My Service Dog, Jade

Friday, March 30, 2012

Service/Assistant/Guide Dogs Attacked

Several service/assistant/guide dogs are being attacked by loose dogs, mostly pit bull type, gripping, fighting breed dogs, and this NEEDS TO STOP!!!  It's bad enough that people own these types of dogs at all, but the fact they seem to be the most irresponsible dog owners out there, always letting their grippers run loose, is reeking havoc on most cities nowadays.

I have previously blogged about this on another page, here in this blog, but it seems this topic needs more and constant attention.  There are service dogs out there that are having to be retired early, and even killed by loose, and aggressive dogs, leaving their handlers devastated, and taking away their handlers' independence and freedom. This is just NOT okay.

Yes, as far as the law states now, in many cities, people are able to own their dog of choice (not everywhere though) and if people want to own a vicious breed of dog, that was originally bred for the purpose of fighting and killing, then so be it; but these types of dogs must NOT be allowed to roam the streets injuring people and their dogs.  Mind you, NO dog should be able to roam the streets, loose, becoming a nuisance and even a danger to society, but these fighting breed dogs are causing serious problems, and are impinging on the rights of good citizens to feel and be safe.

The owners of these vicious types of dogs are always screaming out their rights to own these dogs. Fine, then BE RESPONSIBLE! Admit that your dog is capable of killing another dog or person in just a few minutes (sometimes seconds) and do the right thing. Keep them on the sturdiest leash you can find, muzzle it if need be, or just don't take it out in public where it can be a danger to someone.  The owners are always talking about their rights to own these dogs, and that they will fight to the death to keep them from being banned (as they are in several cities, counties and even countries) but if you ask me, they're are precisely the ones that are causing these bans to get enacted, but they just don't realize it. They are causing it because they are over-breeding these dogs to make a buck, and treating them "just like any other dog," which is certainly NOT the case! They are being completely irresponsible and letting these dogs roam the streets, they have inadequate enclosures for them, and they always "somehow" get out and hurt someone. There are millions, yes millions, of these types of dogs filling up shelters all across the country, yet the owners are always talking about how much they LOVE their vicious dogs.  I'm sorry, but if you love your dog, you make it a safe and appropriate enclosure so that it can't get loose and lost, you keep it on a sturdy leash, and you make sure it's not consistently hurting people and dogs, as to give it a "bad reputation" therefore ensuring that your type of dog is not consistently in the news causing law makers to have to take action. Get it?

Disabled people and their service dogs have rights too! Everyone does. The right to own a dog, feel safe, be safe, be independent and free, freedom of speech and the like are not rights that are only reserved for those who wish to own the most vicious and dangerous type of dogs out there! Although it seems that these type of dog owners seem to think so.  Can they stop for one minute to think about the rights of others? Just once???

I wonder if they realize the blood, sweat, tears and money that goes into a disabled person acquiring and training an assistance dog? I wonder if they even care? I think it's a major problem that the owners of these types of fighting breed dogs won't even admit that their dogs are serious potential danger.  They won't admit the facts about their own dog, which I don't understand. I will freely admit that the breed of dog I have is subject to chasing birds, retrieving things, and is subject to certain types of health concerns, such as hip dysplasia, but the owners of gripping type dogs refuse to accept or admit that their dogs are dangerous.  I just don't get it.  They seem to blame everyone else, especially the victims of their dogs, for their dogs' behavior.  I don't understand this way of thinking; it just doesn't make sense.

My trainer often fosters these types of dogs; fighting breed dogs, such as pit bulls (and their cousins) but is willing to accept and admit the truth about them.  She accepts and will tell you that these dogs are a potential danger to people, a lot of people are afraid of them, don't like them, they are prone to violence and prone to attacking other dogs and people too.  She will tell you that these types of dogs have a different body language that is extremely difficult to read, even by other dogs, therefore leading to surprise attacks by these dogs.  She will tell you that these dogs need a special type of training, a special type of enclosure, as they are escape artists, and will tell you that these dogs are NOT for the average dog lover.  They need a special type of care.  I don't see why the owners of these dogs don't admit and accept these facts.  If they would, I'm certain there would be a lot less problems with these dogs.  There wouldn't be so much news coverage on them, and there wouldn't be so many attacks and killings perpetrated by these types of dogs.  "They're just like any other dog," just isn't getting it done!

That's my rant, and after all is said and done, who really cares what I say, or how I feel, but the point is that service/assistant/guide dogs, and others, continue to be attacked, mauled, and/or killed by these types of dogs.  So because the owners refuse to accept the facts, refuse to admit the truth about their gripping dogs, don't cry when the law makers have to take over, or step in to keep the public safe from your fighting breed dogs.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be blind, period; and then to be walking down the street, led by your noble guide dog (which cost you $40,000 to acquire and maintain), feeling a great sense of pride and accomplishment, independence and freedom (which took you almost 10 years to accomplish), when suddenly, some irresponsible gripping dog's owner has let their vicious dog out to come and savage your noble guide dog, ripping apart that independence and freedom you have worked so hard to acquire.  Yes, picture it!  What is a blind person to do in this situation?  I've read that some just let go of their guide dog and offer it the opportunity to defend itself, or scream in terror for help to anyone that might be willing to jump in and save your noble friend.  Service dogs are NOT like any other dog.  They are specially trained, and difficult to acquire and maintain, not to mention expensive.  But why should the owner of a fighting breed dog care about this?

PLEASE KEEP YOUR DOGS ON A LEASH AND THINK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLES' RIGHTS TO BE SAFE AND FREE, AND INDEPENDENT.  PLEASE THINK ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE DISABLED AND TO TRY TO DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST THIS KIND OF ATTACK.

Great Video about Guide Dogs:

http://explore.org/#!/videos/player/guide-dogs-america

Another guide dog attacked in England....

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/guide_dog_attacked_by_another_dog_in_magdalen_street_norwich_1_1333084

http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top_stories/story/Service-dog-attacked-Owner-needs-help-with-needed/xDKYZ4kBo06aa7qHw9_WuA.cspx

http://servicedogsawayoflife.blogspot.com/2011/06/news-service-dog-attacked-on-walk-with.html

PLEASE SEE MY PAGE (IN THIS BLOG) ON "SERVICE DOG DANGERS"














Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jade and the Firemen

So, I was very excited about getting to take Jade to the firehouse to do some training with the firemen there, but wasn't sure how the firemen would respond to this request.  The trainer and I weren't sure how they would respond to our request to assist Jade with her training, or whether they would at all.

So yesterday came the day.  My trainer met Jade and I at the firehouse, station 13, to be precise. It's a very small station, and didn't seem too busy; and it's right down the street from my house! So Jade and I decided since it was such a nice day that we would ride my scooter down there to meet the trainer.  It was a very nice day and the sun was blazing, but I think had we realized  how hot it really was, we would've taken the car.  Whew! I got sunburned.

We met the trainer there in the parking lot and briefly went over how we could present this request to the firemen, excuse me, fire people, inside.  (Women are fire people too). My trainer would introduce us and talk about what we are doing, and we would take it from there.  I have to say we were both pleasantly surprised at how well the firemen/women responded to our request, and felt VERY welcomed!

Before ringing the doorbell to the firehouse, my trainer said, "We better let Jade stay out here with you while I talk to them because she might get fearful at just going right in too quickly.  We don't want her to get over threshold and then she won't respond to training."  Good point! Jade was on the scooter with me (she loves to ride on that thing with me!) and we waiting while the trainer rang the doorbell.

A couple of firemen came to the door and opened it.  The trainer began telling them why we were there.  They nodded their heads, and one of them said, "wow, ok!"  They invited us in, and were so extremely nice and very responsive! We explained that Jade was very fearful of men in uniform and I was very uncomfortable with this because there may come another time that I need help and need the paramedics/firemen/police to respond to my residence, and they won't be able to get passed Jade to help me, due to her fear.  So we want to help Jade get over her fear of people in uniform, specifically men, so that when I need help, I can receive it. As of now, I told them, if I start to spasm and fall, and can't get up, Jade will run to get the phone for me, and come lay next to me until help arrives.  The problem is, that when help arrives, she won't let them get to me.  NO good! We explained that we were from a training organization here in town and also would like them to come to the organization and give a class on how they respond to calls for help, and how they handle dogs at the residence, precisely service dogs.  They were very responsive to that as well.

I was very pleased how they handled Jade.  As soon as we went into the firehouse, Jade became nervous.  She stared at the firemen/women, with her ears up high and her body tense, and started to growl and bark a little bit.  We quickly stopped her by handing my bag of treats to one of the firemen, who took them and tossed Jade a treat.  They asked us, "Would you like us to put on our complete gear or are these uniforms good enough?" We asked them if they could maybe put their helmets on too. They said, "Sure, absolutely," and went to fetch their helmets and some of their gear.  I was so happy! I had to coax Jade off of the scooter, and the fireman tossed treats and Jade came closer to him and got them off the floor.  In seconds, Jade was eating out of the fireman's hand.  The firemen/women were all standing around talking about Jade, and calling her over to smell them, and squatting down so she could smell their helmets. They took Jade around the firehouse and showed her all of their gear and uniforms and boots, and Jade sniffed liked crazy.  She ran happily around the firehouse with them, following the treats, and stopping to sniff different things, then she would circle around and run back to me, making sure I was ok, and then run back to them. She relaxed, her tail started wagging and she had a smile on her face! The firemen/women petted her, and ran with her around the firehouse, they played with her, and she gave them kisses! I was amazed!

This went on for about 25-30 minutes, then one of the firemen said, "She's really doing great now!" We agreed! Then he said, "The tough part is gonna be when we show up at your house for a call, because that's when they get really territorial." We agreed! So then my trainer asked, "We were wondering if one of you, or a few of you would actually be willing to come by her house and practice a little with this, just to get her used to having you respond to a call?" I cringed, thinking there's no way their gonna do that. Then one of them said, "No one's ever asked us that before, but I don't see why not." Wow! The firemen/women looked at each other and said, "Yeah, sure we can come by," and asked where I lived.  They asked for my address and phone number and I happily gave it to them. They said, "Let's make an appointment, we're usually not too busy in the afternoon, at this time...unless we get a call, but it's usually slow." They made an appointment with me, to come by my house next week, same time, and I was ecstatic!!! I couldn't believe how helpful these people were!!!! This is GREAT, I was thinking! My trainer was very pleased. She also asked them about coming to the training organization and doing a brief training there with the trainees and their dogs, letting the dogs get used to their smell and their gear. They thought that was a great idea! I think we started something wonderful!

So we decided on a date and time, and they seemed happy to do this! They took down my address and phone number, and the fireman said, "I have your phone number just in case we do get a call, I will call you and let you know."  I was truly amazed that they were so helpful and willing to come by my house even to help with this.  I asked them if they have a lot of trouble with dogs when they go on a call, and they all nodded.  I think they see this training as a way of helping them too; a way to help them learn how to deal with dogs when responding to a call. One of the firemen explained how they deal with dogs, saying, "Well, some of them are scared and do a lot of barking, but they don't approach us, so we just carry on....others are just plain aggressive and we just put our bags in front of us and go for it....we gotta do our jobs....we sometimes have one of the guys catch the dog and put it in a room or outside....whatever we have to do to help someone.  We sometimes have to save dogs from fires and sometimes they're not easy to save...we have to just throw blankets over them and grab them." While he was talking he was squatted down and giving Jade a scratch on the head and back, and she was loving it! She was sniffing his helmet and giving him kisses!  I was so glad to be having this conversation with the firemen/women!

One of the firemen said, "Let's do some work on you and see how Jade reacts." So they pulled out the blood pressure machine and the pulse machine and started taking my blood pressure and my pulse, with their helmets on.  Jade came over and sniffed their hands while they worked, and she watched me to see if I was okay.  Her ears were up again, but she was fine! She watched, and then the trainer gave her a few treats. The fireman said, "Your pulse is high, take a few deep breaths, and he laughed." I was so happy, that's probably why! We all laughed a little, and the fireman told us about their dog that they have working with them sometimes.  "He's a sniffing dog," they explained.  "He doesn't get food unless he sniffs something out for us." We talked a little more, then suddenly a lady came over the loud speaker and they all started scrambling about.  "We gotta go, got a call, but we'll see you next week at your house!" I put Jade back on the scooter as the large garage door started going up and they jumped in the truck.  They pulled away and the sirens came on.  Jade's ears were up and she watched intently, but she did great!

My trainer and I stayed outside talking a bit about the experience after they left, and we were both SO pleased about how it went! We were very grateful for their willingness to help, and could hardly believe their willingness to come by my house and practice some more training! This was great!!! We talked more about having them come to the class and do some training there.  My trainer will be here as well when the firemen/women come over next week and we'll see how that goes! I'm so excited about this! This is great stuff!

Stupid me! I didn't think to take any photos! I want some photos of Jade with the firemen! I'm so glad I'll have another chance to do that when they come to my house next week.  I hope it works out and they don't get a call they have to go to instead.  I'm hoping that even if they do, they will still be able to come by afterward.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Another thing the firemen told me is that it's a good idea to post a little sign, or sticker on your door, or window stating that there is a Service Dog Inside the house.  The firemen, and police really take heed to those stickers, and if you write that it's a service dog, even though the dog may act frightened or even aggressive, they are MUCH less likely to shoot it. The police sometimes will shoot your dog if they can't get to you and the dog is aggressive and not letting them do their job. We discussed this. So, whether you have a service dog or not, it's a good idea to post something like that where the officers responding to your residence can easily read it. It'll keep you and your animals safer.  It'll also give them a heads up if you have a house fire; they will try to save your animals as well.

I'm really glad to be able to share this on my blog and very grateful for the experience! God bless the firemen/women! Never forget 9/11.  Firemen/women are some of the most courageous, and brave people on this planet!  Also, God bless the dogs that worked those days on 9/11 at that site!

I should have some pictures for you all next week after the firemen/women come by the house.  But for now....

Pretty cool video about the dogs at 9/11

http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/indiana/rescuer-lauds-dogs-work-after-9-11

A Story of the Service Dog, Roselle, who walked her blind handler down the 78 floors of the South Tower on 9/11 right before the building collapsed (photo)
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/09/06/blind-man-his-guide-dog-and-lessons-learned-on-11/



























Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What My Service Dog Means To Me

Grab your kleenex for this Video...you're gonna need it!!!
From Service Dog to Surfer Dog!  ( I had to watch it twice!)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGODurRfVv4




I found this story on another website, which I have posted in my blog on "Helpful Links." I think this story helps people understand what peoples' service dogs mean to them, and the some of the issues they face on a daily basis.  

 

 Borias at 4 weeks          Tam&Borias


Tamandra and Borias - A Match Made in Heaven - submitted by Tamandra


                                                                                                           

Borias is the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's hard to believe it's been seven years since fate brought us together; seven years since I first held this chubby fuzzball in my arms. I had just suffered the unexpected tragedy of losing my doberman to a heart problem, and so decided turn back to the breed I had as a child. A German Shepherd Dog is the ultimate working dog, with beauty and brains in abundance.


I call all of this fateful because of how we were brought together. My order was a tall one. It's no easy task finding a good, quality German Shepherd that's been bred to work, but that also has his 'drive' in check so that he's not too difficult to handle. I was about to give up but then I found that folded piece paper on the floor of my car--the one that had all the breeders names crossed out. All but one. With this one last chance, I left a message saying I was looking for a Service Dog prospect, and hoped for a male. Later on, when the breeder returned my call, she informed me that a couple who worked for the FBI were there doing extensive tests on the litter in hopes of finding a cadaver SAR prospect. There were only two males in the litter, and they had said that this largest male would make a great Service Dog because he was mellow, and took things in stride. This made the breeder glow with pride, since she had long hoped to have a dog of hers do that kind of work). All that meant that Borias and I were meant to be.

And he knew it too. We've been inseparable since the day I was allowed to bring him home. He displayed none of the typical puppy- separation-anxieties like crying for his mom and litter-mates. It was as though he knew he'd just found home. The very next day he went on an outing with me on leash, trotting right beside my wheelchair with no problem. He was such a quick study. I used clicker- training to begin teaching him some of the things he would do for me, but I had no idea, at nine weeks old (and after only a few training sessions), that he would be picking up my dropped keys and wallet! In fact, he got so into excelling at his job, he learned how to unzip my backpack when I wasn't paying attention--- to take out my wallet just so he could give it back to me! (Perfect practice makes perfect, after all!).

On one occasion early in our relationship, I was in a grocery store, and had unknowingly dropped my wallet in the aisle. When I noticed, I said out loud "Oh no! Where's my wallet?" Instantly Borias was headed behind me, pulling on his leash, then suddenly was again in front of me, wallet in his jaws, tail wagging proudly. What a good boy! 

This bond of ours has deepened through the years, which go by so fast. We've shared some incredible times, both recreationally and competitively. He's gotten to hobnob with celebs, been to a U2 concert, watched the Broadway play The Lion King with great interest, and is a regular at the zoo, where he often gets more attention than the other critters! He's the first dog I've ever earned an obedience title with, getting a blue ribbon twice. He passed a therapy dog test with a flawless performance, and can now visit the infirm and have children read to him.
    
Yet despite his eerily human capacity for understanding and our blatant and essential life-connection, we still run into incredibly small minds. Do they have an idea in their head that a dog to assist a person with a disability must look a certain way? I realize that Borias has the stature and presence of a police officer, but we are rarely treated with the respect that an officer gets. Quite often, we're denied access to functions and establishments. It's hurtful, and infuriating all wrapped up inside of a helpless feeling.

Being in a wheelchair comes with some (but not too many!) obstacles. Do I really need to add 'social ignorance' to my list?

I'd love to find a way to open the heart of the world...
That's the way Borias lives his life, with an open heart. He is my
inspiration. My soul-mate. My heart dog.
-Tamandra (http://www.petjoyonline.com/Service-Dog-Stories-s/214.htm)


This story below is a bit long but WELL worth the read.....Enjoy!






Brendan & Spook


Brendan & Spook Show - Service Dog or Super Dog? Both! -submitted by Cheryl
My son Brendan will be 7 Dec, 17 2008, he has had severe Epilepsy since he was 2 mon old. Brendan has 6 different types of seizures, & has Mild Autism. Brendan was having over 100+ seizures a day before he was placed on Meds, & Received  a VNS (Vagal Nerve Stimulator) Brendan had surgery to place this device when he was 2 1/2 . My son still had 35 + seizures a day even with the VNS. 
 
Brendan's Autism & Seizures have caused him to have Developmental, & Speech Delays, as well as he is an exceptional escape artist, he also has Melt Downs that are out of his control, he escalates so high , to the point that he doesn't even know or realize what he is doing, or what is happening. Brendan is the most loving, kind-hearted child you could ever know, he meets no strangers. Brendan functions on more of a 2 1/2 - 3 yr old level, he doesn't comprehend, that if he runs out in front of a car & gets hit, he could die; if he did live he would turn right around & do it again. He honestly doesn't understand what can happen. He can be outside because of the heat; it makes him seizure more, when he gets too hot. I also have Epilepsy, & Narcolepsy, but have been told that Brendan's Epilepsy isn't caused from mine, The Dr's don't know why either one of us have Epilepsy. 
 
We were Lucky enough to be blessed with a friend that my husband works with & who knew about Brendan's special needs. He also Breeds Labs, & wanted to donate one to Brendan, I worked with another Trainer to train him to be a Seizure Alert & Autism Service Dog, he showed me when he was only 4 weeks old that he could tell me before Brendan was having a seizure that it was going to happen, he was such an awesome dog & was so smart. We worked with him & trained him for 8 mon. he was so great for my son as a Service Dog, & a Friend, Sadly he passed away on New Year's EVE. He went into a seizure himself & wasn't able to recover from it. I rushed him to the Pet Emergency Hospital when I found him like that & they did everything they could but he just wasn't able to fight the fight. We do miss him greatly. 
 
Shortly after the loss of Hogan, the SD that passed away, my sons Seizures started getting worse, & his Autism melt downs were worse as well. We knew that we had to find another SD for him, but I didn't feel I had the time, nor the Ability to Train another SD, so this time we decided to find a SD that was already trained for my sons needs. We were sooooo luck to find a lady in South Bend Indiana, that trains Siberian Huskies for all types of SD work, & she happened to have a SD that was ready to go & was a perfect match for Brendan's Needs. 
 
Her name is Spook Show Baby ScoobyOvanna, Spook , or Spook Show for short.  She is trained to alert to seizures before they happen, she is trained to do Search & Rescue scent tracking, she also is trained to help with the Autism, she blocks Doors, she pushes the HC buttons that stores have to help open the door when needed, as well as many other special things. It took us approx 6 mon to raise the money needed to get Spook Show for our Son. We are so happy & Blessed with having Spook as our new Family Member. 
 
Spook Show just had her 2nd Birth Day on June 9, 2008 we got her on April 24, 2008. Spook was only home with us for 5 min when she started Alerting to a seizure coming on for Brendan; she nudged him over to the trainer's lap, to let her know she needed to help him. The trainer was willing to fly here to us with Spook Show so that we wouldn't have to spend so much money flying 4 people & hotel for 2 weeks + Meals. I had gone to the store to get some meds for her when Spook Alerted to her first seizure in Brendan, Spook also will go to Brendan's room & pull his covers back & nudge him to his bed when she senses a seizure coming on, if he is asleep & has a seizure she will lay across his legs to keep him from trying to get up & falling after the seizure, she also licks his cheek to help bring him out of the seizure, & to let him know he's ok & she is there for him, if Brendan vomits during a seizure, Spook will burrow under him & roll him on his side so that the vomit will go out of his mouth & he won't choke on it, & she then will clean it up so he won't get it back in his mouth. 
 
We went to the Grocery Store one day & Brendan got away from me & Bolted through the store, I had to let spook loose to help me find him & get him back, she ran as fast as she could & fallowed his sent through the store until she found him, she then blocked him & barked to let me know she found him. She does her best to keep him from bolting away from me when we get out of the car, she thinks ahead, you can literally see her wheels turning she is already up & ready to get out & as soon as I open the door she jumps out & runs to the end of the drive way & watches to see where Brendan is going to run, & when he does bolt she takes off & tries her hardest to keep him from getting away. 
 
Spook also Alerts to my seizures, so she has double duty, & she is really awesome. She isn't happy unless she's working. Spook was placed here for my son & she is awesome at what she does. Spook also Pulls my sons Special needs chair, he uses when we have to do a lot of walking, she also has a Mobility Harness that she wears & Brendan holds on to her for balance, he also has a vest he wears, with a tether strap that connects to his vest, & also to Spooks Harness, so now Spook also helps Brendan balance when walking, & helps keep him from running off by being hooked together, I can give her a sit stay, or lay stay command & she will do it & it keeps Brendan from getting away , she uses all her weight & strength to keep him from dragging her across the world.
 
Spook has always put Brendan's safety first, she will run across the street right after Brendan not even looking or worried about herself getting hurt or hit, she worries about Brendan, & his safety. She is truly a GOD SEND, & I don't know what we would do without her. She is not only a Service Dog, but she is a member of our Family, & Brendan's best friend. He loves her sooooo sooooo much. Spook never lets Brendan out of her sight. We love her more than she will ever know, or understand. Thank You Spook Show for all you do for our family, & for saving Brendan's life many times.

We Love you, you're our Angel. Love Mommy, Daddy, Nathan & Brendan (www.petjoyonline.com/Service-Dog-Stories-s/214.htm)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Training at the Firehouse

This week Jade and I will be doing some training at the firehouse, for a couple of reasons.  I've already taught her to run and get the phone if I fall, and become incapacitated, which has happened more than once before.  Jade will run and find the phone, bring it to me, and lie down next me until I can either move, or help comes.  There's only one problem. Due to the past trauma that Jade and I went through, she has a fear response to men in uniform. This is a major problem.  If I were to be in this situation again, Jade would be a tremendous help, until someone in uniform arrived, be it the paramedics, or firemen, or policemen.  She doesn't discriminate, it's all men in all types of uniforms. *sigh*  I can't say I blame her after what she went through with certain men in uniform, and now she has learned to generalize to ALL men in uniform.

A police officer had to come to the house last week, and I just knew Jade was going to lose it, and she did.  She is so afraid of them, that all of her training just goes flying out the window, and I can't get her to perform her "door etiquette." Her door etiquette is when she goes to the door, when someone rings the bell, and barks. I tell her "thank you," which quiets her and sends her to her place to lie down until released. We're still working on that, but she's getting better...except when it's a man in uniform, which sends her into a fearful, barking, mess, that can't be redirected no matter what.

So I spoke to my trainer about this, and she thinks it'll be great for her to get some up close and personal training with men in uniform, actually letting them train her a bit.  We're going to practice "treat and retreat," which is when the man in uniform will toss Jade a treat, then take a step backward, allowing her to come forward and take the treat.  We keep doing this as Jade gets closer and closer, until she's finally eating out of Mr. Uniform's hand. Now won't that be nice! We also plan to plead with the firemen to allow us to borrow one of them to stop by my house a few times in uniform to practice this door etiquette with first responders. I don't know if they'll do this, but I would imagine they might welcome this type of training, as many first responders have issues with dogs upon coming into a home to help a downed person, but who knows, we'll see.  I figure we can help each other in this training, and maybe they'd be willing to help Handi-dogs do this type of training for the disabled.  We're definitely going to pitch the idea to them and see what happens.

Last week we trained at a bookstore doing down/stays, step-overs by strangers, and a sit and get a pet by a child. All went very well.  I was amazed at Jade's down/stay, while she waited patiently for me to go to the counter and purchase a book. She laid quietly while I walked away, and must've been gone a good 5 minutes. The trainer stayed with her, but never had to touch her or say a word to her.  Children ran past her, and people walked by, some stepped over her tail, and she stayed put waiting for me to return. Pretty impressive.  I'm very proud of her.  We had her do a sit/stay and let some children come up and pet her, and she always welcomes a pat on the head.  She did great!

I've really been noticing also that Jade seems to be getting over her defensiveness with other dogs.  She seems more interested in meeting other dogs at the park when she's off duty and even had a good sniff with another yellow Lab tonight.  She let the dog sniff, she sniffed and gave a play bow.  I'm so glad that she seems to be moving past that.  Now, I have hope.  I have hope that she can move past just about anything, so I'm hoping it won't take long to move past her fear of men in uniform.  I think it's all gonna work out.  Sure am proud of my girl!!!


















Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pit Bull Surprise

Well, it's been proven now that Jade's training, learning how to be less defensive with other dogs, has paid off, in a big way!  Yesterday, we had a pit bull surprise.  Jade and I were walking from the car into a grocery store, when suddenly from under the porch of the grocery store, a pit comes running toward us, and stops short to give Jade a good sniffing.  I couldn't believe my eyes! A pit bull, without a leash, hanging out in front of the grocery store, coming up to bother a working dog, a service dog!!! What the hell has this town come to!?  Where the hell was the owner of this beast!?

Jade's training has definitely paid off, as she performed exactly as a service dog should in such an unwelcome situation. She stopped and let the beast sniff her, taking her away from her job and her attention off of me. This kind of thing makes me SICK! I am so sick and tired of these irresponsible pit bull owners and they just continue to show that they cannot be trusted to be responsible with their beasts!!!  Nevertheless, Jade stood there and let the dog sniff, and I kept trying to pull her forward, thinking if we just kept moving that the darn pit bull would just give up the sniff and walk away....and I didn't know when the beast would suddenly decide that Jade would taste better than she smells, and its DNA would kick in, and it would perform its best gripping behavior on my girl! But the more I tried to pull her away and keep moving, the more she planted her feet and wouldn't move.  I think she thought it was best to stay still for the moment.

I thought that Jade might turn to her defensive behavior and start growling and defending herself, and then the beast would attempt to kill her....at which point I would have had to brutally kill the damn thing right there in front of the grocery store, in front of about 30 people! But she didn't.  Jade behaved like a perfect service dog.  Standing there, letting it sniff, while I was yelling, "Who's damn dog is this!? Get your damned dog! My dog is working here!" I began reaching in my purse for my weapon, as I was afraid, and didn't know what would happen, when suddenly a lady came out of the story with a shopping cart and aimed for the pit bull.  She acted like she was going to hit the pit bull with the shopping cart and shouted, "Hey, get outta here!" And the pit bull went back to his place under the porch of the store! So we moved along and went into the store.

When we went into the store, I got on one of the shopping cart buggies, with Jade at my side, and realized I was shaking so hard I could barely function.  Jade stood there looking at me, and I had to sit down and just stop, and breathe.  I really couldn't do anything because I was just too upset.  I'm really sick and tired of running into loose dogs in this town, with my working, service dog, especially pit bulls, the most inherently dangerous and vicious types of dogs out there! I am afraid of pit bulls and I have a damn good reason to be! If you're not afraid of pit bulls, then your lacking information on them! My dog's been attacked by a pit bull, pets, service dogs, and children and adults have been attacked and killed by pit bulls, and that, if you ask me, is a damn good reason to fear them! They've attacked, injured, and killed many a service dog in situations as these.

This town really needs to do something about the pit bull problem.  There are way too many of them, they are over populated, over bred, and overly vicious! The shelters in this town are full of those dogs, which I don't get! If these pit bull lovers love these dogs as much as they claim, then why are there so many of them in the shelters!? Why are they always roaming the streets with no owners? Why isn't this problem getting taken care of?!

Anyway...I have to say that I was VERY proud of my girl, Jade for doing exactly what she was trained to do....be a GREAT SERVICE DOG! It took me a while to calm down, and luckily I have a great group of supportive, encouraging, empathic friends to talk to about these things, which helps me immensely! And I have my amazing service dog to help me with anxiety, depression, and my physical disabilities.










Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beaming With Pride

Handi-Dogs, Inc. was featured on KGUN 9 Morning Blend...here's the vid!


Today both my girl and I are just beaming with pride! Today Jade and I moved into the Precertification stage of training and both of us couldn't be happier! I almost can't believe how well she's done and the changes I see in her are just amazing! She has come SO far! Today was our last actual day of class, and from here on out, it's only field training, out in public.  We've been doing field training for some time 
between classes, and Jade goes everywhere out in public with me. So it's nothing new to her, but as soon as the field trainer feels she is ready to take the exam, we will.  Then she'll be a Certified Service Dog.

When we first started training, and even up until about 3 or 4 weeks ago, Jade had a big issue with loud noises and strange noises; she would set her tail between her legs (all the way to her tummy), tremble and head for the nearest exit.  It was frustrating, and unusual for a Lab, but we worked through it, and we made it.  The trainer kept on pushing us on this, me becoming frustrated and Jade becoming nervous and plain old, freaked out! It would be so hard to calm her down after "noise" sessions and I'd have to take her outside for a break to get her back to reality....most times even after the break, I just couldn't get her to refocus and perform any longer until we left training. 

"Noise" sessions consisted of the trainer, and volunteers making noise.  It would start lightly, then get louder and more frequent.  Jade would freak out, the tail would tuck, she'd start trembling and heading for the door, and I would become frustrated and discouraged.  The trainer would take out the whistle and blow it, drop pans, clipboards, and such on the floor, clap their hands, turn on the vacuum cleaner, get out the robotic remote-controlled toys (little dogs that bark, Santas that sing, and the like), and just make a ruckus.  Not all at once, of course; but it didn't matter, Jade just couldn't handle it, and I was sure we'd never get passed it.  Sometimes, I'd have to take her outside, and let her walk around and sniff a little, giving her a break; I'd stand there looking at her thinking, "We're never gonna make it...she'll never be a service dog...," and I'd find myself getting upset with the trainer, and thinking, "Why does she have to keep deliberately trying to freak my dog out!?" But I knew the trainer was just trying to make Jade "bomb proof," and I was just frustrated and discouraged.  What made it worse was that none of the other dogs ever seemed to be bothered by the noises.  

We practiced these "noise" sessions in class, and I practiced them at home, dropping pots and pans, slamming doors, etc.  In the last few weeks, I could see Jade improving during these sessions.  She was no longer tucking her tail and heading for the door, and no longer trembling.  She was still visibly anxious, but it was more of an excited kind of anxious.  Her tail would be wagging, and she would be tolerating the noise, and I'd be feeding her treats constantly, but she still couldn't perform once it was over.  I couldn't even get her to do a down/stay, or even a sit/stay, but she was improving, and I felt hopeful again.  

Well, today, she impressed EVERYONE, including the trainer, and volunteers! I was so proud of her, I almost busted into tears! The trainer started doing the "noise" session, getting the remote-controlled toys out and the like, and Jade was a CHAMP! She didn't only tolerate the noise makers, but she was able to look at them, and even "target" them! 

I guess I should tell you how we got passed the noise issue.  Of course, we practiced making noise and desensitizing her.  The trainer would make the noise, and I would feed her treats and tell her what a good girl she is; but it was something the trainer taught me that helped us move passed this.  We learned the "look at" game.  "Target" was something we learned at the beginning. The "look at" game, as the trainer explained, helped Jade start to feel differently about loud noises, and helped her "change her perspective" about loud noise.  I would put Jade in a sit and as the noise would happen, I would tell Jade "look at it" and she turns her head to look.  When she looks, she gets a treat.  Learning "look at it" changed the way she feels about noise.  Don't ask me why, I'm no dog psychologist, but by God, it worked! "Target" is when a dog walks up to an object or person and touches it with her nose.  I can basically point to anything and say "touch" or "target" and she will walk up and touch it with her nose. This also helps her feel differently about scary things, like the vacuum cleaner, for example.  

So today, the trainer dropped the metal bowl on the floor (the training room, I should mention, is a huge, fairly empty room, that echoes loudly), and I told Jade to "look at it," and she did, and she got a treat.  Then I told her to "touch it" and she did.  She wasn't upset at all! No tucking, no trembling, no heading for the door, and she was able to perform like a champ after the noise session, with no problems at all! I almost cried. She stood there watching me, tail low and wagging, completely relaxed, with a smile on her face, waiting for the next command.  The volunteers were clapping, as was the trainer, and I was seriously tearing up.  You have no idea how frustrating it is to try and get your dog over her fears.  Maybe you do, but if you do, try the "look at it" game, it's a godsend! I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I say almost, because I know how hard we worked.

We also practiced separation, which she also had a bit of an issue with in the past.  Jade and I just don't do well apart, but in order to pass this test, she has to be separated from me, with someone else holding her leash for 3 minutes.  No barking allowed, no whining, no panting, no trembling or otherwise anxious behavior allowed.  Let me tell you, the first time we practiced this in class, I could hear Jade, from the next room, doing this strange kind of whine/bark and pulling on the end of the leash trying to get to me.  Today, I gave the trainer the leash, and walked away.  I heard silence.  When I returned to the room, Jade was sitting quietly, waiting for my return.  Wow! Mind you, this was AFTER the noise session!!! I'm astounded!!! This trainer knows her stuff!

I know some of my readers have made comments about Jade's little episodes when she runs into another dog, so if you all are reading...this paragraph is for YOU! We practiced that today too, since it was the last day.  We practiced walking her close by other dogs, walking side by side with other dogs, and sitting closely in a little circle with other dogs, and Jade was a CHAMP once again! I told her to "look at the dog," and she looked, then she looked at me, and got her treat! NO PROBLEMS!!!! I will also add, that Jade met another dog at the park the other day, and made a friend.  The dog sniffed her, she sniffed the dog, then gave an appropriate "let's play" bow and sniffed some more! Again, I'm astounded! However, I know now that this issue was mine, not Jade's.  If you have trouble with your dog getting reactive while meeting another dog on a leash, pay very close attention to what YOU are thinking and feeling, because mark my words, your dog is feeling it too! If you're nervous, which I was, your dog will become nervous and protective, thinking that she has to protect you because something is wrong. I learned this, and Jade is fine now.  

I know this is a long post, but I hope it's helpful, and I can't help but be so proud of my girl and how far she's come! She really amazes me sometimes.  

We practice other things too, like "go get the phone," "take me to the door," for when I get anxious while out somewhere, prolonged down/stay, with me walking away and out of sight, and prolonged "leave it" while food is thrown nearby.  She did everything perfectly! 

Then, Jade was given her pretty, new, red vest, and we proudly put it on. The trainer and I talked a bit after class, and she told me how proud of Jade and I she is, because she knows how hard we've worked.  We also talked a bit about my possibly volunteering to help others train their dogs for service. It's a thought, but I'm not sure yet.  I'll decide when Jade and I are all finished.  One thing's for sure though, I will certainly miss going to classes with Jade, and seeing the trainer and volunteers there.  There's just something about those people! And....how can you not just love watching these dogs grow and learn?  Such an amazing thing to experience! 

"I did it, Mom!"
3 months cute!

Wading in the river.

What a beauty!

Anyone up for a swim?

Moving forward!

The definition of relaxation, with a smile!

She LOVES that little stuffed dragon!

"Can I lay on the couch too?"

Proud little digger at 3 months!


























Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jade Moves Into Precertification Stage

   







 Well, I have to do a little more bragging.  This coming week will be Jade and I's last week of actual classroom training.  We have been doing classroom and field training together now for a while, and now she will be moving into the pre certification stage, which means field training from here on out. No more classroom training.
     I'm very proud of my girl.  She's been able to skip a few classes along the way, because well....she's a quick learner and a great dog! This has also saved me some money, since the entrance fee to each class is a bit steep, but so worth it! I was informed by the trainer last week, that this coming week would be our last classroom experience and we will be continuing field training only; when the field trainer feels Jade is ready, we will take the certification exam and she will then be an official Certified Service Dog! Yay!
     Jade and I have worked really hard to accomplish this.  Yes, she's a smart dog and in my opinion, born to be a service dog, but it does take a lot of work on my part.  I've spent endless days in training with her, getting her accustomed to loud noises, strange environments, weird smells etc., and have had so many training sessions with her at home between classes, that I can't even count.  The trainer told me when we first began this program, that if we don't work with our dogs at home, they won't be successful.  I took heed to that, took it seriously, and got busy.  That's why she's able to move through the program so quickly.  It's been almost a year now that we've been in the program I think, and she's come a long way!
     I remember the first day I took her to class. I couldn't even get her to look up from the floor; she was so busy sniffing the floor and trembling from nerves, that I really couldn't get her to do much of anything.  Last week in class, she performed a down/stay while tennis balls rolled and bounced right by her.  I NEVER imagined I'd see that day!!! This dog is a ball dog to the death!
     So, after the trainer told me we'd be moving to pre certification, I have to confess, I became a bit sad, thinking of all the fun we've had in class together, moving forward, and watching all the other dogs move forward and grow into service dogs.  So, I took the opportunity to ask the trainer about the possibility of volunteering to help out in the classes.  We didn't talk much about it, kind of just a passing conversation, but I'm thinking it might be something I'm interested in.
     Regardless, next week, we'll be turning in Jade's blue vest and getting a pretty Red one, which signifies pre certification, and when she is finally certified, we'll acquire the teal colored vest.  What an accomplishment!!! I've learned SO much through these classes and these trainers, and through doing research on service dogs.  I can't thank them enough for the work they do to help the disabled become more independent and free, with the help of their canine companions.
     So off we will go with our pretty, new red vest, and continue our training out in the community with our field trainer.  We went to the mall, kmart, restaurants, etc. and will continue to do so until Jade is ready for the big test.
     I also want to mention that last week in class, I spoke to the classroom trainer about Jade's little episode in SAnta Fe where she went berserk when the other dog got in her face.  The trainer explained to me that this is due to my nervousness, fear and transferring it to Jade by yanking on the leash and feeling so anxious.  The trainer actually proved it to me, by using her dog.  We walked toward each other with our dogs, faced each other, got really close to one another, and walked side by side.  At NO time did Jade have any problems, because the trainer told me to relax, breathe and just know everything is fine.  It was! I was so happy! Jade doesn't have any aggression issues, as explained by my trainer, she has a handler issue, and it was me.  I'm glad that I can help Jade by being relaxed, and calm when another rude person puts their dog in Jade's face.  You'd be surprised how many rude people are out there.
     I'm really looking forward to another step forward in our training, and I know Jade will be just as proud as I am to put that red vest on.  Thanks for listening.












Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pit Bulls Called "Service Dog" To Get Around The Law

     Here is another good example, in my opinion, of another person trying to call their pit bull a "service dog" to get around the law.  If this dog is at all certified as a "service dog" then it's only because she ran to one of those illegal websites to quickly pay for a "service dog certification" to get around her landlord's telling her the dog has to go.  The funny thing is, that people think that just because their dog is a "service dog" it can get around any law and is exempt from all the rules.  This is so not true.  Regardless if a dog is a "service dog" or not, it can still legally, by ADA rules, be asked to leave if it is considered a nuisance by any staff, employee, resident or manager of any store, restaurant, apartment building, trailer park, etc.  The  so called "service dog" doesn't even have to be aggressive per se, it just has to be considered a nuisance and it can legally be asked to leave.  The tenant can stay, but the manager has EVERY right to ask that this dog leaves the premises...."service dog" or not.  By the way, you have to be "disabled" first and foremost to even have a service dog.  Many people, in my opinion, choose to impersonate a disabled person in order to be able to call their dog a "service dog" for the purpose of getting around the law.  I am not sure if having arthritis in your knees is considered a disability or not, it very well may be...but has her doctor declared this to be so? That's something the lawyer could definitely look into here.
     Another point I'd like to make is this....if you have a REAL service dog, then you know how a service dog is supposed to perform the command, "brace." If your dog has been properly trained to "brace" I can assure you, it's not by pulling as hard as it can to the end of the leash, correct?! This could very well injure the dog if it's just pulling as hard as it can by the collar, and bearing a human's body weight. Especially the 60-70 pound dog in this article.  This is NOT an appropriate "brace" by service dog.  My service dog has been properly trained to "brace," by moving in front of me sideways, tensing up, and waiting for me to put my hands on the "sweet spot" of her back (whithers) and commanding "brace," as I use her to brace me to stand up and sit down.  She also has been trained to use her harness correctly for the "brace" command, as I lean into the appropriate place on her back with my harness.
   

You can read the article below and let me know your thoughts as well.  The above are my thoughts.  To add to this, I have to say that I find it really sad and disgraceful that someone is resorting to calling their dog a "service dog" to get around the law.  I also find it disgraceful that anyone's "service dog" would invoke such complaints by tenants, that the dog is "charging people, aggressing toward them, growling at children and barking and snarling at them, acting aggressively toward other animals," etc.  That's scary! No properly trained service dog should behave this way! So this is again why I say that breed is an important consideration when choosing a REAL service dog, as the pit bull dogs are bred for the purpose of fighting and killing!!! They are NOT a good breed of choice, generally, for a service dog.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/09/2684435/dog-gone-mean-landlords-banning.html


But please read the article and let us know your thoughts. Thank you!




Thursday, March 8, 2012

Conversation With Neighbor Who Has New Pit Bull

     Well, I did it.  Yup, I had that conversation that I've been wanting to have with my neighbor who recently acquired another pit bull.  If you've been following my blog at all, you know that my neighbor just got another pit bull, after his former  one died fairly recently.  The former one was old, about 13 years, and my neighbor had to put him down. One day, most recently, another pit bull showed up in his back yard, barking and staring out the gate.  I've been wanting to have a conversation about this with him, in a very civil way (have to get along with neighbors), to ensure that we are all kept safe.  The reason for this is because his former pit bull, Zeus, had once gotten into MY backyard by jumping onto something he had stacked against the 7 foot wall, and leaped right over into my yard. I didn't have my dog yet at that time, and luckily my cats were safely indoors that night.  I won't name names, but for the sake of easier writing, we'll call my neighbor Joe and his pit bull, Blue.
     So, I've previously stated that the next time I see Joe outside, I'd plan to have a conversation with him about safety. I saw him outside this afternoon, bringing in his trash cans, while I was headed to training class with Jade.  So I took the opportunity.  I started with small talk asking how he's been doing and how he's feeling, etc.  Joe is also disabled.  We spent a few minutes on small talk and then I got down to it.  I said, "I saw you got a new dog, Joe." He said, "Yea, I need the companionship." I asked him why he chose another pit bull, and he said that he got it from his wife's son, who couldn't keep him anymore because he was moving. Joe said, "He was one of those young thugs, who just wanted to be tough by getting a pit bull, and then didn't know how to handle him....he abused him and treated him like crap, beating on him and punishing him....he didn't know what the hell he was doing, so I got him." I went on to tell Joe that I'm afraid of pit bulls and those dogs are really dangerous."  Joe said that he understood that, and a lot of people feel the same way.  He also went on to say that the media helps to instill that fear in people by always reporting about pit bull attacks and bites (the same old pit bull owner excuses, blame the media, bla bla). I said, "Yea, Joe, but did you see what happened to the elderly lady the other day....it was on the news....she was brutally attacked and mauled....there are a lot of those stories, Joe! Those dogs are always attacking and hurting people and other pets." Joe said, and this surprised me, "They certainly have the potential, that's for sure....they're really strong dogs and you really have to know what you're doing to have one." I was so glad Joe said that.  It's usually excuses and denials about the power and potential that pit bulls have by their owners, so this made me feel relieved.  Joe also went on to say that he's had pit bulls all his life and he knows what he's doing.  I let him know that I am still afraid of it, and of all pit bulls and for good reason.  I said, "Please don't let him get over that wall into my yard, Joe....remember when your other pit got over that wall and into my yard? Please don't let that happen." Joe smiled and said, "No, he's not gonna get over there, I'll make sure of that." He went on to say how friendly his pit is, but then in another breath said that he was afraid of people because he'd been abused, which didn't make any sense to me.  Another walking contradiction of a pit owner.
     So we talked a little more and I repeated myself about not letting his dog get over the wall into my backyard, and he clearly stated that he wouldn't let that happen.  I told him that I'm afraid of pit bulls because they're always mauling and maiming people, even killing.  I also told Joe that his pit bull might very well "bite" him.  I said, "You better be careful Joe, because those dogs are known for turning on their owners.  He might just tear you up, better be careful." Joe replied with, "Oh, he's NOT gonna bite me!" Ok, we'll see.  I'm sure that's exactly what Darla Napora said too, right before her pit bull attacked, mauled and killed her, and her unborn baby.  Joe also said that he can't let his dog outside the front door, because when he opens it, the dog bolts running for freedom.  Just wonderful! He said he had to chase him a couple streets down the other day, but if he does it again, he might just let him be free and let the pound pick him up.  Wow! That's just great! If I see that dog out, EVER, I will call 911. If it comes in my yard, we're going to have very serious problems.  That's why I had the conversation with Joe; so if it does happen, there won't be any misunderstandings.
     The conversation with Joe, my neighbor has been had.  So we'll see how everything plays out.  Thanks for listening.



(Although this is not Joe's dog, it's a pit bull, and it's damn scary!)


Field Training At The Mall

     Jade and I had a field outing with the trainer yesterday and today we are attending the training class again. Since we went out of town, we missed a class and a field outing, so now we are making up for lost time.  No buggy though, I love spending this quality time with Jade, and she has a great time too.  We've actually missed two weeks, since Jade was sick the week before and last week we were out of town. Jade had come down with an upper respiratory thing, which I believe she contracted from me, since I'd been sick as well.  Who knows? The Vet said although there have been studies done on whether dogs contract our illnesses, they are not conclusive, so it's still questionable.  Anyway, we are making up for lost time, and Jade is doing great.  Yesterday the field trainer met us at the mall, and we did some different things to see how Jade would do.  We got on and off a couple of elevators, and Jade was great.  It's just funny the way she looks at the floor when the elevator starts or stops moving.  :)  She just looks down at the floor, like she's thinking "why is the floor moving?" It's pretty funny.  She wore her harness yesterday and is doing great with it.  She knows the purpose of the harness now, and she understands it is for supporting me, bracing and  helping me with balance.  I can tell she understands this because of the way she uses the harness.  She's such a champ! The trainer was impressed at how well she did at the mall, which is actually a pretty strange environment for her, as she's only been inside one other time.  
     People are usually pretty friendly when they see us together, and a lot of people ask questions about how she is being trained, how she helps me, etc.  Most people are good about it accepting us into their stores and restaurants, but there are some places that are not as service dog friendly, although they don't have a choice, really. I did talk to the trainer about the episode we had while on vacation, with the other dog that approached Jade nose to nose while she was working. We talked about Jade's defensiveness with other dogs that get too close; although Jade is not always like that.  It really depends on the circumstances under which she is approached by other dogs.  The trainer and I agree that it has a lot to do with how I am reacting in that situation.  When that incident happened in Santa Fe, I remember the dog coming up to Jade and sniffing her nose, and me thinking "Oh my God, NO! Here we go again!" and tightening up on her leash.  That is most of the problem.  I know because we've had other instances just like this one, where I relaxed the leash, took a deep breath, and thought "It'll be ok," and it was! It really is amazing how much our dogs react to how we feel! The trainer really didn't issue any homework for Jade on this subject, but for me.  She told me to think of something that really helps me to relax, a happy thought, to use when this sort of thing happens, and to relax the leash.  I'm sure she's right, and I'll have to work on that. 
     Otherwise, Jade did wonderfully at the mall, on the elevators, and with the trainer rolling suitcases in front of her, and dropping food on the floor in front of her (which she didn't touch).  It took a while for Jade to get that one.  :)  Jade is definitely motivated by food, as most Labs are. She learned not to touch any food that falls on the floor, and not eat anything unless it's given to her by hand, and I okay it.  The training on this isn't over yet, though, we're still working on it, but she's doing well.  I really want Jade to be a bomb proof service dog, but I do know that no dog is perfect, and they all have bad days.  She will have her certification test out in the public somewhere and I want her prepared to pass it with flying colors.
     The trainer and I also discussed those websites that are selling vests and such, in order for people to put on their dogs, and call them "service dogs," for the purpose of getting around the law.  My trainer expressed her disgust with these websites and the people who impersonate the disabled and have their dogs impersonate a service dog, for this purpose.  It really is a disgraceful act! A lot of studies have been done in the past about lawbreakers and criminals, and it turns out that most people do in fact, try their very best to obey the laws.  The people who do these sorts of things fit the definition of criminals, and definitely fit the definition of disgraceful! The laws on this are full of holes, and are very vague, and basically don't stop people who do this disgraceful practice, but the ADA regs are written that way for a reason...to protect the disabled.  It's hard to say what needs to be done in this case. 
     Jade did great at the mall, and the trainer was happy with her, as am I.  We will attend class today and catch her up on anything she missed.  I'm betting that they want to work on Jade's responses to loud noises again today.  Although Jade is definitely getting better with that, she still has some anxiety with a lot of prolonged loud noise.  She will get it though, I have faith.  She will get to the point that none of that bothers her anymore.  Let's hope it happens quickly. Thanks for listening.  


Here are some links below, that are great reads for anyone who just loves dogs in general.  Check them out!






If you love dogs, all kinds of dogs, and want to see what they're doing for their people....check out this link below.

https://www.facebook.com/exploredogs?sk=wall

The story of Danny, A Service Dog Who Saved A Life

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/service-dog-saves-life-arizona-bethe-benne_n_1248293.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D132236