Tuesday, May 28, 2013

8 Months, 2 Weeks: Training - Day 105

Emma is learning to retrieve.
This is Friday's blog.  The long weekend was my first time to really catch up on sleep and items around the house which meant my time near a computer was zero.  It was, actually, very nice to have a long weekend and get business done.  As a result, this is Friday's blog.

In my blog on Thursday I mentioned that Emma has injured herself and I wasn't certain how.  Upon thinking about it, I came the conclusion I have a good idea how she did it.  I have a ramp that goes up to a deck outside of my front door.  The deck is too high for Emma to be jumping off of, but I saw her at least twice make the leap and rush about my yard.  I had made a mental note to block her ability to do such a leap, but hadn't actually gotten the material to block her from jumping my deck.

At 5:15 PM Jack's owner, Ronda, arrived to pick up Jack.  I was on the phone and didn't keep good control of Emma and Max, who burst out the door when I opened it.  It must of been then that Emma bolted off of the deck and landed wrong.  It wouldn't be until another hour later that the limp we saw showed and my son and I would realize Emma was injured.

The vet the next day was pleased with the video I showed him which captured how she was walking.  It helped diagnose the issue, which turned out to be a strained ACL ligament.  The vet was pleased I had restricted her activity the moment I realized she was injured, since doing so prevented her from further injuring the ligament and thus prevented a tear.

She was placed on medication to keep any possible swelling down and she's to be kept on low activity for 1 week and low and little jumping for 6 months.  This will be an exciting time for us.

Since I knew she had a knee injury, I changed my training from Loose Leash Walking class homework to Levels Training - which could be done stationary.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 4: Step 1 Retrieve.  In this step Emma is asked to go to three different types of objects on the floor.  So far I have used a pen, pencil, knitting needle and wash cloth.  She has picked up and handed me all but the knitting needle, which is a bit cumbersome for her in this early stage.

Since she's doing so well now with uniformly shaped items I am now introducing more items that she may be required to lift and hand to me to expand her understanding of this job.  This will include clothing, shoes and remotes with a strap.  At this point she is early in her learning of how to retrieve an object and hasn't really started to problem solve how to pick up a new object.

Today we worked with a mechanical pencil, which she picked up and handed to me while I was sitting on the floor.  I am staying low to the floor until she is confident in the process and knows how that when I point to an object she's to pick it up.  Once we have that portion of the job done and her understanding is solid and with confidence I will introduce a laser pointer to make it possible for her future handler to point to and request an object he wants retrieved.

Emma is progressing nicely with this part of her service dog training.


Emma is progressing nicely in her training.  She truly enjoys running and jumping, so keeping her restrained while she recovers from her injury.  There is nothing worse than a primarily healthy dog on bed rest.

Since she is limited in what she can do on her feet, we'll be working on stationary lessons to keep her mind crisp and progress her learning.

Level 1
Zen Target Come Sit Down
Step Completed Completed Completed Completed Completed

Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step Completed Completed Completed Completed Completed
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 3 2 2 1 1
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 1 1 Completed 1

Level 3
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 3 2 0 0 1
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Jump Relax Handling Retrieve Communication
Step 0 0 0 Completed 0

Level 4
Zen Come Retrieve Target Relax
Step 0 0 1 0 0
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Handling Communication

Step 0 0

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