Clicker Expo and After

This entry is part 12 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

What a week! Mindy and I traveled to Clicker Expo in Norfolk, Virginia, and because I didn’t want to fly her, we drove. It wasn’t a bad drive, about 12 hours, and I broke it up into two days with a bit of hiking each way.

“Not a Real Service Dog”

On the way down, we had our first access trouble ever, when Mindy and I were ejected from a hotel after we were checked in due to her not being a “real service dog.” Continue reading

A New Face

This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Laura & Mindy the Guide Dog puppy

So I have an announcement to make… There’s a puppy here.

I know, I know, it’s really soon. Really soon. And, that’s a retriever face. But stay with me for just a moment.

I’d been thinking about raising a service puppy for months, actually. Guide Dogs for the Blind has opened a puppy program for KPA CTPs specifically, and I’d been kicking around the idea. I had finally decided against it, though, with my dogs being ill and not particularly retriever fans.

Continue reading

Shakespeare’s Last Week

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Cancer & the Fight

119-1910_IMGToday a friend bid goodbye to her dog. And today I made the awful appointment to end Shakespeare’s days with us.

I have much to be grateful for. He was given as little as 3 weeks to live when diagnosed, and today marks the 7th week. He’s positively ancient for his breed; if I had his pedigree, he could have received a longevity award nearly 4 years ago, and aside from the cancer he’s physically in better shape than other Dobermans I’ve seen his age. And despite all that I’ve read and heard about the horrid pain of bone cancer, Shakespeare seems to be in fairly little discomfort, which is an answer to prayer.

But that makes it hard, too. He’s not in severe pain. He’s still enjoying his life, chilling on the couch or sunning himself in our early autumn weather. How can I take that away from him? Continue reading

Training Dinosaurs: Watching Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (film score)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember a little film called Jurassic Park? It was recently re-released in 3D. I had forgotten that it first came out 20 years ago; it’s fun to re-watch it with my older, behavior-savvy eyes.

I went to the theater with Alena (also blogging regularly here), and as it was a late-night showing and we were the only patrons in the theater, we could indulge in a little chat as we watched. Continue reading

ClickerExpo San Francisco: Day 0

It has to be Day 0, you see, because ClickerExpo doesn’t even properly start until tomorrow….

First off, KPACTPs had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Oakland Zoo and see some amazing training. We were asked not to share photos or video — not because of anything they needed to hide, because honestly we saw fantastic work and entirely humane by the highest of animal care standards — but because they’ve had instances of images being circulated with attached incorrect information, and once out there it’s darned hard to correct. I can respect that, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the work with the bull elephant was some of the most impressive targeting work I have seen. Continue reading

Training a Dog to Wear a Muzzle

I ran into Chirag Patel at ClickerExpo last year. He showed me a Baskerville muzzle and asked what I thought of the design. “I’d like to try it,” I said. “I’m thinking of making a video on muzzle conditioning.”

“I have one,” he said. “Have you seen it?”

I hadn’t. And I soon realized there wasn’t a need for me to make another one.

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