From our wonderful trainer, Brenda, who is working with Denise. Denise is a Vietnam Era Veteran with PTSD due to MST while on active duty. She also got hurt in basic training, which over the years led to her being in a wheelchair. She can walk and stand for short periods, but not much more.
“Denise, her SDIT, Sandy and I spent the first half of the session with Denise showing me all the things they had been practicing since our last session. Sandy is now doing exceptional at “sit”, “down”, “sitting back up from down position”, and “watch me with verbal and hand commands and without treats”; “waiting” for her treat when she does get one; she is “heeling” perfectly either next to Denise or just in front of her wheelchair. Sandy is now much better when she sees a dog or cat – no longer barking, and Denise can get Sandy’s focus back easier. I gave her some suggestions to fine tune her training even more. Denise needs Sandy to be able to go on the bus with her, so to prepare for that, we practiced with my wheelchair-accessible van. I was inside, lowered the ramp so Sandy would know to “sit/stay” while it’s lowered and get used to the sound, and then Denise would give her the command to “load”. She caught on quickly, so we will go on the bus the next session.
At the next session, we worked on public and bus training. This was Sandy’s first time on a bus and in the store. Sandy waited patiently for the ramp to come down and wasn’t bothered by it! I entered/exited the bus, first backwards to help coax her while Denise told Sandy to unload. She was very nervous and unsure the first time, but did much better on the return trip. She laid down and was perfect on the ride! At HEB, Sandy and Denise entered perfectly. At first, Sandy was a little distracted by the people and smells, but by the time we left, she wasn’t paying much attention to anyone or the food. She mostly stayed where she was supposed to and will do better navigating as she learns “left and right”. Denise is starting to work on that with her.
I dropped something loudly while I was rolling behind them to create a distraction. Sandy glanced back to see what the noise was, but didn’t stop walking! She was very patient while Denise looked at things and waited in line. I was very impressed for Sandy’s first time in HEB and on the bus! She is quickly catching on to what is expected of her and I anticipate her being even better when we work on it again this weekend. They are such a pleasure to work with!