Tuesday, December 13, 2011

4-H CCI Field Trip

The last class of 4-H CCI for 2011 was held tonight at our local outdoor mall. The sights were fabulous with all the decorations, the nippy low 30 temps, and crystal clear night's sky. I managed to keep warm minus my toes. I forgot to wear my heavy socks in my boots and boy, did it make a difference!
My son was the Raiser for Haddie tonight, while I helped shuffle the kids from here to there, hold elevator doors open while some piled in, clicked the Trainer's camera while she attended to Haddie and my son, and watched my son do a fantastic job with Haddie. My hubby came along tonight too to snap all of our fun pictures. Thank you!
My girl was asked by our Trainer to take her dog on a double leash with a young sibling of a boy in the 4-H Club. While the boy is a regular in class with the Trainer's dog, with a smile and a wink to my girl, she said she would rather have another person attached to the leash while in public.
My girl did a great job hanging out with the young boy, she learned a lot of interesting facts as he seemed pretty darn smart!, and she liked being assigned the Trainer's dog because ... the dog knows everything!  The sibling's brother is in line to be a Handler of a Service Dog, and the sibling is pretty excited to have a dog in his household. What a neat gift for the whole family.
I think the best part about our 4-H CCI Club is that the three adult leaders are so accommodating, including every single person, their wisdom is sky high, and they have a combo attitude of "Why Not?" and "You can dog it!" towards the dog and the kids. To say I am pleased and excited to have found this connection is an understatement.
I also learned tonight through observation that I might have my socialization of Haddie off by just a touch. When I take her on outings, I am currently thinking of her as a graduate dog in that I expect her to just walk beside me, sit when I command, and down when commanded. That is all correct. However, the aspect that I am really lacking - which I will be changing starting now - is that I need to actually train Haddie.

By that I mean ... we need to do more of this:
The command was Up, and while Haddie had never been trained on that, our Trainer included her in the task and trained us on how to train Haddie. I need to do this more often - thinking out of the box. Practice a variety of commands while in public. Take the time to just stop and practice, and ignore all the stares and thoughts about what others are thinking. I mean really, a dog doing an Up on an ATM machine gathers attention quickly.
I guess I knew this, but had never really stopped to think about it. Haddie needs to get all her experiences in training, not just walking correctly beside me. Training. (I am repeating myself so I don't forget - Ha!). I know I am not too late, Haddie is just 5 1/2 months old and has also needed time to just wander with me in public. But now that she is nearing 6 months, I need to step it up a level.
In addition, our Trainer suggested that we start traveling to other cities. Example; my local grocery store has a certain smell, look, and feel to Haddie. Take the same chain store in a different city and it will produce a different smell, look and feel to Haddie.  Unlike the way humans view the world, dogs view it completely differently and it will make a difference in training.
Inspired - I am ready to rock and roll with Haddie on a whole new level. Excited. Not only that, but she graduated to the "official" Puppy in Training Vest tonight. Woo Hoo - no more snug puppy vest fit; she can actually have room to breathe.
And speaking of vests ... an employee at Costco today asked me, "Where do you get those vests your dog has on there?"  I told her it came with the dog. She looked confused, so I continued ... "She is a Puppy in Training as a Service Dog. She is owned by Canine Companions for Independence and the vest came with her." Still looking confused, as if Haddie was wearing a vest sold at Petco, she said, "Oh, because I have been looking for one for my dog."  Hmmm, sorry - not available.


  1. So glad you guys had a fun time! Haddie looks so professional in her big girl vest. How cool that you're starting the basic cues for what will be more advanced tasks! One thing at a time, I rather think it's a good thing you waited on the "up" cue, so she doesn't try jumping up. Also, better for puppy joints! Not sure about Labs as much, but I know Newfs aren't supposed to be jumping at all for a year or two.

    Quite lucky that that Costco person ran into a nice person like you rather than a SD handler. I would have chewed her out quite thoroughly, and I'm one of the kinder ones.

  2. Haddie looks so cute in her new cape! How do you respond to people who want vests like these for there pet dogs? I don't think those people really get it.

  3. She really didn't get the vest-thing. I don't think she was listening, she was just waiting to hear where to get one for her dog. Sigh.

  4. I've had a few people ask me about the vests too. I always tell them that she has one from CCI because she is in there training program as well. The sad thing, though, is that people can go online and custom order vests with patches that say service dog for their pet.

  5. I know - and I was not about to give her that answer!! LOL!! =)

  6. Sounds like fun! I love our class outings!
    I've had four or five people ask me if CCI will train their dog for them, but never anyone wanting a cape :D
    It looks like you're doing a great job!!!

    ~Elijah & Hobart II

  7. Haddie looks great in her grownup vest, congrats. Isn't it exciting to learn a new thing you can try? I'm trying to remember not to say, "gee, why didn't I think of that" and instead say, "oh boy, a new adventure!" It sounds like you've got that idea down!

  8. I think our Trainer is so amazing, that I am just in awe and want to try it exactly as she presents it. It is exciting. Some weeks I wish we could go to class every day. She is just so calm, and so full of wisdom. I know I'll get the routine and gist of this the longer I do this volunteer gig - but until that time, I enjoy soaking up all her wisdom.

  9. Well, if someone really isn't getting the whole "you need to be disabled" thing, you can always start talking about the horribly hard aspects of training, and what happens to fakers (stretch the truth, there are no faker laws here.) Fines, jail time, fraud. Then also the hardships, two years, expenses, training, possible wash out, low passing rate. It makes people a little more wary of it, so far that approach has worked for me.