in my personal self worth was dipping with the increasing depression that comes with long term chronic pain and anxiety.  I had lost my focus with both him and Emma for where we were going and knew I needed to keep both in the game, but simply didn't have the energy to deal with training - and my pain levels were at a all time high.
I had taken a hydrocodone to deal with the pain on Sunday night so I could at least sleep.  My pain was so high I was in tears and moaning in bed.  Malcolm, Max and Dieter all tried to comfort me, but I simply needed relief from the over-firing of my nervous system.  It helped some, but I woke realizing I was lost in the training program and needed to take a break for all our sakes.  It is worse to train with no plan than to not train.  Monday was spent recovering from Sunday - which had been spent cleaning the house.
Yes, ALL of Sunday h…

Loose Leash Walking: Week 3

A weather front was moving in and I could feel it deep in my muscles.  I have had several appointments for disability determination and each one they've poked, prodded and pushed me around to see what I can and can't do.  I also had an appointment with my regular neurologist for the first time and again was stressed physically as he tired to solve the problem of what is happening to my body.  I have taken Max, my working service dog, on those appointments because I need a reliable dog during the appointments.  It is such a change to work with Max and have a dog I know can do what I ask of him and not have to monitor every single moment to ensure he learns proper behavior during an appointment.

Its also refreshing to take a young pup like Malcolm out and watch his discovery of the world.  I forgot about the wonders of firsts.  The first doctor's appointment.  The first outdoor class.  The first store.  Each first marks a step closer to completetion and reminds me of the ho…

7 Months: Training - Days 111 - 115

Monday -Friday

If you look on the right sidebar you'll note a new button with Malcolm's picture.  It is a GoFundMe page designed to help raise funds to support Malcolm as he finishes his training.  I have made comments previously that my finances are limited, but haven't really laid out the effects the stress has had on me.  I am experiencing frequent panic attacks, deep depression and constant anxiety because of a fine balancing act on a very thin wire of income.  I have many positives in my life now; I am receiving food stamps to keep myself fed, have medical insurance which is leading to a diagnosis and determination of how far my disability may go and friends and family that have stepped up the best they can to help me.  I am blessed in ways I can't describe with the people in my life.
My home is paid for and my bills are manageable on a proper income, but unfortunately, my income is 250 dollars less than my output for just my bills and that doesn't include fee…

Loose Leash Walking: Week 2

I truly enjoy taking classes with Kim Imel and Travis Byrnes at Diamonds in the Ruff.  I am never disappointed because I always learn something and I feel like I am getting somewhere with my dogs that I take.  I have taken classes with Jack, Emma, Max and Malcolm with both and find each time I am better as a trainer when I finish.  I was not disappointed today.

After talking with Robin during the week about our last class and my observations of Malcolm regarding other dogs, I had come up with a new plan for him and his barking at strange dogs.  A Labrador in the class was Malcolm's worry dog last class, even though he's a sweet and lovely boy who was extremely neutral and dealt with Malcolm's mental meltdown with quiet and calm behavior.  During one of the exercises we were working in "chutes" created by gates to walk our dogs back and forth and teach them to turn and walk back toward us to encourage them to keep a loose lead.  The exercise required walking forw…

7 Months: Training - Days 106 - 110

Monday

With Jack staying with Ronda while she recovers from surgery and my needing to run over to feed her dogs during the early part of her recovery, I decided to start Malcolm's training early and planned to have it done prior to Emma arriving between 8:30 AM and 9:00 AM.  Emma's owner is working at a tax shop and stated her Monday's started a half hour later than the rest of the week, so she would be dropping Emma off later than normal for the tax season.
I had worked a bit with Malcolm on Zen starting with Level 1 Zen and working up to Level 2 Zen.  I had been working Level 2 Zen like the book suggests, but decided to do what Malcolm's new class asked for.  I placed kibble on a chair, stool and the floor and rewarded for his staying away and making eye contact.  He did fantastic with only one successful steal from the stool.  His eye contact is amazing and I am very happy I have worked it into each behavior after he's learned them.  It's made him a lot more…