Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Feb 5/Day 9- Traffic Checks

6:00- wake up. We all got up at 6 and laid my stuff out for the day and got all my gear laid out.  Trying to travel light as much as I can.
6:45- feed, water, break the dogs.  Fed AJ and she ate her food as usual but still is off on her drinking. Really hoping we get the results back today.
7:20- breakfast- was French toast, eggs and a fruit cup.
8:00- This morning was the start to customization, where the instructor chooses routes based on the students’ home areas.  We went and did country walks and this girl likes to indent on the curbs on her own, which is fantastic!   We worked through several intersections and did great.  Country walks are when you are walking on a street that is without a sidewalk and has either just a curb or even a grass line as it's edge.   The dogs are taught to walk along the edge of the road and you walk towards traffic.   Every 15-20 feet you and the dog are to "indent" which means turn towards the curb and check that you are still following the edge of the road and not veering out into the road.  Cristina did too good of job with AJ as she was trying to indent on her own about every 7 to 8 feet. LOL!  I dont want to squash her drive, as the initiative is desirable, but she was getting a little obsessive with it for the food reward that comes with it. LOL.   So we were having to work that balance of yes it's good but not right now. :)   We made our way though the neighborhood and returned to the van.
Next we went to the Petco where Cameron picked up several toys and was testing AJ on her skills in obedience. We walked on through the store and then we walked through the pet food aisles.  We made our way to the bone aisle and Cameron asked what bones would  be OK -acceptable. AJ actually did very well in there.
We then walked over to the Whole Food store to work on pulling a cart behind me. You have to be careful to turn the cart wide enough and-not running the cart up onto your ankles.  Cameron then goes and grabs a hand basket and we walk though the rest of the store.   We then load up to go back to GDF.  .
11:00- We arrive back at GDF and work through the obstacle course.   There are the off street obstacles again where the dog and handler need to briefly walk in the street to get around an obstacle blocking the way of the handler and the the team has to step off the curb around the obstacle and back onto the sidewalk.  We work our way to the break area and let the dogs go busy.
Then we are to meet in the lobby so that Christina can go over Grooming with our dogs. We also are going to do revolving doors today. Because they were filming a segment with The Dodo about Sully meeting his mother, so the lobby was closed for the time being so we stepped outside and worked on grooming our dogs.
Cameron ran over to the kennels and Miss AJ does indeed have a UTI. So I have a medicine, an anti inflammatory fe her, and a probiotic to help her feel better.  We had to wait until dinner for her to start her meds though.
12:00- Lunch is chicken cutlet hero sandwich and a small salad.  It was really good!
1:00- Today is traffic training. Really not my favorite part of the training.  The first two traffic checks come in the street and the trainers talked with us before the training, that this is a team effort and that when we hear the car we are to stop, also cuing the dog to stop.
For the first street crossing, I can see Brad coming and when I could definitely hear him I stopped but I didn’t not feel AJ stop.  This concerned me a little bit and I told Cristina that I didn’t I’d not feel her stop, that I felt like my stopping had stopped her.  We go on the the next street crossing and this time I think I felt her pause but it wasn’t a definitive stop that I’ve had with ALL of my previous dogs.   We hit the curb and make a right turn and then Brad pulls into the driveway in front of me. Again I could see him coming and heard him once he was really close.  She stops pretty decently but immediately dives her nose down to sniff and wasn’t really paying attention to the car once we were stopped.
We then continue on to the next up curb and I had told her forward when Brad was already in front of me so she didn’t stop at all/bad timing and they wanted to re do that one to do it again.  We redo it and she stops and looks at the car but it was him coming at us just coming off the curb, not in the middle of the street.  So we can head across the street and I thought Cristina said we were done and that we were heading back to the van.  We are bee-bopping along and I am about half a block from the down curb, with the vans in sight half way up the next block and all of a sudden there is a white flash in front of me, Cristina is grabbing me by the shoulders pulling me back and Brad had pulled into the driveway in front of us.  I was less than 2 feet from the car and AJs nose was about 3 inches from the car.  Scared me so bad I nearly messed my pants.  Brad says he wants to re do that one and pulls in at the next driveway and AJ stops a good distance from the car.   From what I could tell this felt like her best stop out of all the traffic checks.
I get back to the van and I’m definitely shook up, rattled, and my confidence in the dogs animus to perform intelligent disobedience is shaken.  I knew I was upset so I tried to just say calm and not say anything as I knew I was emotional and that the training has been intense for over a week with the dog so I know I’m hitting that breaking point emotionally in general with the whole process of training.
3:00- We arrive back at GDF and work through the obstacle course out back.  I wasn’t doing well with these and the first high bar, she takes me up to it and I probably was overreacting and corrected too soon as she likes to take me right up to the object but not hitting the object. We rework it 3 times and I’m trying to reach-focus. We made it through the first bar finally and make it roughly through the second one and then with the third one she stopped me real close but her entire head is under the bar.  This is definitely one of those moments where the emotions were travelling down the leash and it showed in her performance for sure.

We work the rest of the route to the break area and he goes pee for me.  I head in, ditching the coat headed to the leather lounge to train on how to use revolving doors.  I am sitting there and the more I think about the whole traffic checks, the more bothered I become by it.  After both my partner student and I did the revolving door training, I ask Cristina to talk.  I tell her I wasn’t comfortable with how the traffic checks went.  That I have always relied on my dogs to be my back up in case I miss something and especially since my hearing has progressed.   Cristina reassured me that AJ had passed all of her traffic checks with her in blindfold and with nice wide buffers. She also said that AJ was off today from what she normally does.  She said with the check that scared me, that from the direction that Brad had come in, she didnt see him until he was right on top of us and while it wasn't the best reaction that AJ had tried to move left away from the car as an object, but that she was trying to avoid the car.   I can see that now in how it happened and it explains how we both wound up so close to the car when it was stopped.    She said she would talk with Brad and see about doing the traffic checks again to make sure I was confident in AJs ability to safely get me across the street.  Of course by this point I was a blubbering mess and crying buckets as all the tension of the whole training process had manifested itself to this meltdown.    Cristina told me to go relax in my room and they would call for break and dinner but that unless I was interested in how to use boots/put them on my dog, then I was done for the night.

4:30- feed, water, break- I fed AJ and have her the first dose of meds.  Which was a huge relief to me.  She peed and as usual didn’t poop this time.

5:30- Dinner is gyros and seasoned fries with a brownie for dessert.

6:30- Those that were interested, went to the leather lounge and Mark shows them how to put boots on your dogs and you could see how they worked in them.
I chose to call home, talk with my family and see my Boom dog that I’m really missing too.  AJ has her moments but she isn’t affectionate like Boomer is.
8:30- final break. Took her out and she went poop as expected.  Afterwards, I went to take a hot shower.  Since she is a lab and being so she will raid trash cans if left unattended, so I have put my stuff all up out of reach.  She was out cold on her bed but not on tie down.  I was told I could start trying to leave her off tie down so I did.  My room is the accessible room so it has a walk in shower and no tub.
I pick the shower head up off the bracket and start the water, making sure it isn’t freezing cold before I step under it and I am pointing the head down at the wall.  Next thing I know is there is a black head locking at rhe floor where the water is going down the drain and she’s nearly under the stream of water.  She looks up at me like "Hey Mom. Whatcha' doing?"   I just laugh and turn the water off and tell her to go to her place and tie her down.  I wasn’t looking to give the dog a bath tonight.   I get my shower and soon head to bed as it has been such a long day.
We both had rough days and were super tired.
Here is AJ on her bed tonight too.
AJ is sprawled out across her platform bed, front legs hanging over the side of the bed instead of curled up in the tight ball like she normally is. 
Tomorrow is a new day and will be better!