Cherry had a wonderful training session with Lauren, who suffers from Dysautonomia/Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and her SDIT, Decker. She writes:
“Lauren and I had a great training session today. We talked about the importance of having her “dog training voice” and not just the “mommy who loves Decker” voice. J I like to give examples, so I asked her how she would speak if Decker was walking towards something that would hurt him? She agreed her voice would be much firmer, and that’s the voice she needs with Decker who needs positive direction.
Their heeling, sits, and stays are doing very well as well. We also worked on stair climbing. Decker likes to go ahead of Lauren on the stairs, which can be dangerous for Lauren, so I taught her to get Decker into a firm SIT! before attempting the climb. This snapped Decker out of his mission to go on ahead, and he walked nicely next to her up the stairs and down again. Lauren agreed it made a huge difference!
We started working on their three specific tasks today. One of them was to fetch Lauren’s medications. We needed to start with an empty bottle; this was just for Decker to get the idea of bringing the meds to her but we didn’t want any risk of the bottle being punctured and Decker ingesting any of them. I also told Lauren that you should never try teaching a dog to fetch push out meds from a cardboard container; it’s too dangerous because the cardboard will soften in the dog’s saliva and then the drugs inside can accidentally be swallowed.
Once we feel safe and are confident that Decker will just retrieve and not try to chew or play on the bottle, we can start adding small amounts of meds so that he can get used to the sound of the bottle.
Lauren is going to spend lots of time practicing; next time we are going to do some more in-public store work.