Haddie is entering Second Semester and the heat will be turned up a few as she learns new commands. The commands we worked for the 18 months that she was under our care are now solidly in place and they are working on the Advanced Commands that only the Canine Companion Trainers know and teach.
Haddie's May report came today. She continues free of negative check marks in the selection of negative behaviors, while all the positive boxes of behavior are marked (wow) . The new commands she is learning are: Retrieve, Hold, Get, Push, Light, and Interactive (not sure what that is), and she is working Ambulatory and with a Wheelchair.
I am amazed at the level of training she is receiving, and when the house is quiet and I am alone, I like to close my eyes and picture her in Advanced Training. To see her learning how to turn on a Light would be so much fun. I wish they would video tape and send me snippets from time to time. That would be very heartwarming!
The notes written by the Trainer state the following:
Haddie has been introduced to the Light and Step commands this month. We have also begun transferring known commands next to the wheelchair. She learns new skills quickly and continues to make progress in training. We have begun having the dogs maintain down-stays for periods of time while on tie-downs in the training room. Haddie has had some trouble with this and tends to sit up after a short time, but she has been responsive to correction. Haddie has had one incident of barking on-leash at a person who suddenly appeared in a window, but she responded to correction and recovered quickly.
Her negatives in the written section are more obvious than prior months. I guess the part where she responds to correction and recovers is a key that things are still going well for Haddie. I am curious if the added pressure to work is making this girl a little stressed, or if she is trying to figure out if this is the life she wants to lead. But at the same time, it could mean nothing, and dogs just have bad days like we have bad days.
The barking surprised me. Haddie? Barking? Given the situation, it seems like she gave out a Warning Bark (which in my book, I wouldn't take as negative - but I am not the Trainer, nor a lucky Handler who can be a recipient of one of these beautiful dogs). I do know other dogs that have been released for Warning Barks, so this makes me start preparing my heart and mind.
In regards to the tie-out, yikes - I take responsibility for that. I talked with our Trainer tonight, she said it was not a big deal (yet). Here is the deal, however, because it never occurred to me while Haddie was living with us ... we use Tie Outs for a different reason; to secure our dog and walk away knowing they can sit, lay down, chew on toys, sleep, stand, whatever ... the dog is secure and you can take a phone call, do a house project nearby, etc. (we never leave the dog alone on a tie-out, we still need to be in the room/close by).
It honestly never occurred to me to command a Sit or Down while Haddie was on a tie-out. Never occurred. Sure, we worked off the tie-out on every command - and my Trainer knows that Haddie could hold an extended Down Stay like a pro (she saw when we practiced in class, at at Fair when it was a required judging piece). Haddie is a rock star on Down. Just not during a tie-out ... poor thing was probably really confused!!
So - that makes it hard for me, because I could have helped Haddie with this while she was here. Kolby will be getting a good dose of this (in time, per Trainer). I hope it clicks for Haddie; that she has to listen to the command even though she is on a tie-out ... because it would really, really make me sad if she is released for something "silly" that I could have prevented. Sigh.
Time will tell Haddie's ultimate future. The final answer, no turning back, end of this story, and the beginning of the next story will occur no later than August 16th, as that is her potential Graduation Day.
Stay strong, Haddie Rosa!!! No matter the direction you choose, I will continue to be so proud of you. I am so happy you made it to Second Semester!!! I can't wait to see you again. Until then, work hard and choose your path. Love you, Girl!!!