Here's a new picture of me. As you can see, I like to talk a lot. Mom took my picture in mid-sentence. I don't remember what I was saying, but I'm sure it was really amazing. I have very interesting conversations with mom and John.
I'm very quiet when I'm out in public however (unless we're doing a demo and Score is showing-off...darn puppy!) All of the stuff that I like to do at home, I refrain from doing out in public...sneezing in human faces, snorting into pillows when I roll around on the couch, and talking back to mom...I leave that all at home.
Being a self-trained Service Dog is really fun, but it is a lot of work. Mom and John had to work with me quite a bit on different skills and behaviors. They didn't have help to do this, they did it all on their own. This is all legal, because there is no national certification for Assistance Dogs. There is much debate on this topic...which we hear about all of the time, and everyone has their ideas. One of the problems with not having a national certification program is that people like to take their pets with them to restaurants or malls, or put "Service Dog" capes on them so they can fly in the airplane with them. People tell us this all of the time, thinking we'll think that they're clever or something.
John's first Service Dog was a big smooth collie named Charlie. I met Charlie a few times, he was nice, but he was really old, and not really interested in playing. Charlie retired when he got old, and laid around the house doing nothing. John said he retired him when he just refused to pick up stuff anymore. When he retired, Fidos made a video of all his pictures from his years of service...and played the song "Take This Job and Shove It". That summed up the Charlie that I knew.
Charlie was from Fidos For Freedom...trained by them and matched with John. He's what the industry calls a "Program Trained Dog". He was donated by a breeder, raised and trained by volunteers, and matched with John as a client when he was ready. John got another Fidos dog after Charlie retired, but he didn't work out due to temperament issues. He is now working at a different career (Search and Rescue). John didn't get another Fidos dog because nothing at the time was going to work for him. He started using me around the house, and then moved on to using me in public too. I just kinda fell into this job! I'm what's called a "Self-trained Service Dog"...as I was not trained with an organization. There are many people out there that train their own dogs to help with their disability. We are not alone!
I am a Fidos For Freedom Therapy Dog however. The Therapy program is for people who bring their pet dogs in to train in a group environment, and take their dogs to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc. John and I work as a Therapy Dog team, and often demo our Service Dog work too. I like having different hats!
We had a big party in the backyard today...an Ice Cream Social. Many of our friends showed up to eat homemade Frosty Paws (four-legged friends) and ice cream (two-legged friends). We ran around the yard and played...and dunked in the baby pool. It was so much fun! Mom took lots of pictures, but they're not uploaded yet...be patient!
I've got to go crash on the couch now...it was a LOOONGGG day!
Mom saw this, and said she had to post it. Even though she's trained OUR cat...she says it's not easy. She thought this would be perfect for my blog. (see that, one guest posting, and she starts taking over).
Mom is the guest blogger for this post...I was too sick to pay much attention to anything this past weekend. (I'm fine now!)~SDS
Score earned his FD (Flyball Dog-20 points), FDX (Flyball Dog Excellent-100 points) and FDCh (Flyball Dog Champion-500 points) titles this weekend. He's now officially Herart's Makin' Trax FDCh.
Yea! Okay, here are the gory details (well, not gory, but gross)
Score was on the same team as Sawyer...I figured if Score was doing well, I'd pull Sawyer instead of pulling someone else's dog for my green (inexperienced) pup.
We did single dog racing on Friday night. We got out there, and did a recall. Score comes tearing to me! Then we do a few warm-up runs...he does fantastic...hits the box high, whips off and comes to me. Then we line up to run the actual races. (five races against one other dog in the other lane. We false start the first one, so he's ahead of the other dog (a big fluffy samoyed). I hold back so he's not false starting on the second run. The second run, he sees the dog going out, and stops and looks at me. "I can't go, there's a dog over there, and you're gonna yell at me!" The other dog comes back, he runs and does fine. Third race, same thing. So for the last two, I just let him false start (no times, but at least he succeeded!). His times...4.6, 4.8. We go celebrate that night...Peach Flips and Jell-O shots...
I'm still not really planning on running him a lot...just some warm-ups, maybe a few runs if Sawyer is tired. This is more just practice for him...I don't think he's truly ready yet.
Flash forward to Saturday morning. (me with a headache) Sawyer goes out with me and the others to potty that morning at the motel. He won't go. I take him back in, and tell John that he hasn't gone yet. John takes him into the building at the site, and I take him later and put him in his crate. Forgetting that he didn't potty earlier, neither one of us potties him again. A while later, we're all in the crating area trying to figure out what smells. The puppy is fine, everyone is fine...but Sawyer, who has done the poop dance in his crate. Smeared it everywhere.
We run Sawyer in the first race, and he's spitting out treats and not acting like himself. I tell my teammates that I'm gonna bring Score out for the next race in case Sawyer needs relief. Sawyer proceeds to have diarrhea in his car crate during the wait. (shoving the old throw-away blanket out of the way to poop directly on the crate pan).
Next race out, we bring Score out...and Sawyer. A teammate holds Sawyer on the sidelines, while I warm up Score. He does beautifully in the warm-ups...so I put him on the line-up. He runs with a bit of hesitation...checking out the small toy poodle in the other lane. The boxloader reported that he was keeping one eye on the other dog. He runs two really well, and then the third race...he decides to cross over to say hi to that cute little poodle. We lose that one, and Sawyer comes in. (and proceeds to run okay...only okay)
The next race out, I try him again...we go in and run well for the first two, and lose the third because Score gets excited and craps in the lane. Yes, my day was really crappy. Sawyer then has liquid poo in his crate, and lays in it. He gets hosed off twice in one day.
By the end of Saturday, he was looking good, and we were taking Sawyer out on the lanes too, just in case. We go to our motel that night, he crashes on the bed, while the humans all meet in a teammate's room for Peach Flips (yes, we came with a blender)...jell-o shots and vodka shots.
Sunday...gonna be a good day, no headache, no diarrhea from Sawyer.
Score goes in the lane first race, and just does wonderful. No pooping, no crossing...the report from the boxloader is that he's looking at the other dog, but more to gauge where they are. He's racing! His best time for the weekend? 4.6...but he mananges a couple of 4.7s, 4.8s and the like. Nothing much over 5, once he hit his stride. I was slowly backing him up (starting at 10-15 feet)...to give him room to get up to speed. Passes were still a bit wide 4-5 feet...so he's just gonna get faster.
His box turn? High, fast and tight. Beautiful...he actually kicked his boxloader in the crotch at one time...turning off that box. Kept it high all weekend...kicked some ass with that turn.
So it all worked out perfectly, Score got to run and earn titles, Sawyer got to sit out and be sick (lovely)...and everyone was happy. Oh yeah, and I kept asking the photographer...to see if he could get some pics. He was always up racing when we were up. *pout* But by the end of the weekend, he came up and told me that he did manage to get some of Score...so I had to give him a big hug...I was so happy! Once they go up on his site, I'll be sharing them!
We won a contest a few weeks ago...and we won a free lead from one of our favorite companies...Ella's Leads. The other part of the prize is a new collar from Collarmania...but we haven't decided to what to order yet! The new collar will be for Score. For the contest, we had to write a poem about our humans, from our perspective.
The new lead is going to Xander, as he needed a new purple lead for flyball (purple is our team color). He already loves it...(see above).
Here is our winning poem:
My Mom: A Poem in Five Parts
My mom should feed me more. More, more, more. Despite this neglect, She is a good mom. She lets me lie all day in the sunshine. My coat is now cheeto orange. She hates it, but lets me be. My mom should feed me more.
My mom should throw the ball more. More, more, more. Any ball will do. But tennis balls are best. She is a good mom though, and takes me to play FLYBALL. I do love her. She even lets me snore in her ear. But she could throw the ball more.
My mom should buy me more. More, more, more. More leashes, collars and coats. A girl can never have enough pink in her wardrobe. She is nice though. She even dresses us alike sometimes, with matching pink bandanas. She likes to be a girl too.
My mom should stop talking to me. No more, no more, no more. I shall only listen to John now. John never gives me baths. But, mom does hand out more treats. And she does give us all dinner. Okay. Maybe mom can talk to me a little bit. When she's feeding me.
My mom should give me more love. More, more, more. Does she not understand that I am a needy bully? The others don't require as much love as I do. I am a huge sponge ready to soak up hugs and kisses. She is always squeezing me and smooshing my face, and poking my padded head. But I should get more! Maybe I'll go sit on her.
A poem in five parts Written with Love by Ripley, Xander, Inara, Sawyer and Score
P.S. Those who have Hearing Dogs in MD...and need orange leads...Ella's Leads have blaze orange mountain rope leads...and can make custom ones for you. :)
We did a craft show yesterday, to sell some of our work. Mom makes doggy items, and John makes hand-turned pens and other items. (his "company" name is Sawyer's Turn...isn't that cool?) We had to get up really early and be at the show, and set up by 7 am. John and I do NOT like to get up in the morning...so this was hard work.
We stayed there until 2pm. The day was really, really long. Met lots of nice people, and some of them pet me...I like that. I like when I meet little kids, especially. I had a nice bed to lie on all day, since it was a hard linoleum floor. The air conditioning was broken though...so it was really hot too. Not the best show ever...since we only sold a few things. The highlight of the day...the Tastefully Simple couple at the table next to us brought over some samples for John...and for me! They brought chips and salsa for John, and chips for me...and "twisty grahams" and rhubard dip for John, and plain grahams for me. Nice! They were yummy! John bought some salsa from them...he seemed to like it.
It was the last day of school around here, and we got invited by a friend of mom's, to come do a Service Dog demo for her class. It's an alternative school...for the kids that have trouble in normal classrooms. We weren't sure what to expect...but the teachers mentioned that there might be lots of talk of "fighting" dogs. Ah...we'll take Score too!
So Score dressed up in his Demo-Dog cape...and I of course went in my OFFICIAL purple cape (I'm the real SD, Score!). We loaded up with items to retrieve, lots of treats, water, and other good stuff (mom way over-packs for everything!).
This is Score's third demo...but he does do a good job. He likes showing off his carrying skills...he carries a bottle of water for mom, and a bag with stuff in it...even his metal bowl. I don't carry stuff, because John just hauls stuff on his scooter or in his backpack. But Score seems to like doing that sort of thing. (good, so I don't have to!). Score was excited to see the kids...and wanted to get straight into the petting, but mom said "no"...that was for after the demo.
The kids didn't ask about dog fighting, and were all shocked when mom talked about Prince George's Co. pit bull ban. They couldn't believe that Score could be taken away for how he looks. It was a good demo for that alone!
I have to say that I had a bit of trouble settling today...I hate when Score steals the spotlight...I talked to mom a bit while she was talking. Mom just laughed and told everyone that since it's been so hot, we hadn't been out much. (sure...I'll let her think that!). I did do a fabulous job on my retrieves...a TV remote control, a bag full of mom's stuff (did I mention that she over-packs?), and a credit card. I also took a phone from John to mom. I was a very good boy.
We took questions from the kids (who were really good!). There were some really good questions...for instance-Don't they have to be certified? (who planted that kid?) Do they act different when the cape is off? Can they push elevator door buttons? So we answered questions, and let the kids pet us...Score even showed off more and retrieved stuff for them (Gatorade bottles). That pup is a show-off indeed!
Afterwards, we had lunch outside at the place nearby...and went home nice and tired. A good day!
We went to a birthday dinner for mom's sister (Auntie La-La is what we call her) tonight. We all drove down to N.VA and went out to a restaurant called American Tap Room. Mom says they have yummy crepes for dinner. I didn't get any to test out that opinion. Hmph.
John got settled, and I settled under the table, up against the scooter...and promptly fell asleep, as usual. This time though, we had more people join us after we got to the table...friends of my Auntie. They didn't know about me. We sat at the table all through dinner, and then mom got up to head to the restroom. When she pulled her chair back, a woman sitting at another table saw me lying there, and smiled and said something to her dinner companion. The people at our table (two were teenaged boys) were all shocked to know that I'd been under there the whole time.
Mom said I should introduce my brothers and sisters, since I talk about them all of the time. So...I guess I will. (she's making me do this!)
My oldest older brother is Ripley. He's an Aussie like me, but fluffy. He's really, really old! He's ten and a half years old. That's soooo old. He is retired from almost everything 'cause he's got arthritis. He used to play flyball, frisbee and do agility. But now he just does Therapy work, and occasionally plays around at the other stuff.
Xander is my other older brother. He's old too...he's seven! He's an Aussie too. All he wants to do is play ball. All of the time, it's really boring. And he's faster than me. He's stupid. This is what he does all of the time, stares at mom so she'll throw the ball. He does stuff for John too, if I don't feel like it. He can do everything I do. But I'm better.
This is Inara. She's a red merle Aussie. She's crazy. Seriously. Mom will agree. She thinks people are scary and likes to bark at them. She thinks she's the boss of us...but I tell her all the time that she's NOT. Then mom tells us to "CUT IT OUT!"
P.S. Look at her crazy eye! She's scary!
This is Score. He's okay, as brothers go. He's not an Aussie, but a pit bull/lab mix. He was supposed to be a Service Dog, but since we have BSL around here, he got a career change, and lives with us. He's a flyball dog (soon to be debuting!), and a Service Dog demo dog. He's alright. I wrestle with him sometimes. If I feel like it.
Mom says it's too hot to play outside...over ninety degrees out she says. I agree, it's too hot to do much of anything. So we're all inside wrestling with each other while mom surfs on the computer. She said that maybe we should do a post about the stuff we love for training. Sounds like a good idea to me! So without further ado...here is some of our favorite stuff.
Premier Easy Walk Harness This is what I wear when I go out in public as a Service Dog. It is a front-clip harness...designed to keep me from pulling in a gentle, humane way. I can actually walk in buckle collar, but if I get the slightest pressure, I can gag for hours (mom timed me one time...it really was hours). So I use this harness. It fits under my SD cape nicely. My cape is purple, and I actually have a purple Easy Walk too! It's comfortable for wearing for long days, and I have no problem lying down with it on. Kong Tots Mom and Score went to their first Clicker Expo this past spring, in Lexington, KY. One thing they came home RAVING about was Kong's training treat...Kong TOTs (Traing Opportunity Treats). Mom had seen them before, but only in small containers at Petsmart. Kong was the Treat Sponsor at the Expo, so mom and Score got to try these treats in large quantities. Score absolutely loved them (of course Score would probably eat rocks too...who can trust a pit bull/lab mix in matters of food?). Mom bought a couple bags (large packages...not the wimpy little containers at Petsmart), and we're still going through them. These things are great! Low-fat, yummy beef liver, low-allergen (only two ingredients)...and they don't make a mess in John's treat pouch. I could eat these things all day! Monster Dog's Sure Grip Lead This is something that John got custom made a few years ago. We were at a flyball tournament in WI, and saw these folks with tug toys and leashes. (Mom bought a tuggie from them...still using it!) John saw this "Sure Grip" lead...and had to have one. It has a bumpy, rubbery outside, covering a flat core of nylon rope. Super strong, and it doesn't slip off his scooter armrest. He even ordered a custom one with two loops (one at each end) that he uses to maneuver his legs around now. These people are great, and did them to order...length, color, everything. Premier Manners Minder (fka Treat and Train) We LOVE this thing! I love it because it feeds me treats, mom and John love it because I'm quiet now. Wonderful for everyone involved. The Manners Minder is a remote treat dispensing machine. You can read more about how it works on their FAQ page. We are using it to keep me quiet when mom walks out of the door. I hate when she does that...and boy, did it work to keep being noisy! Now I get fed instead. Mom says we'll do a whole post about this later, with some pics...so be on the look-out for that!
Mom's gotta go deal with the puppy now...so talk to you later! ~SDS
Not much going on lately...just playing around in the yard. The gas prices are horrible (mom says so)...and John's van runs on diesel. We stay home more now. That's fine, as long as we still get to play!
That's my annoying sister, Inara, behind me. She thinks she needs to be in every picture...because she's so pretty.
Look how fast I am!
So fast, mom has trouble catching it on the camera!
Everyone at the house has been busy lately...no time to post on the blog.
See, the little Field Spaniel puppy that I was talking about last time I posted...yeah, she came into the Fidos program. Trouble was...we didn't have a puppy raiser lined up. So she came home with us. And she's been here ever since.
Her name is Dove, and she's currently 14 weeks old. She's all chocolate brown, with a bit of white on her chest. She's fun to play with...sometimes.
Mom has gotten her started on her training...she says that Dove loves the clicker. I wouldn't know, 'cause mom always locks us out of the room when she's training her. Something about us getting in the way...Hmmph.
John calls her the chocolate covered shark, for her habit of diving out from under the couch to attack. I think she's getting too big to continue this game for much longer though! Score finds it much funnier than I do!
She climbs all over Score...he finds it all very funny. She nips him all over, and he just takes it all in stride.
I only like to play with her when I feel like it.
She annoys Xander to no end...he finds her absolutely annoying, and she finds him fascinating!
"Uncle Xander, Uncle Xander! I gotta tell you something!"
I'm sure mom will post more cute pics of The Puppy...she seems to have time only for her anymore. *sniff*