From our trainer Michelle, in New Mexico. She is working with Suzy, who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her left leg, which is going into the right foot now.
“I met with SDIT Jake and handler Suzy yesterday in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We spend the approximately 30 minutes just reviewing items that needed to be handled and gone over as an overview. Our last meeting was before Thanksgiving 2014.
Jake is now 9 months old, and is a handful at times. Since there was a 2 month hiatus, we worked on regaining Jake’s focus and “leave it”. I am happy to report Suzy’s husband is now back from deployment, and readjusting at home with the family and Service Dog.
During my observations, I noticed Jake not listening to Suzy, but instead, following her husband Ted and watching him. I believe that Jake will do fine, he just needs to be reminded that he has to focus on Suzy first. I reminded Suzy that she needs to reinforce that bond between her and Jake. Jake may be focusing on Ted to make sure all is okay with him after his deployment.
Jake knows when he is working the vest is on. He is a little timid of the new laminate flooring that is being laid down in the house. Since he had an episode where he slipped once, he really does not like walking on it or on the floor in the kitchen. We began using baby steps with positive rewards for his movement into the other rooms with the laminate flooring. (Was cute, like watching a dog on an ice skating rink).
When we stood in the kitchen, Jake would not enter, and was good about listening; however, Jake believes it is okay to scavenge for scraps when the kids get up from the table. Although he prefers to not enter the kitchen, Suzy would like for him to be able to escort her through the kitchen into the laundry room. She is going to work on the invisible barrier for the kitchen when the kids are eating, and making sure all leftover scraps are cleaned up.
Jake has had accolades of praise from the doctors and physical therapists when he joins Suzy at appointments. The staff even ask first if they may approach! After working on “leave it”, and trying to get him to refocus on Suzy when Ted walks in and out of the room, we ran Jake for about 15 minutes, and he did great. Lots of encouragement for him to “bring” and “give” the ball. It was very rewarding when Ted gave Jake a can of soda and he “brought” the soda to Suzy (in a round-about way) – but it is definitely a start!
Suzy is now back to the grindstone, and working with Jake. I am excited to report that he will begin official training for his CGC, even though we know its not required; this will begin in March.
WOOHOO!!!! Great job Suzy, keep up the awesome work. I look forward to seeing how Jake does when he begins his “Puppy training.”