My Service Dog, Jade

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


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 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! :)

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