Monday, January 11, 2010

Cast of Character #3 of 5

This is Annie, my so-called Service Dog... if she doesn't kill me first.  She kind of fell in my lap about a year ago when she was 4 months old.  She belonged to a friend who is in a wheelchair and Annie was just too rambunctious for her to handle.  I offered to take her for a few days to train the basics.  A few days ended up being a couple of weeks, a month, 3 months.  Then we found out that her birthday was on the same day as Jacob's, so we decided she was meant to be with me. 

But ohmyhell was/is Annie a trial.  The "real" training for a service dog doesn't begin until they're 18 months old, sometimes even 2 years, depending on the type of help they are to be doing for their human.  If they're going to be doing physical work, like pulling a wheelchair, the bone structure needs to be fully grown. 

She is 19 months now, and is just now starting to act like a grownup, rather than a spazzed out ADHD teenager on speed.  Her puppiness nearly drove me insane, because one day she'd be perfect, and the next day... well, she needed to be thrown into the dumpster.

She's VERY smart.  Lessons learned so far:

Sit.  She's the best sitter in the world.  Oftentimes, people think I've said "shit" instead of "sit".  She's the best shitter in the world too.

Go potty.  (She goes on command, which explains why she's the best shitter in the world, and it's damn handy when it's -16 degrees outside) (Also when it's time to work, and I make her go potty before we leave in the car)

Stay.  (Somewhat - still working on certain situations, such as when I disappear around a corner) (she has to sit and stay when I put food in her dish, and not touch it until I've fed the other dogs, and the cats, and after I release her with a "ok".  She does this perfectly).

Heel (On leash and off.  This was the biggie.  She was/is a "puller".  Because she is to help me with my balance, this was a problem.  I can't count how many times she made me fall).

Help me up.  (Thanks to the above problem, I discovered that she is an excellent "brace" for helping me back up from a fall).

Drop.  (the ball, frozen catshit, the toy, whatever I deem droppable)

Kiss.  (Altho we don't do this as often as we used to since discovering her penchant for frozen catshit). 

Turn.  (This is just a head's up for when she's on the bike leash, and I'm about to make a left or right turn).

Right side/left side.  (When we're walking, I try to keep her on the side furthest from the road). 

Go get your ball, duck, or skunk.  (She can differentiate between the items listed.  It's adorable when I tell her to go get her duck before we go outside, and she scopes out the house looking for the correct item, and she's so proud of herself when she finds it).

Go Around. 
(This is a great one - when she's on leash and she goes around a tree, person, table legs, whatever - I tell her to "go around" and she untangles herself.  It's surprising how many situations this comes in handy, both on leash and off).

That's all I can remember for now.

She's my favorite.

This is her most recent picture.  Note the forty eleven toys in her toy ... cubicle. 

Do I dare Facebook my blog... that is the question.

Best regards,

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