Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, Everyone! We've had a terrific busy day! I've discovered that Sue and John don't take off on Holidays ... if anything, they tend to be busier than usual because their clients are off so they can come to class or take a private! We had a great 2nd week puppy class. We worked on "4 on the floor" to teach polite greetings using a tether. Each of us went up to all the puppies and gave them treats as long as all four feet stayed on the floor. Laurel had trouble with this for the longest time (if she's not working) - Hardy is already doing it quite nicely! We also worked on having the puppies settle in our laps while examining different body parts to prepare them for visiting the veterinarian.  We began the foundation for loose leash walking with eye contact by waiting for the puppies to give us eye contact, clicking, then taking a step and dropping a treat. I do have one complaint about puppy class though ... how is it that I am the only person there who was wearing red and white in honor of the Holiday?
And, actually, I've been working to teach Hardy to walk with my power chair since right after we got him. I'm trying something different with him than what I did with Laurel. Because my power chair by itself weighs about 350 lbs., I was totally unwilling to risk running over Laurel's paws when she was a puppy. I used my chair around the house with her off leash but when we went out, I had her in my lap. When she got to be about 4 or 5 months old and too big to be on my lap but still too small to risk running her over, I stopped going out with her in my power chair. I used my manual chair and had my husband push. That meant that we didn't take Laurel out very much and I'm not sure that delaying her learning to walk with the power chair was a good or necessary thing. When she was about 8 months old, we started working with her off lead with my power chair in the training hall using "touch" to help her find the position next to my chair that would work for us. Before I turned left, I would throw treats to the left so that Laurel would turn before my chair did. Once she got comfortable next to my chair off lead, we added the leash and began adding more intricate movements. Generally, the training worked with a minimum amount of me running over her toes but I do think it took longer than it should have. Also, when we first started with the manual chair and then the power chair, Laurel would attempt to leap into my lap from time to time. It was pretty disconcerting and somewhat dangerous but of course, Laurel was used to sitting in my lap when we were out at first. 
We didn't put a leash on Hardy until we went to our first puppy class. We did everything off-lead, using young puppies' instincts to follow instead of depending on a leash. Since we've been in Canada, we've been doing some off lead walks around Sue and John's farm and at Marden Park. Hardy is proving to be quite aware of my chair and will come right up next to me without risking getting run over. He's doing very well and although obviously, I am very careful around him, I feel much more confident that he will stay out from under the wheels of my chair.

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