Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 9- Tues. Nov. 5th- Election Day!

Did you go vote???

I had a really hard time getting up this morning, after being up more than enough times last night.    However I made it out of bed and got myself ready and actually went down and talked to Chef Kevin to see if I could just have some toast and a banana for breakfast.    He actually still had some of the rice left that Ann Marie had fixed on Sunday, so he said he'd fix me some rice and toast instead.    Also got to meet the breeder stud dog that he had brought to work with him today as it was a "work" day for the gorgeous male lab.   I went back to the room and got all of my stuff together to take with me on our morning walk and then it was time to feed and water Boomer.   Barb made the call that it was time to break the dogs so took them out and then came back in for breakfast.   I was seriously dragging and just feeling under the weather.   So I ate my rice and toast and came on back to the room and grabbed my stuff and took off for the gathering room.

I put Boomer down and under the chair in one easy slide and more people were making their way to the gathering room as Consumer Services Manager, Karen, came in with the two breeder dogs she takes care of and things got a little crazy for a few minutes as all our male dogs were going "Helloooooo Darlings!"  LOL!    So we all got our dogs straightened out and settled back down and by this time everyone had made their way to the gathering room.   Trainer Jody was pretty sore after her fall yesterday and actually over lunch she did go get checked out and all was fine, just some pretty good bruising.   We all loaded up on the bus and we were off to the town of Kings Park for a walk through the downtown area.  

This time most of the students sat inside the bus and I went on outside as Barb had given me a "rake" and de-tangling comb to try on Boomer, as they are used for the goldens and the long feathering they have on their bodies.   So I went outside and went to give these a try on him and give him a pretty good brushing as I was waiting for my turn.   And the next thing I hear is BEEEEEP from my hearing aid.    I'm like oh, no big deal, I have batteries in my back pack.   I check the pocket and no batteries.    Then I think- no big deal, I also have batteries in the CI case I carry with me.   I dig it out and OYE!   No batteries there either.  So it beeps at me a second and a third time and then it turns off completely.    I'm sitting there thinking OK, how am I going to do this walk???   I have the CI but I hadn't taken the hearing aid off and try to go CI alone for quite some time.    I pull the CI out and soon it was my turn.

Barb comes up to get me and I tell her right off the back, the battery has died on the hearing aid,  so I'm on the CI only.   Plus, being that I've done all combination trainings with GDF before, I've never walked this route before, so this is going to be all new for me.   We take off country walk through the parking lot and walk straight up to the curb to the right of the driveway in.   We make a right and cross the street and work our way to the next street.   There were multiple signs, meters, and poles that Boomer expertly took me around.  We then made a right and made our way down the sidewalk which was somewhat uneven and then there was actually a break out in the sidewalk that was several inches deep and he made sure I stayed clear of this.   He slowed for the other break in the sidewalk as well.   We worked our way to the next corner and made another right.  

We continued on and was working our way down an incline in  which he worked very nicely.   The corner that we came to had two ramps and it was on a funky angle so the team has to walk pretty much in an S shape and because I didn't know the area and couldn't see the other ramp yet, Barb quickly jumped in and said Follow him!   I heard her in time and kept going and he took me to the right curb. :)  We then crossed the street and came to the next curb.   I had to angle myself Right as the path actually split into three ways at this point- left at an angle for the sidewalk, straight ahead into a church yard, and then right and around a large traffic light pole  to go up the sidewalk towards the main street.   The next corner was similar to the funky one we'd just worked, so Barb stopped me and warned me that this was a similar thing.    We worked through most of it beautifully, but being that we were nearly back to the bus, Boomer didn't want to make the right cut in to the curb.   Thus I reached down and tapped him and pulled the leash to the right to get him back in to position quickly.   He was anticipating that we were very close to the bus and KNEW where we were headed, so that's where he wanted to go.

We did another Left and then a Left, Find the way at the driveway entrance to the parking lot where the van was parked.   Barb told me to have him move over left a bit to follow the parking lot like a a country walk.    We stopped and I asked her then, what is the proper way to walk through a parking lot?   She explained that the dogs should treat it like a country walk, following along behind the row of cars, the dog between the handler and the cars and dipping in slightly if there is an opening, and if there is a long stretch of openings, the dog should go inward and treat it like a country walk there.

So we work around the bus and I tell him to find my seat and he took me straight there through the center of the circle of the other teams sitting outside. :)

Soon it was time to load up and head back to the Foundation for the afternoon, in which we were to work on dog distractions.   We first watered the dogs and then took them out to break before going to lunch.   I again stuck to the bland diet of rice and a couple of pieces of toast, hoping feel better.    Lunch was good and I was really tired having been up most of the night before in fitful sleep.   So I took off pretty quickly back to the room and still had a little over 45 minutes until time to meet up again and I'd found that taking my shoes off and stretching out on the bed was some really good downtime and I felt a lot better in the afternoons when I'd do this.   Well, yeaaahhhh, I did this and was out within minutes.    Next thing I know I hear someone knocking on the door and I jump up and I'm apologizing to Barb.   She's like don't worry about it, you needed it. :)   Come on down with your dog.   I threw on my shoes and grabbed the leash and off we went to the gathering room.

We started the afternoon with almost a mini-lecture, basically Barb introduced us all to the Gentle Leader- a head collar that is used on the dog to give you more control for specific situations.   Some use them to slow a dog down, some use them to keep the dog from scavenging, some use them when a dog has a little too much of a dog distraction and there are other uses too, but the purpose of this was to show us all what a Gentle Leader is and how we would put it on the dogs.   Barb gave us each a Gentle Leader and walked through showing us the different parts of it and putting it on each of our dogs and adjusting them properly.   She then had us take them off and then put them back on our dogs by ourselves.   She made it clear too that if for some reason any of us were given one of these to use on our dogs, that we had not failed in being able to handle our dogs in any way, but it is another tool to use if it is needed.    She explained too that some dogs do just fine on class and then when they get home need to use one, so they were now taking the time to show each handler what this tool is and how you put it on, in case at some point in the future, we had a need for one and the school could send us one to use until a trainer could get out to work with the team.

So once we were done with how to put the Gentle Leaders on our dogs, Barb told us as we were waiting for Jody to come back from the walk in clinic we could hang out about the building and they'd come get us to work on dog distractions.  Jody went to over lunch to get her arm checked out and ultimately was sent for X-rays.  Nothing was broken but  she did wind up being in a sling to stabilize her arm and keep her honest as it heals to not use it.

Before too long, Barb knocked on the door to come out to the break area to give Boomer a chance to break before going over to work the dog distractions.   We did so and then worked over to the block behind the Foundation and Anne had Tiger, Barb's sheltie that will bark and get all excited on command.    We started out just walking along the sidewalk with Tiger out in the street a little behind us and Boomer really surprised me, he didn't really care too much and Barb warned me, don't over-correct, he probably will only need verbal corrections, as long as he doesn't make a liar out of me.  He took a look and pretty much kept going.   We rounded the corner and Anne had moved with Tiger to be coming towards us from the dog side and again he did well in leaving it alone.   At the third side of the block, Anne brought Tiger right up next to us where he was jumping around and barking and Boomer was like "OK, old news!" and kept right on going without even looking at him.   We then went to the fourth side and did a meet and greet.   I had Boomer sit and stay as Anne came and we shook hands and I we talked to her a bit, then she patted him on the shoulder.   Then I walked forward to say hello to Tiger and at this point he popped up and wanted to say hello too, but put him back at a sit/stay and I went back to petting Tiger and then came back to Boomer's side.   Anne moved away with Tiger and then we worked back to the residence building and on inside.   I was quite impressed.

Once inside, we hung out in the room for just a little bit before going to dinner, which was a really, really good baked chicken, hand mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies.    Trainer Doug joined us at the table and we had some good discussions about dogs and various things.   After dinner was the evening lecture, which for this evening is on harness mechanics.   Trainer Jody taught us how to take apart and put together the handles, putting them through the "ears" of the harness and attaching them to the O rings properly too, making sure we didn't place the handle upside down, since with the offset handle, it needs to put the handle closer to your body and allowing the dog more space and allowing you to not have to place your arm out so far from your body to stay over the dog's back.  

After lecture, we took the dogs out for one last time and I'd been noticing more and more that Boomer is becoming slower to do his business with each time today, especially since it appears that all the leaves are gone from the corner he kept going to in the first week we've been here.   He's pulling more and more to the grass beyond the "street" so we'll see what he does tomorrow..

Night all!   We have Kings Park in the morning and the Backwards "P" in the afternoon.

Kacie & Boomer