From our trainer, Brenda, who is a paraplegic in a wheelchair and specializes in working with our other clients in wheelchairs, who has been working with Denise and her SDIT, Sandy!
“After several training sessions, I went through a mock Public Access Test to show me that Sandy was ready for her formal test. We did the following:
1) Sandy “loaded” onto the bus perfectly. I had also observed her loading into Denise’s provider’s truck Friday without hesitation.
2) Sandy “unloaded” off the bus perfectly.
3) Denise demonstrated “sit” and “stay” without a problem. Sandy did not pay attention to the food on the floor at McDonald’s and has never had an issue at home when Denise eats. We did not go to the grocery store, but I have seen in the past that Sandy has no issues with shopping carts in the store. Denise does not want anyone petting Sandy.
4) Denise demonstrated “down” with little problem. At 1st, Sandy was very excited and wasn’t focused, but Denise quickly got her full attention when she brought out the can of Pet Corrector! Sandy then laid down right away and stayed. Sandy laid right down in McDonald’s, too, and did not bother with food that was already on the floor. She did not break the down position when people walked by.
5) Denise and Sandy went through the door at her apartment and at McDonald’s with Sandy heeling just in front of her chair, out of the way of it and not too far ahead. Sandy also demonstrated that she knows her directions.
6) When we were going to and from the bus stop and restaurant, I observed that Sandy heeled perfectly next to Denise’s chair (or just in front of as needed), and there was slack in the leash so I know she wasn’t pulling. Traffic and noise do not bother Sandy. She stops when Denise stops.
7) Sandy executed “go through” perfectly and waits for Denise once she is through.
8) Sandy stays right next to Denise at all times.
9 & 10) For safety reasons, I did not have her demonstrate these; I feel more comfortable waiting to do these with someone who can walk just in case things go wrong. However, Denise told me of a situation last week where when they were getting dropped off by ViaTrans. Sandy saw a cat when the door opened, and Denise did not have good hold of the leash. Sandy took off after the cat and Denise said “NO Sandy! Come back here!” Sandy stopped right away and went back to Denise. Sandy did the “sit/stay/come” combo perfectly in the house.
11) I have done this in the past without Sandy even flinching, and she wasn’t distracted by noise or people on our outing today – so I didn’t drop anything. It also wasn’t feasible to do this rolling on the sidewalk. We only went to McDonald’s and not HEB too, as this would have been too much for Denise today and I didn’t want to be redundant on things I know that Sandy is perfect with and will pass on her official test.
I did do some wheelchair troubleshooting. There was an issue as far as the bus one time; Sandy did not have a place to sit in front of Denise’s chair, out of the aisle. I saw this in the past, and had been thinking of what we could do. I suggested that Denise make sure her chair was as far back as possible and to swing out the leg rest that was on the window side, put her foot on the floor to give Sandy more room to sit for the ride, and also to swing out the leg rest on the aisle side like a door when Sandy gets in and out to make it easier on her. Denise didn’t even know that her leg rests COULD swing out and I’m not sure that you would have known either or how to do it. Sandy was still hesitant to get into that spot, but I think it’s just from her past experience of having no room and being uncomfortable, so I advised Denise to be ready with treats to coax her there in the future until Sandy catches on that it is easier and she now has more room to sit comfortably. I made it clear to Denise that I am still here for her if she has problems and to call me so I can do more troubleshooting. I believe that once Sandy realizes that adjustments have been made and she has a big enough spot to sit every time, Sandy will go right into her spot without hesitation and it will be a faster process!
They are ready for their Public Access Test next session!