Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is is really Saturday?

Firstly, a wee catch-up from yesterday! I needed an escape, and so, after dinner, I put Pina in her "kennel" in my room, and scooted outside for about an hour, stopping at the Beer Store (just to get change for the vending machines back at the residence! I'm not planning on being kicked out for rule violations at this point!), to pick up a newspaper to read at Tim Horton's where I enjoyed a coffee and a doughnut, and regained a little sanity! I think the break did us both good! We were in much better form today!
Today marked the day that we started working on SKILLS as opposed to OBEDIENCE. The first two skills introduced were "PUSH" (where Pina jumps up to push on the automatic door openers for the disabled, with either her front paws or her nose, whichever happens to hit the "sweet spot" on the opener! At times, for me personally, it might turn out to be easier to just push the button myself, but it is certainly handy to have a back-up! The second skill was "FETCH/GIVE", and for this introductory practice session, Pina successfully was able, on command, to pick up and gently give to me a dropped soft glasses case, then a hard case, and then a portable phone! We'll be working on more challenging items next week, including pill bottles and even coins!!!! These two skills are now added to the "Help" skill where Pina successfully keeps barking loudly when I even whisper the word "Help". Fortunately, she also stops on command!!
The intensity of being attached, at this point, to Pina during virtually all waking hours, is definitely stressful. It is not easy to get a coffee, open the fridge door to get and pour cream, and navigate back to the table without spilling, all the while ensuring that your dog is heeling, remembering to tell her "Behind" when we go through doorways, and avoiding running over other dogs, all stretched out beside their owners, in the "down" position! There are now three programs running concurrently here - Special Skills (my program), Hearing Ear, and Seizure Response with approximately six clients, six dogs and two to three instructors per class! I am so looking forward to when I am allowed to leave her in a "Stay" position while I go about certain tasks! We have been given permission, if we so choose, to leave our dogs out of their kennel tonight, to sleep on a blanket. Mmmm - could be a challenge! I'll let you know tomorrow if we tried this! Hope everyone had a happy Hallowe'en, and I, for one, can hardly wait to turn my clock back an hour tonight!
Hope you enjoy the "new" photo of Pina and myself - do we look as if we're bonding???

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