Tuesday, May 21, 2013

8 Months, 2 Weeks: Training - Day 102

Not long ago Emma was just learning how to walk with me
and now she's learning how to walk with a wheelchair!
So, Dieter is a bit better today, but still requires a lot of my attention and time.  He didn't eat his dinner last night, a clear sign he was well over threshold on pain, since he would eat dirt if I put it in his bowl normally.  The pain killer I gave him also knocked him out and he slept mostly after I administered it.  This morning he went out and peed, but started to cry again - a clear sign he's still suffering and we are still a day away from him being able to take Prednisone to relieve the swelling in his back.

My Mom called at 6:30 AM and announced she was on her way over to work on building more raised beds for my yard.  I had purchased, in April, the material for them and last week my brother and mom built the first of the new raised beds for the yard.  Today Mom came over and we built 4 more.  This took up my morning and I decided to just feed Jack and Emma their breakfast and train them with their lunch instead.

I had Emma, Max and Dieter (who did eat) their breakfast before Jack and my Mom arrived and was setting up the yard with Emma and Max out when my Mom arrived.  We had the first box mostly built by the time Jack arrived and so I took him in and fed him.  It was then I brought Dieter out to go to the bathroom again and he refused to do so, but curled up instead by my Mom and simply shook.  I had given him his morning medication, but it wasn't helping him much yet.

At 10:30 AM, when we had the "kits" cut and ready to go to build the next three I brought him out again so he could go.  He cried and again refused to go to the bathroom.  I carried him in feeling my heart sink.  He's in so much pain and there is nothing I can do for him.  It really hurts the heart to witness.

I gave Dieter a second dose of muscle relaxant and went out and finished building beds with Mom, which took me to 12:30 PM.  By this time I was totally exhausted and in pain myself.  Both Mom and I had taken some over the counter medication just to finish the job.  Mom had left, Dieter was crying in his crate and I was so stiff and sore I could barely move.  I got Dieter out and carried him into the yard, where he finally went to the bathroom and then let him walk himself in to the bed I made for him under my desk.

This will be a long week.

Today's Lessons:

Loose Leash Walking

Today I worked with Emma on keeping in the zone and turning with me again.  Once again we were in the house and off lead and she is totally in the game.  I was marveling that this is the same dog who have zero clue what I was asking not long ago and now is 100% in tune with the lesson.  She even did a 360 degree pivot with me while on my left side and I was turning into her.  Her butt is not in full alignment, but that comes with practice and fine turning, but she's got the idea.

I want to work more on her learning to bring her butt around and into alignment with me and then apply it to pivoting when I am using my swivel chair.  I am hoping that tomorrow I can get Max and Jack contained enough to work on the full pivot with the swivel chair and then apply it to the power chair.  She's almost there and once we have that I will tighten up her turns by taking her out and working next to walls or fences to improve her turns when working with a wheelchair.

I also need to work with her on sitting and laying in alignment with me when I am standing and sitting - especially with the wheelchair.  A low foot print between her and the chair is important so she's not causing problems when working in public.  It is a matter of breaking the parts into smaller slices and building on her understanding of what I am asking.

At 8 months of age, Emma is doing very well.  She's walking with my power chair on both the left and right sides, and she's comfortable with the idea of doing so.  She's learned to walk with attention to the chair so she is safe and she's learning how to turn and work beside the chair without taking up extra space when in public.  I am very pleased with her progress.

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