We’ve posted several times on training for when life catches you off-guard, like when you forget to put the meat in the fridge instead of on the floor. I had one of those moments today.
Over the weekend I was offered a big mirror, salvaged from a dressing room in the type of expensive store where I don’t usually find myself. I took it, because I didn’t have a full-length mirror, and put it behind my bedroom door. It didn’t have hanging brackets yet, but it was pretty secure in its place and I figured I’d get brackets this week. The dogs had seen it, knew it wasn’t a window to a new playmate, and generally they ignored it behind the door.
Until today, when the bedroom door was closed, exposing the mirror, and for some reason Undómiel decided to desultorily paw it — just once, and not particularly strongly. I saw and called her, but it was already moving. What followed was one of the longest seconds of my life, as the mirror tipped forward over my puppy who was looking back at me and couldn’t see it coming. I was on the opposite side of the room on the bed, with my feet up and a computer on my lap, and there was no possible way for me to intervene in time. Continue reading
So Penny, née Mindy, is a pet dog now. Aside from the obvious things like no longer accompanying us into restaurants, church, grocery stores, etc., her life has changed in other subtle ways. Like, I can feed her what I want now, instead of sticking to a national brand available at any big box store. And she can have treats beyond her strict diet, like popcorn which falls on the floor during game night, which she previously had to ignore.
This has been a rougher transition than you would think. But really fun. Continue reading
I’ve been given the opportunity to host the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, a collection of relevant blog posts on the topic of service dogs and their people.
This edition of the ADBC will go live on December 16, 2014. This round’s theme is:
This is an official call for posts! If you’d like to participate, write a post on service dogs, interpreting the theme “perceive” in any way you like. Continue reading
Mindy joined me at Gen Con this year. Because you can’t buy that kind of socialization experience. What is Gen Con, you may ask? Well, “Gen Con, LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction and adventure game convention in North America. Gen Con, The Best Four Days In Gaming!™”
(Actually, I think it’s the world’s largest?)
Mindy wasn’t the only service dog at Gen Con. Here’s an assistance dog appearing as Sir Didymus (from Labyrinth).
It’s a gaming (and SFF, miniatures, film, etc.) convention which takes over much of Indianapolis each year. I posted on Facebook that Mindy wasn’t impressed by the 60,000 people, but that was an exaggeration; this year’s actual count was 56, 614 attendees. But of course, most of those people came more than one day, so turnstile attendance was 184,699. The con runs five days, but Mindy attended only three, including the two busiest. And she was a rock star. Rock star, I tell you. Continue reading
Bear spray (Photo credit: jkbrooks85)
I was listening to a short podcast with Seth Freeman on negotiation — “be hard on the problem, soft on the person” — and there was a moment that I just had to grab and share with you. Continue reading
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So it was the Fourth of July this past weekend, Independence Day, with all the challenges that brings for pets and their people.
I was traveling with Mindy, the guide dog in training, and we did fireworks. With flying colors (terrible pun intended). Continue reading
Panorama of Toronto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I just made a short trip to Toronto with Mindy the Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy, and she was amazing. So if you don’t want to hear puppy bragging, you might want to move on — but if you want to hear about new challenges and how we met them (and how we used previous training to better handle these new situations), keep reading. Continue reading
For four months, Mindy ignored shoes in our house. I thought it was because I was carefully observing and reinforcing choice of her own toys, but actually it was because she was saving up all her shoe-chewing to unleash at once as she turned six months old. Continue reading
I’ve been traveling a lot lately, which has distracted me from the blog. But some of those travels are going to provide fun new blog posts, so in the long run it’s been worth it.
But now that I’m home, it’s more obvious that Mindy’s starting to mature, in that way when puppies are no longer quite so dependent on us for every little asset and therefore feel more comfortable to venture out on their own for more and longer periods of time. Or, as clients more typically phrase it when they call me, “she doesn’t want to come when I call.”
To be perfectly fair to Mindy, my yard has gotten a lot more interesting. I’ve acquired a small flock of guinea fowl to combat the local ticks, and they were just turned loose this week. They’re still clinging near the house, and they are FASCINATING to a young retriever. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I mentioned this, but this is a skill which we often wish our dogs had, but rarely teach them before we need it. Mindy had to learn it early, when a urinary tract infection required antibiotics.
So here’s a short video of Mindy taking her undisguised pill on cue — and not only taking the undisguised pill, but leaving a fun puzzle toy full of kibble to do so. Continue reading