Thursday, April 29, 2010

Serena Opens and Closes the Door

After watching the PBS special about service dogs (link is on an earlier post on this blog) I got the idea to have Serena open doors with pull down handles. You can attach a tug thing to the handle and the dogs can open the door. I don't have any of these handles at home but then realized the barn is full of them!! Yesterday we did some practice work with it and Serena picked it up right away. Today I brought my camera and took a video. We also added "up" onto the door to close it because if she opens it she might as well close it too ;-).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Serena knows so far Part 2

In January I made a list of what Serena knows.  I figured I would update this to show her progress.

  1. Sit
  2. Stay (do not move at all from where I place you)
  3. Wait (more loose than stay, she can be called out of this position)
  4. Heel (left side)
  5. Down
  6. Make a friend (give paw)
  7. Now she knows how to do it with both paws depending on what hand you give her
  8. High Five
  9. High Ten (both paws touching both hands)
  10. Get your leash
  11. My lap (put paws on my lap)
  12. Speak  (This is hysterical because she still thinks it means snap and whine and sneeze before utter what could be considered a "woof")
  13. Tug (opens the fridge for me and now she can open a stall door for me which is a different direction of tugging)
  14. Come
  15. Leave it
  16. Busy (going potty)
  17. Move (move away from where she is)
  18. Up (putting front paws up on counters, tables etc.)
  19. Off (front paws off of counters, tables etc.)
  20. Front (sitting in front of me facing me)
  21. Back (while she is facing me moving backwards)
  22. Get your bowl (I bought her a plastic bowl and now she gets it for me when I feed her)
  23. Jump on (put all four paws on something like a bed, grooming table etc)
  24. Jump off (jump off said object)
  25. Get it (if I point at something she will pick it up... this is slowly being modified so she will get whatever I look at without pointing)
  26. Get the paper (runs outside every morning for my dad and picks the paper up at the end of the driveway)
  27. Look at me (make eye contact with me)
  28. Give (give whatever she has in her mouth)
  29. Easy (while walking to slow down)
  30. Take it (take whatever I am giving her)
  31. Get the phone (get the practice phone off the table)
Things we are working on:
  • Hold it (keep something in her mouth)
  • Step (while going up the stairs she puts her front feet up one step than where the person is, while going down she stays one step behind where the person is.  This is for bracing against her)
  • Push (close something with nose)
  • Side (she still doesn't understand how to swing her butt the opposite way of "heel")
31 things she knows and 4 things in progress, 35 total!  Last time it was 24 total... 11 new things since January.  I am so incredibly proud of my little girl :-)
Pictures of Serena with my guinea pigs.  She thinks they are her puppies. Twitchy (the more white one with smooth hair) loves her and will groom her and sleep next to her.  Gus (the one with crazy hair) is afraid of everything and runs away.

PBS Program

PBS had a program called "through a dog's eyes" on the other day.  I wasn't able to watch it but then someone told me it was online.  Here is the link so you can watch it too:

I highly recommend it.  I started crying (in a good way) within the first 5 min so have tissue on hand. This will be Serena one day.

Also it is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris so really what could be better?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Serena gets the Phone

Today I decided to train Serena to get the phone.  Linda gave us a fake cell phone to practice with.  Serena is really good at picking it up off the floor so I decided to make it harder and give it a command ("get the phone" compared to just "get it").  At the end I made it even harder and put it on the table.  She figured it out and now knows where to go if I say "get the phone." This can be very useful for when she lives with her forever person.  They can show her where they keep a phone and apply this command to their house so incase they need to call someone and can't get to the phone, Serena can go get it.  Here is a video of her doing her new command:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Serena goes to college

On Wednesday Serena and I drove down to Champaign to visit all my college friends before the school year ends.  The campus was a great place to practice training since there were tons of crowds and interesting things.  Serena handled it all with flying colors!  Her new experiences included: beeping crossing signals, people with masks, attending a lecture, hanging out on the quad and living in an apartment.  We also experienced a rest stop both going and coming back from Champaign.

Hanging out on the quad:

Serena joining the group pic:

How she chose to lay down:

Love my puppy:

Chasing the puppy!

Dances with puppy:

Serena helping Sarah in the computer lab at the union:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ribbon Holder

This past weekend there was a horse show at my barn.  Reggie and I participated and he was fantastic!  Serena had fun hanging out with everyone there and being a ham.  At the end I made her hold all of Reggie's ribbons.  She took her job very seriously...

Then she got bored and ran away with the ribbons:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Play Time!

Not much to update in Serena's training.  We have been doing a lot of exposure work (car dealership is the latest) but not so many new tricks to show you guys!  We are working on "hold" and modifying "get it" so that she follows my eyes instead me pointing.  This is essential because many people in wheelchairs only have use of their hand to move a joy stick and can't lift up their hand to point at something.  Serena is very confused by me not pointing but I know she will get it!  

We also went to the vet yesterday because she was having weird eye discharge for a couple days.  The vet said her eyes looked okay but since the discharge with yellow he gave me some drops to put in them for a week and even after one day her eyes look TONS better.  We also found out that she is 55 pounds now!  I was in shock because we always thought she would stay little since she was the runt and wasn't getting a ton bigger.  Looks likes she is going to mature to around 60ish pounds.  That will be good because hopefully she can be used for light brace work! (Holding her ground while someone uses her to get up).  Now onto pictures!

I walked into my room one day to find Miss Serena sleeping on my bed with her head on a pillow.  It was so cute I had to get a picture before I told her to get off.  She isn't allowed on furniture unless I ask her to get up there but how could I resist this:

This weekend was so nice so my dad and I took Serena to the park to play some fetch:

Serena being my catcher:

I really suck at pitching apparently:

My dad and Serena:

"Come on throw the ball!!"

Afterwards I took her to the little creek to play and cool off in.  Jumping over it with a stick:

Then I decided to take her on the playground equipment as a training session:

She really didn't want to follow me through the tunnel but I told her if I had to shimmy through it she would have to walk through it.  Eventually she followed and came out on the other end:

Going down the kiddie slide.  Wheeeeeeee!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old Video that I can't believe I didn't post!

I was organizing my computer and found this video of Miss Serena on 11/12/09... 3 days after she came home with me! She had just learned "make a friend" and I was so excited to get it on video. I cannot believe I did not put this on the blog because how freaking cute is she? I also love how little and clumsy she is. It took her so long to think about what I was all I have to do is hold my hand out!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Swimming photos

Serena, Drummer and I went to the beach again yesterday and I brought my camera to get pictures of her swimming!  Now that she knows how to swim I can't stop her!  After I stopped throwing the stick she went out by herself and just paddled around randomly.  I know where we will be spending most of our summer!

They both wanted the same stick...

Playing tug with the stick:

Group photo #1:

Swimming back in with a stick:


Heading back up the bluff:

On top of the bluff:

I had to go let some other dogs out so I hooked them up outside.  They were very excited for me to come back!  Drummer makes Serena look oh so little:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

She can swim!!

Today was so very nice so I took Serena and Drummer (the golden retriever in a previous post) for a walk to the lake.  Drummer ran right into the water and splashed around.  Serena ran around with the other dogs and played.  She splashed in the water and didn't want to swim.  Then I threw a stick for Drummer and the next thing I know Serena is diving in after him and swam all the way out to get it.  She was so proud of herself!  After that all she did was swim.  And swim.  And swim.  I will get pics and/or videos next time!


A bunch of random pictures today :-).  

A week ago Serena and I went over to Becky's house to help her garden and so that the dogs could play.  Turns out Serena was way bigger then we expected her to be compared to Randall and Token.  She really wanted to play with them.  Randall played a little bit but liked hanging out with us more.  Token is a little socially special and kept running back inside to hide.  Serena did learn how to use the dog door.  We pushed her through once and then she came out the second time all on her own!

She isn't so much of a puppy anymore

Randall (left), Token (in dog door) and Serena:

Then on Sunday we joined other puppy raisers at IKEA in Bolingbrook for puppy class!  We walked around and took advantage of all the different surfaces they have there!  Poor Serena was in heat for the first (and soon to be last) time so she had to wear underwear around the store.

Practicing "up" on a shelf:

Practicing a "sit stay" in a tunnel thing... we also practiced going through it!

Four dogs under table for lunch (from front) Serena, Hemi, Shay, and Howie:

Getting a fork for me at lunch:

Very tired puppy driving home:

Lastly it was Reggie's 8th birthday on Monday.  So me being the  crazy pet owner that I am made cupcakes and put birthday hats on them.  They are so very tolerant of me.  Here they are sharing a look of "oh what we put up with":