Precious Trained Service Dog

Precious Trained Service Dog

Woof Woof Wednesday

A Precious Reaction To Service Dog Training

Prayer First

St. Francis of Assisi – Blessing of the Pets

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures!

Amen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday began the same as every other Monday since my PreciousGirl has come into our lives. This pup and I have shared a constant dialogue full of many conversations, discussions, and flat out arguments where I am still unsure who won.

Precious & The Daddy
Precious & The Daddy

Precious: Momma, momma, momma, c’mon, Momma; you and the Daddy have to get up right right now.

The Daddy: Really, Girl?? Is it that urgent? There’s just no need for all that fussing, Momma’s coming take you out. Now, hush…

Precious: But Daddy, Daddy, but Daddy; if I don’t go right right now I gonna have accident before I get to the good good spot. I don’t like to piddle piddle until I’m in the good good spot.

I get her on her lead and stumble out the door behind her as the Daddy is getting into the shower.  I’ve enjoyed this time with her since we first had her. It’s funny in the morning as she sniffs and searches, with ear twitches and slow steps until she is just at the edge of the tree line behind our place. I feel fortunate that she either feels private about her bathroom needs or wouldn’t like stepping in poop herself. She really tries to make sure and messy business is taken care of near the trees where no one walks.

Resting?
Resting?
Is Precious s'posed to be in the Bed???
Is Precious s’posed to be in the Bed???

We do a lot of “talking” on these little walks in the morning. Maybe it’s a form of meditation for me as I will talk about whether I slept well, what kinds of nightmares I might have had, and our plans for the day ahead. It’s a short walk, 7-10 minutes at most, but it’s a moment between me and my dog that has become valuable for clearing the sleepy fog out of my head before beginning my daily routine of getting the Daddy ready for work.

Precious: C’mon, Momma I wanna walk here, no here, oh wait, I need to go by the big tree for now.

Me: Ok, Precious hurry up this morning, Momma’s tired and we have a long day ahead.

Precious: What, wait, waaaiiit, Momma, I thought today was MY DAY!!! Yeah yeah yeah, Momma; ‘member, Momma you said I start special special classes today because I’m so Precious.

Me: C’mon and go, Precious. Make some potty for me. It’s not time to play. You DO understand that your sole purpose for being on this plane of existence as PreciousGirl is MY comfort and joy, not dragging me around the yard for all this dawdling and silliness. Go. Make. Some. Potty.

Precious: But but, Momma, but, Momma you did say today be MY DAY. All about me, Momma, ’member how you promised. I ‘member you PROMISED. Oh, wait, wait, Momma, don’t look at me, ok. Ok, Momma don’t look while I go.

And so it went. From morning to afternoon, and into her training class, the WHOLE DAY was for Precious.

Wrestling with The Daddy
Wrestling with The Daddy

Time for Training

There is a lot of truth to the saying that dogs are like children and misbehave more for their Peoples than for anyone else in the world.  Precious was the absolute best girl in training class, a genuine star pupil. Of course, I give great credit to the patience of her trainer, Melissa Frye, Training Director for Cross Protection K9 Services. She has demonstrated great patience with me as well as Precious at every encounter. Especially this last one.

You know that feeling, when you’re already late for a 6:30 class and text to let them know, but it turns out the class started at 6 and you’re catching the tail end. Yeah, that feeling. Which led to Precious being the star pupil because Melissa was more than willing to stay a little late and give us some extended time with her alone.

Melissa has shown great patience with me, as anxious and chaotic CrazyAlphabetDisorderLady at every encounter. We begin with my own special panic attack on the phone with her sister as the contact I was first given to find trainers for Precious. She was as courteous and tolerant of my issues at Responsible Dog Ownership Day hosted by Greater Panama City Dog Fanciers Association September 19.

Although I experienced a lot of anxiety; that event was PreciousGirl’s first real stellar moment in the spotlight and an eye opener to me. Melissa was the only connection I knew as I entered this event. What seemed to be a large number of people caused and initial panic as I asked everyone who looked involved with the process if they were Melissa.

Her first moments with Precious that morning amongst a slew of people moving around, getting booths organized, and wrangling unruly pets on leashes really sealed the deal on choosing her as our trainer. She quietly got Precious’ attention with a hand signal and used sign language and a “Sit” so quiet, I’m only adding it here because she said she had actually said it when I asked her about training us with the sign language she had just used with Precious.

Being unprepared for just absolutely how beautiful and Precious, and attention getting PreciousGirl would be, along with her natural friendliness on Responsible Dog Ownership Day I had to deal with lots of anxiety and looking for different places to hide and sit with my dog; as everyone who got a glimpse of her needed to stop and pet and tell me how adorable she was and that They. Wanted. To. Take. Her. Home.

PreciousGirl was the Star Attraction!!!
PreciousGirl was the Star Attraction!!!

Anxiety drove me to leave the event early, but I left feeling confident in Melissa’s services as a trainer and patience with me as a client.

 Melissa, gracious as always, was very patient and showed us the ropes, even though it kept her late. We had a great day then and during this evening’s class Precious showed her worth and intelligence. We learned a couple commands in between Precious’ diva moments in the mirror.  PreciousGirl’s new commands and her stellar behavior at class left interesting conversation on the way home from class.

I hope I not in trouble
I hope I not in trouble
If Mommy wants another picture I'm gonna howl.
If Mommy wants another picture I’m gonna howl.

Me: Who’s the smartest girl in the world.

Precious: Me, me, me, I the smartest PreciousGirl. Did you see Momma, Momma did you see me run around and play with the Precious in the mirror. She looked like a PreciousGirl. I know, I know, I know because you show me the Precious Girl every time you take a picture.

Me: And you were the bestest behaved PreciousGirl there, weren’t you. I just wanna know why you can’t be bestest behaved every day at home like that.

Precious: But, but, but it’s too hard behavin’ at home, Momma. You had all my good, good, good treats and it smells like doggies there, so easy peasy to behave there. Home is hard hard hard to behave ‘cause I wanna chew ev’thing & jump on ev’body and show them how Precious the PreciousGirl is.

Practicing these commands brings about some Precious conversation.

Precious: Treats, treats, are you at the Treat Cabinet, Momma. Imma sit right now because Treats mean Sit.

Me: Good girl, we gonna practice

Precious: But, but, but Momma all I gotta do is Sit & look Precious. See, see, see how precious I am.

Me: C’mon now do it like Ms. Melissa taught us.

Precious Loves The Mommy
Precious Loves The Mommy

Hoping the class keeps her interested and behaving once she gets more comfortable in the environment and around the other dogs. There is a marked difference in her behavior on her lead as compared to how she behaves when she is allowed to run free. I see the leash will be part of her “uniform” soon. Hoping for the best behaved Service Dog in the world out in public and on her leash working but my fun fun fun puppy at home when we don’t have to worry about work or other people.

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Yes, She is The Most Precious Girl In The World

Yes, She is The Most Precious Girl In The World

Woof Woof Wednesday

Life With A Service Dog

Prayer First:

Lord, there is a lot of darkness in this world and sometimes it settles too deep in the atmosphere. This brings a negative energy into the body-language and voice of our world. I am asking you today, to please release everybody I love of any negative thoughts, feelings, and give them the light they need to see a brighter side and feel better about their world. I ask this in God’s name.

Amen

Thinking About Dogs

My husband and I began to understand the impact my CrazyAlphabetDisorder was having on our environment sometime in September 2012. We began to “think” about a service dog for me so that I could get out of the house more. By “think,” I mean, I would see a commercial about service dogs and do online research about getting one and periodically tell my husband that it might be beneficial. He would listen, and tell me that the reason a dog licks a person’s face is because he knows he was just licking his own butt. He DIDN’T want a dog. I clearly understood. I didn’t want one either, not one that wasn’t ready for life with me. I’ve already had them. I loved my dogs and tried to take great care of mine when I had them, and knew I did NOT want the frustration of starting with a puppy like raising a child again.

I wanted a dog that was housebroken. He should already know the commands I need for walking with me, going to the gym, groceries, laundry, etc. My service dog would know he has a job and was ready for work when we got him. The dog I need would know that “COME” means, “No matter where we are, if Momma says ‘COME’ – I come and be next to her, on her lap if I can; if not, as close and gentle and loving as possible. ‘COME’ means come & comfort Momma because she’s in a moment.” I know that the best place for me doesn’t have more than I can manage, and NO, I couldn’t manage a dog that was not already trained and ready for work. Research showed me that a dog like that would cost thousands of dollars we didn’t have. So we continued to “think” about it.

Big Blue

Then, along came BigBlue. He came from the country and actually didn’t belong to the people he lived with. Imagine waking up and going outside and there’s a huge Blue Nose Pitt Bull sitting on your porch. To me, he looked to be about 100-120 lbs, but my husband only gives him 80 lbs; still huge. He has the goofiest grin and a nearly vibrating ass because he shakes his tail so hard. He always seemed to show up at just the right time, and would be there a few days then go away. We’d miss him because we knew he was being locked up at home and not allowed to run off in country like he does, but he’d escape often and come back just in time again. There was something about him that just “knew,” and it became obvious he “knew” when I got there.

BigBlue for Oct21 post

I don’t do well with chaos, conflict, or any kind of changes to my routine or environment that I’m not mentally prepared for. Being in the country like that was something almost too different for me. I can’t say anything really bad about it. There were good friends who supported me in my mess, loving children to distract me from my mental turmoil, and lots of adventures to write about. I appreciate everything about it more than I can explain here. The thing I am most grateful for is that when BigBlue knew we needed him, he came, and he made sure my husband knew a dog like him was handy when he knew I would be leaving soon.

A big fire had been lit out back, and everyone was having a good time. But, with little ones running around, and about four more grown-ups than the CrazyAlphabetDisoder allows me to tolerate I needed to be in my corner of the living room sofa. The little ones and I would talk a bit every time they went through and everybody came in to ask if I was ok and why didn’t I come and hang out. I know my limits and that sofa was just about as far as I could go that night. If I had to explain to one more person that I was just fine and might get out later I might have just screamed. It wasn’t their fault. I tried to explain my limits before I got there, but it really is difficult for most people to get. So, I would rather people think I am unsocial and pouting on the sofa than know I was there because too many people, a little bit more chaos than I’m accustomed too, or too much whatever was causing anxiety I’d give ANYTHING not to feel or show to ANYONE. But BigBlue “knew.”

Thank You

My husband was next to me, trying to coax me outside when it happened. Thank you, BigBlue for choosing just the right moment. He came in and wedged himself between a 3’X3’ coffee table storage. He pushed it enough out of the way with his big ol’ body so he could squeeze in and sit. When he did sit, it was so he could lean his full weight against the front of my legs. As I felt his body relax with a long sigh, he leaned against me. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I was breathing ok again and not on the verge of panic.

My husband also recognized what he saw, having only seen it a few times before. It’s a physical relaxation that changes my whole body, demeanor, and stance. It only comes when I’m in a place where I can be ok with whatever is around me. When he saw how this dog knew when I needed him and exactly what to do he didn’t “think” about it much longer. We have since moved on from there and I miss BigBlue and talk about him often. He is such a good boy, and I know he still visits when they need him because he’s just like that. He “knows.”

My husband thought about it for about four months after we left from there. Then, I got a text from him one afternoon before he got off work. The text had a picture of a mom and some pups, and the words, “thinking about the brindle one.” I asked how big and boy or girl and the most PreciousGirl in the world was delivered the next day at 5am.

2015-10-21_20.41.54

And Her Name Is Precious

She really is a PreciousGirl. With her coloring I thought of Tiger as a name, and that conversation went:

Me: Look at you, aren’t you precious, you look kinda like a li’l tiger with your stripes I think I’m gonna call you Tiger.

Precious: Momma, momma, no no no Tiger is not my name, you already said my name, do I really really have to tell ya’ – c’mon, Momma look look, watch me, Imma make the Precius face.

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With just the cutest, most precious expression and one little ear cocked just so.

Precious: See, Momma, look look look how Precious I can be.

Me: Oh my goodness that face, just so Precious – ok then, I understand, your name is going to be Precious.

Precious: Yeah yeah yeah – I’m so glad you listened, now take me outside so I can pee because after that I’m curling up next to you in that bed and you just gonna love me and hug me and love me so so so much because I’m a beautiful Precious Girl.

Precious Oct 21 post

That was August. We are now in October. Yes, she is the most amazing PreciousGirl in the world. Showed how smart she was right off from the start. She already knows Sit, Shake, and Heel really well. She has the best prance when she wants to be cute as we walk together. We’re working on Stay and Come. Training with a group that works with service dogs begins next Monday. I really can’t wait. I can’t wait because our talks are beginning to become more like this:

Precious: Momma Momma Momma, c’mon c’mon c’mon, take me outside I need to go, right now Momma, I said take me out right NOW!!!

Me: Ok, lets get on the leash, wait Precious, gim’me a sec’, no, girl. I said wait!

She pulls me down the steps with the full force and weight of her body.

Precious: Yeah yeah yeah, I’m so glad we outside, Momma. Look, Momma look look, is that a frog, I wanna sniff it and, oh now wait, where did it go, oh yeah, I wanna smell everything and eat everything, yeah yeah, this is so cool.

Me: C’mon, Precious, we came out to potty, I got’ta write, are you gonna potty for me, C’mon, give me some poop, or whatever, just go potty for me

Precious: I will I will, just wait, we got’ta go over here, yeah, over here, oh wait, maybe over there, no no no, ok yeah this is the spot.

Me: Good girl, you’re such a good girl for going potty outside, c’mon, now, let’s go in, time for me to write

Precious lays down on the ground with all four legs spread eagle. I really have to get a picture to post soon.

Precious: Wait wait wait, Mommy, look, see what I doing, oh that feels so good with my belly on the cool ground, no, Mommy, I’m not ready to go in.

And then I have to drag her across the ground until she decides to walk again. Those kinds of walks end with me fussing Precious as we go back inside.

Precius Oct 21 post

Me: Your name is Precious, not Obnoxious, stop it and come inside with me. C’mon now I HAVE TO WRITE.

We go in and play toss the rock a little. I usually get to settle into writing about a half hour later when she lays down with her rock, or bear, or rope. This time, she let me write the whole post. I was able to write for almost 2 ½ hours before PreciousGirl started telling me it was time to go back outside. As if she knew her best buddy besides Daddy was home and it was time for some fetch.

I am so happy training begins Monday.