My Service Dog, Jade

Monday, August 4, 2014

Taking A Much Needed Break

Catching Up

It's been quite some time since I've been to my blog to discuss Service Dog stuff, and I've missed it.  There's just been a lot going on lately, and a break was much needed. I think it's done all of us some good. 

I realize these photos are little outdated, and I do have some newer ones. I just need to get them uploaded to the Mac.  Vinny's grown up so much and he's accomplished much as well. Although we're currently taking a break from training classes, Vinny has accomplished earning his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate, which as I've stated before,must be accomplished before moving on to Assistance Classes, where the dog begins learning its assistance tasks.



Vinny is definitely ahead of the game!

Vinny already knows and continues to practice his assistance tasks, which he does very well. I'm very proud of him. After all, he's not even two years old yet. He's very smart, and learns very quickly. Vinny and I have built quite a bond together now, and it's not easy to do without sometimes feeling badly about having to leave Jade out.  That doesn't mean when we go out to walk, or exercise, but when Vinny and I are working together, it just can't be helped. I doubt Jade understands any of this, although I do want to give her credit for being so smart, she's still a dog. I'm not sure she understands exactly what's going on, but I do know for certain that dogs have feelings.  They do feel jealousy, I can attest to that! 

When I'm working with Vinny on his tasks, or just basic obedience (which Vinny seems to have more trouble with), Jade is obviously wanting to get in on the action. She'll jump in and do what I tell Vinny to do, in hopes of a few treats and some love. It's when I take Vinny out to work, or to practice some tasks in public, that's when I see it on Jade's face….the "Why aren't you taking me?" look. OUCH!   Like I said, I don't know if dogs reason like that, all I know is that I do, and that's the look I see on Jade's face,  when I walk out the door with Vinny. 

There really is a lot to catch up on, and there's no way I'll get to it all at once.
It's gonna take some time, so please be patient. 



 I would like to mention some things about the comments I've received on the blog, since I've been on a break.  

I have gotten a lot of comments about my discussions of pit bull type dogs and their use as Service Dogs. What I've found, mostly, from reading through the comments, is that most of those who disagree with my position, are, for the most part, extremely vulgar, and very rude.  I don't know why that is, but I can guess. 

It's okay, I think, to disagree on someone's position, where they stand on an issue, but it can be done with dignity. 

Nevertheless, there are other places to do research on the facts about pit bull type dogs….This blog is not the only source of information. 



In fact, I would encourage you ALL to do some research on the FACTS about pit bull type dogs….the FACTS CANNOT BE DISPUTED.  There's no arguing with the FACTS. 
But tonight, I stay off that topic and have attempted to at least catch up some from where I'd left off, in regards to Vinny's training. Because really, this blog is about service dogs…..it's not meant to be a place for the fans of fighting breed dogs to come to bash anyone, or to be vulgar, rude and disrespectful. 
I could post some of the comments I received as "feedback" but I won't bother the time. 




So in catching up with where the blog left off about Vinny's training, and those topics which surround it. I think I'll dedicate the next entry to "Feelings."
Not the feelings we have toward and about our dogs, but the feelings they have toward and about us. 

If you have some feedback on the topic of "Feelings," I encourage you to please share with comments.  I hope to be able to publish them this time. 


A Service Dog is a dog that can and does perform certain tasks in order to assist its disabled handler. 


Please feel free to provide as much feedback as you wish, but be nice. 










Jade

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some VERY needed information!

This is for those who think pit bull type dogs are, in any way, safe, or make good companion or service dogs.....


READ ABOUT ALL THE ATTACKS, MAULINGS, MAIMINGS AND MURDERS OF CHILDREN ESPECIALLY, BY THESE TYPES OF DOGS, EVERY SINGLE DAY!

https://www.facebook.com/Walkforvictimsofpbodd


SEE THE FACES OF JUST A FEW OF THE VICTIMS!  (Since this video was created, there have been many, many more maulings and deaths!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=924-e6o6zQc


HEAR FROM SOME OF THE VICTIMS THAT HAVE EXPERIENCED THE TERROR OF ONE OF THESE PIT BULL ATTACKS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVyUTvXdl9o


IT'S CLEAR THAT PIT BULL OWNERS AND DEFENDERS DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE INJURED, AND THE DEAD, WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN FOREVER CHANGED, OR LOST, BY THESE VICIOUS, FIGHTING BREED DOGS! 

IF THEY CARED, THEY'D START TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT....INSTEAD OF SIMPLY TRYING TO CHANGE THE IMAGE OF THE PIT BULL AND STOP ATTACKING THOSE OF US WHO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THESE DOGS, AND WHO CONTINUE TO INFORM THE PUBLIC OF ALL THE BRUTAL AND VICIOUS ATTACKS!


PIT BULL TYPE DOGS ARE ALSO THE MOST ABUSED TYPE OF DOG AS I SEE IT.  BUT THE PIT ADVOCATES DON'T TRY TO CHANGE THAT EITHER....IT'S ONLY THE IMAGE OF THE PIT BULL DOGS THAT MATTERS TO THEM.  SO THEY GO ON PERSONALLY ATTACKING THOSE OF US WHO DO CARE AND THEY GO ON BLAMING AND ACCUSING THE VICTIMS...EVEN WHEN THE VICTIM IS ONE OF THEM.  THEY EVEN ACCUSED DARLA NAPORA (PIT BULL RESCUE ANGEL) OF ABUSING HER PIT BULL, AS IF THAT MUST HAVE BEEN THE REASON IT MAULED HER, AND HER UNBORN BABY TO DEATH! NO, IT MAULED HER AND HER UNBORN BABY TO DEATH BECAUSE IT WAS A PIT BULL TYPE DOG, AND THAT'S WHAT PIT BULL TYPE DOGS DO!  MAUL AND KILL!!!!  AND....THEY DO IT BETTER THAN ANY OTHER TYPE OF DOG!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vinny!

Well, my little boy, Vinny, isn't so little anymore! He's 60 lbs now, and still gorgeous, even more so!  We've been attending training classes, but these are classes that teach basic good doggie manners, and they were more for getting Vinny started in class, socializing him, getting him used to being around other dogs, and people, etc.  So that's all we've been doing so far; that and training at home. '

Vinny will begin official CGC (Canine Good Citizen) classes next month (April), right after his temperament assessment this Thursday.  This assessment will essentially determine if Vinny has the "right stuff," so to speak, to become a Service Dog, my Service Dog. I am certain he's gonna do just fine!  The assessment is thorough and extremely helpful and includes a statement from my Physician to prove that I am indeed disabled, and will benefit from the use of a Service Dog, and a statement from my Veterinarian, which shows that Vinny is fully vaccinated, neutered/spayed, and is in good physical health/condition so that he can perform his duties as my Service Dog. I was also required to fill out some paperwork of my own, stating how I would like Vinny to help me with my daily activities (i.e. dressing, undressing, picking things up for me, bracing, etc)....basically the paperwork asks me what kind of TASKS I would like Vinny to learn how to perform for me. Other questions on the paperwork ask about pertinent information regarding training classes, special needs, etc. THIS is particularly WHY I THINK IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR A SERVICE DOG TO BE PROPERLY TRAINED BY A PROFESSIONAL TRAINER OR ORGANIZATION.  Yes, as the law is currently written, it's ok for anyone to train their own service dog (although the dog must pass the PUBLIC ACCESS TEST, which is given by a trained PROFESSIONAL!) However, when people choose to train their own dog, most, if not all of this preparation for training is not completed, which means there are service dogs out there that aren't even fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered, assessed for appropriate temperament, etc.  Yea, scary, isn't it?! This is why I believe the laws surrounding the use of Service Dogs need some serious rewriting!  

As of right now, Vinny has learned quite a bit, and I'm very proud of him! Yes, he's well into that crazy puppy adolescent stage, where his mind is just full of chaos, he's full of energy and doesn't know what he wants to get into from one minute to the next!  :)  He's a lot of fun, a serious handful! Sometimes, just knowing that he WILL outgrow this stage is what keeps me going. If you've ever had a Labrador puppy, you know exactly what I'm talking about.....if you haven't, you're definitely missing out!  Someone said to me that Jade had spoiled me when it comes to raising puppies, because she was just so easy, mellow and relaxed, even as a pup.  Sure she got into a few things, but she was so easy that I remember asking the Vet what was wrong with her! Hahaha!!!!  Vinny is the exact opposite!  Sometimes I find myself telling him, "Boy, you're lucky you're so damn cute!" I guess that's why God made puppies cute....so you don't hurt them when they're in this crazy stage! Hahahah! 

Well, when he's not getting into things and he's had a nice long run, he's the sweetest, most loving, most adorable puppy ever! This dog is so full of love and so ready to give his all! He's pretty amazing! I am truly AMAZED at all he's learned so far!  He's learned so much already from Jade. I kind of thought that Jade might help me in getting Vinny trained, and she's doing a wonderful job!  She also helps keep him calm and she teaches him good doggie manners too. Vinny's already learned how to pick things up off the floor and give them to me, only he hasn't figured out that he can still do it if there are no cookies involved.  :)  Vinny is completely and totally motivated by food! But that's good because he'll be easy to train this way.  So, yes, he knows that basics: sit, down, stay, and leave it (his "leave it" is selective). He knows, "in your crate" and "in your bed," and he picks things up off the floor and gives them to me, as I stated earlier.  He's also learned how to help with the laundry! Not totally, but he's got a darn good start! He'll pick up clothes from the laundry room floor and hand them to me to put in the washer, although he doesn't last long due to his short attention  span, but we'll excuse that for now since he's only 6 months old. :)  He will also pull clothes out of the dryer for me and hand them to me to fold, but again he doesn't last long.  In case some readers don't know, puppies have short attention spans....they start out great, but are very easily distracted.  They are distracted by noises, smells, sights, etc, and lose focus easily.  Vinny does NOT get corrected for this, because he can't help it. He's still a baby.  So when he loses focus, Jade takes over and finishes the job.  It's pretty amazing that he's learned all of this just from watching Jade.  Vinny's always right there when Jade is doing tasks for me, and he picks it up quick!  He'll bring me things just out of blue, hoping to get a  treat.  Sometimes he brings me weird things, like something he's dug out of the trash (bad boy), but because he brings it to me, he still gets a treat!  There are times when I'll be just sitting here watching t.v. or writing/reading, when he'll just bring me my cane, with a smiling face and a wagging tail.  I always say "oh thank you, Vinny! Good boy!" and give him a cookie.  After all, this is one of the tasks he's supposed to be learning!   

So that is where we are as of right now.  As I've said, this week, Thursday, he will have his assessment, by professionals to determine if Vinny has what it takes to become my Service Dog, and the assessment will also determine what stage of training we will pursue first. There are so many classes, and they each build on one another.  We may start at the very beginning, but we may not. As I've said, Vinny does know the basics, so we may start in the CGC 2 class, instead of starting at the very bottom. Either way is fine with me.  When Jade started, we started in CGC 3 class.  Jade only needed the last step of CGC training, and to take the exam, and she was then ready to go straight into Service Dog training classes.  We'll see where Vinny lands on Thursday.  

I'm excited and ready to start the journey again with Vinny.  NO, I haven't lost sight of my Jade! As I'm always telling her, she's still my number 1  girl!  

Vinny and Jade

Beautiful Boy, Vinny!

Enjoying a sun bath

Big boy likes to carry his toys around!

That "sit" is not very dignified, Vinny!  Haha! :)





















Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vinny at 8 weeks. 
Our little boy, Vinny



New Addition! 

This is the new addition to my household! His name is Vinny, and he too will be a Service Dog; and a darn good one!

If you're interested, and you're not one of the wicked and nasty people, who leave vile comments for me on my blog, please feel free to follow along in our training and conditioning in getting Vinny ready for his work as my Service Dog. 

I acquired Vinny from a reputable breeder in town when he was 11 weeks old.  We picked him out of a wonderful litter when he was but 8 weeks, but we chose to leave him with his mother and siblings for another 3 weeks in order to learn some very important lessons about relationships with other dogs, etc.

Vinny is a Silver Labrador Retriever. Many people I've talked to say they've never heard of a Silver Lab, but the color, Silver, is merely a derivative of the color Chocolate.  Silver Labs are currently registered with the AKC as Chocolate Labs, (as is Vinny) as they are simply missing a bit of the Chocolate colored genes. You've seen Yellow Labs that aren't really yellow, but a mere cream color, almost white....same thing with Silver Labs.  They're just a very light Chocolate color. I find Vinny's color very distinguished and beautiful! 

Vinny is currently about 18-19 weeks, about 4 and 1/2 months old. I've already begun some simple training with him, starting with the basics, such as sit, down, stay, leave it, drop it, and wait.  He watches Jade, my 5 year old, Yellow Lab Service Dog, like a Hawk, and picks up a lot of the things she does. I can see Vinny is very smart and will be a wonderful Service Dog!

We will begin classes in April with a local organization to get Vinny started with appropriate socialization and to get his CGC (Canine Good Citizen Certificate) as all dogs must do, that are going to be Certified Service Dogs. 

So feel free to come along for the ride, as I will be talking about our training here in my blog as we move forward....all the way up to Vinny's Certification as a Service Dog! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog! Please feel free to leave comments, but please be civil, even if you disagree with me.  Thanks! 


Some photos to enjoy below!



Vinny enjoying his toys!

Vinny and my Service Dog, Jade- They truly love each other!

Enjoying a snow day!



Imagine you are blind, out walking with your dog - to the bus stop, to work, to the grocery store, to visit a friend, or just to get some exercise - and a dog starts barking nearby.  Your guide dog picks up the pace, pulling you faster. You have no clue if the dog is leashed, if the dog is friendly, if the dog is about to attack you or your service dog. You can't see. Your heart races. Are you going to be bitten?  Is your guide dog going to be killed?
Imagine you are hearing impaired, and out with your service dog when your dog gives a "Danger!" signal, and you turn around to see an unleashed dog preparing to leap on you or your service dog. You don't know if the dog is friendly, all you see are giant paws and teeth coming straight at you.
Imagine you have balance issues and you are out walking with your service dog, and another dog bounds up and jumps on your dog, knocking him aside, and knocking you down.  As your dog struggles to reach you to help you, the other dog keeps jumping on you and your service dog, and then someone comes up laughing about how "playful" and "friendly" their dog is.  You are bruised, shaken, maybe you have a broken bone, and your service dog is being kept from aiding you by the laughing person and the "playful" dog.
Imagine you are in a wheelchair, and you have a service dog that pulls you and fetches things for you, opens doors, turns on lights, and helps you balance as you wheel up and down ramps and curb cutouts (some of which are distressingly scary). You're on your way up one of those scary narrow ramps when someone walking their "friendly" pet dog on a leash comes up and insists on letting the dogs "greet" one another, and the "friendly" dog pushes your service dog hard enough to pull your wheelchair off kilter on the ramp and you tip over.
These scenarios and similar ones play out all across the US every day.
At least 75% of the people assisted by service dogs have experienced at least one attack on their service dog by another dog. More than half of those attacking dogs were off leash, and many were unsupervised, just roaming the neighborhood.  An attack is where the dog or the human partner are injured by the encounter (bruises, scrapes, broken bones, slobber from bites that don't break the skin, bites that draw blood, or the service dog later dies of the injury). The pet dogs that were leashed and attacked a service dog did so with the pet dog's owner unable or unwilling to control their dog.
Half of those teams who were attacked by a pet dog experienced more than one attack.
Nearly 85% of the people assisted by a service dog had suffered interference by an aggressive dog - a dog the owner usually claimed was "friendly" or "playful". Interference is where no one is injured, but the service dog team is terrorized, delayed, or even had to abort their activity. More than 80% of these attacks and interferences happen on a public right-of-way, and more than 90% of them happen in areas with clearly posted leash laws - sidewalks, parks, bus stops. Nearly 70% of these were attacks by dogs that were off leash. Many of these off leash dogs were running loose in the neighborhood because the owner let them out to "get exercise" or to "play" with other dogs. The leashed dogs that interfered with the routines of a service dog team frequently did so with the pet owner's encouragement ("Awww, look, they're greeting one another! I think my dog likes your dog.  They should be friends!").  The rest did so with the pet dog's owner unable or unwilling to control their dog.
What can you do?
When you are walking your pet dog, make sure your dog is on a leash strong enough to hold the dog.  If you can't prevent your dog from sniffing at or leaping on the service dog, cross the street to keep your dog from going up to and interfering in a service team.  Or duck into a doorway, or do something so you and your dog get out of the way of the service team. If your dog is truly well trained, tell your dog to sit/stay until the service team is past.
Yes, it inconveniences you, but your dog is a pet; their dog is their partner. Interference with them could compromise their well-being. They know you're there, and will move over themselves to give you more space.  But if your dog can't keep to their own space, keep from sniffing, blocking, jumping on the service dog or the handler - it's up to you to get your dog away from the service team.
When you are outside of your property with your pet dog, in public areas like public right-of-ways, parks, bus stops, streets, the verges between houses, public areas in neighborhoods,keep your dog leashed and under control.
Do not let your pet dog roam the neighborhood unsupervised and off-leash. A fenced back yard is ideal, but barring that, give your pet dog frequent walks on a leash. Make sure your home and fenced yard is escape proof.
Don't stake your pet dog out in the front yard, where it is frustrated by all the people, children, and animals (including pets being walked on a leash or service teams) passing by - stakes pull up or leashes/collars break. A staked dog is an accident just waiting to happen.
A dog jumping up on other people, leaping on other dogs, barking at other dogs, running up to other dogs, is not "friendly". Not "playful". A dog off leash is not under control.  Even the best behaved dog has off moments. It just takes 30 seconds to destroy a service dog's career. 30 seconds of a dog breaking training, being a dog.
Help reduce the number of service dog teams that have been interfered with, intimidated, or attacked by pet dogs.  Help the people who need service dogs get about their lives without fear for themselves and their canine partners.
All it takes are two little things: a leash and keeping control of your pet dog.
The sequel is here:  Not Your Dog, Not a Pet

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO NODDY AND ITZL ON TUE JAN 08, 2013 AT 07:56 AM PST.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY KOSABILITY.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

I've gotten A LOT of comments on this blog and it's quite obvious that many, many people have NO idea what they're talking about when it comes to dogs.  Those MANY people desperately need to be educated about dogs, in all different arenas.  

Please get and read this book! I do believe there is also a web version available.  Get this book and get educated about dogs, please! 
The comments I receive on this blog show ignorance beyond belief when it comes to this subject, and in fact, I'm embarrassed for these people. Read this book! and many others for that matter!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A little late but: In Honor Of Veterans' Day

http://www.va.gov/health/ServiceandGuideDogs.asp

It's important to remember our Nation's heroes on Veterans' Day, and sometimes our Nation's heroes are those furry, four -legged kind. 



Gabe, the yellow Lab is one of these heroes!

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Oct. 11, 2012) -- Gabe, a retired military dog who completed morethan 200 combat missions in Iraq, was named American Hero Dog of 2012 last weekend at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Los Angeles.

The retired military dog spent several years sniffing out insurgent bombs, guns and ammunition in Iraq with his handler, Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Shuck, a drill sergeant leader at Fort Jackson's Drill Sergeant School. 
"Winning the award was an amazing feeling because I knew that many Soldiers were going to benefit from the $15,000 we just won," Shuck said. "Looking out at the crowd, who gave Gabe a standing ovation, was also amazing. Seeing Betty White and many other celebrities honor Gabe was a moment I will never forget. Having the support of Fort Jackson and Gabe fans in all 50 states and 22 countries was the key to victory. Every vote counted and we surely appreciate it."

Gabe won $5,000 for his charity in the previous round of competition, and another $10,000 from last weekend's win. When the contest began earlier in the year, there were 359 dogs competing in eight categories, including therapy dogs, law enforcement dogs, emerging hero dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, military dogs and search and rescue dogs.

The pool of contestants was eventually whittled down to eight finalists, who appeared at last weekend's awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. 

Gabe's charity is the United States War Dogs Association, which provides care packages for deployed Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and their K-9 partners. These packages include ear muffs and dog booties for the paws of the dogs. They also help with the expenses of military working dog adoptions. 

The winner was selected by a panel that included Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Chenoweth and the handlers and owners of last year's eight finalists. The seven runners-up each won $5,000 for a designated charity.

The ceremony, hosted by Chenoweth, will be broadcast Nov. 8, on Hallmark Channel.

"We will be visiting all the Fort Jackson schools in November and December with Gabe's medals and trophy so the kids can get some pictures with him," Shuck said.



Watch This Video: Veteran Hero Dogs


http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/video/hero-dogs-honored-for-veterans-day/1267453873001













Another Hero Dog


On her 14th birthday, Shanna Wilkinson of Magna receives a Shetland Sheepdog puppy. She names the dog Holly, and plans to train the animal for agility competitions and sheepherding.
Several years pass. Shanna starts suffering seizures, a very scary proposition because the seizures can floor Shanna without warning. But even before doctors deliver the official diagnosis of epilepsy, Holly the Sheltie sheepdog somewhat miraculously develops the ability to alert Shanna roughly five minutes before an oncoming seizure hits.
Fast-forward to 2012: the inseparable pair of Holly and Shanna sits poolside at the glitzy Beverly Hills Hilton for Holly’s 12th birthday party. Several of the people in attendance also bring their dogs to the special celebration, replete with a cake the hotel chef specially crafted to be safe for both human and canine consumption.
Holly’s birthday hubbub occurred last month in conjunction with the Second Annual Hero Dog Awards, a star-studded gala that brought Holly and seven other “hero dogs” to Hollywood. Taped before a live audience on Oct. 6, the 2012 Hero Dog Awards premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.
Owing to her uncanny ability to sense Shanna’s seizures ahead of time, Holly was the show’s resident service dog. The event also recognized seven other categories of dogs: therapy, military, law enforcement, hearing, guide, search-and-rescue and emerging hero.
“It was really neat to be able to honor Holly, because she is an older service dog that has done so much for me,” Wilkinson said. “I enjoyed sharing with the world the amazing things that Holly has accomplished in her 12 years.”
During their “normal lives” in Utah, Shanna and Holly regularly visit schools to teach students about the importance of service dogs.
“Service dogs are life-changing friends,” Wilkinson said. “They’re always there, and they’re able to do things that a human caretaker is not able to do. They’re security; they’re a constant support in the person’s life that needs them. It’s amazing how they always know exactly what their (master) needs, and are able to accommodate that. …
“Holly is beyond smart. She knows things before I know them. It would be so interesting to be able to get inside her head, because she figures things out so quickly. It’s so interesting to watch her learn and think; she’s such an independent thinker, and she knows how to problem-solve. She knows what needs to be done, and she knows how to do it.”
Actress Kristin Chenoweth hosted the Hero Dog Awards. The 90-minute broadcast includes musical guest Jewel and celebrity presenters Betty White, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Naomi Judd, Whoopi Goldberg and Pauley Perrette — the actress best known for her turn as a forensic specialist in the CBS drama “NCIS.”
“The whole experience was memorable, something I’ll want to remember forever — but I think my favorite part was meeting Pauley Perrette,” Wilkinson confessed. “She’s one of my favorite actresses.”