Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jack goes grocery shopping

I was going to run into Jewel for a few things and had Jack in the car with me.  I was hesitant to bring him into the grocery store as he has never done something like that before but I figured if all else failed I could always bring him back out to the car.

The grocery store is a place where I get a lot of looks/comments from people who aren't so friendly about service dogs.  It is probably because a dog is so close to all the food, much like a restaurant.  In a restaurant though, the dog is "hidden" under the table and in a grocery store the dog is out walking around.  With a dog as big as Jack it is kind of hard to not notice him.

So into Jewel we went and luckily it was fairly empty.  Jack and I wandered up and down aisles.  Every time I stopped to look at something I made him sit because his attention span was about half a second.  In the meat section I had to correct him over and over again and tell him to sit because every time I went to grab something he would move from the sit and try and smell all the meat.  Every time I told him no and to sit he would look at me like "but there is all this wonderful smelling food here Mom and someone must eat it!"  By the end in the produce section he was sitting and waiting while I would reach for food.  The self checkout was super busy so it was a good chance for him to practice ignoring everything (or in Jack's case sitting quietly next to me while watching everything going on).  He wasn't so sure at first but when I insisted that he sit and wait he eventually retained some focus and was a very good boy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Serena gets Spayed

Poor Miss Serena went to get spayed today.  We waited so long to spay her because she was on breeder watch but now that we know she has a bad hip her lady bits must come out!  She was not happy when I walked her into the vet early this morning (after not feeding her for 12 hours before surgery).  I handed her off to vet tech and left her there.  I get to pick her up tomorrow morning.  Cross fingers that it all went well and she forgives me for doing this!

Jack, on the other hand, is enjoying being my only dog.  He and I played an intensive game of fetch and he also got to go to work with me today.  Since Serena isn't here to do all the work, I made him go get his bowl before dinner.  He was confused at first but once he figured out what I wanted he ran to his bowl and brought it all the way to the pantry from the kitchen!  He was so proud of himself :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vet Visit

I took Serena and Jack into the vet early Monday morning for their yearly shots and checkups.  They both were healthy and doing great!  I was very pleased with them in the waiting room.  It was super busy with other dogs walking in and out but all they did was watch.  I got to answer a few questions about service dogs too which was awesome!

Part of their yearly shots included two shots in their hip.  Jack cracked me up.  He had to be restrained for his shots because he was being too friendly.  He rolled on his back and wanted the vet to rub his belly, then while she was trying to put needles in his hip he was wagging his tail and trying to lick her.  Then it was Serena's turn.  She did not like this game at all.  She was very well behaved but petrified.  It didn't help that Jack was still trying to lick the vet and was rolling around on the floor like a big goof.  While there I also got to weigh them.  Serena was 55lbs and Jack was 80lbs!!  I think Jack is going to reach about 90lbs as his final weight.  Such a big boy. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

103 Floors Over the City

On Sunday, the Willis Tower in Chicago was super amazing and hosted My Angel With Paws.  As you may remember, Serena has been up to the 103rd floor before as a 8 month old puppy.  This is how I got the idea to contact them.  Myself and Serena were joined by Alice and Jack and Kaylee and Bree.  The staff at the Willis Tower was great!  They met us downstairs and gave us a private tour up to the 103rd floor.  We got to practice some service dog skills along the way but mostly it was just great to let the dogs handle the new environment.

Jack and Serena wait outside for Bree

When we got up to the top, their wasn't a big crowd since we got there right when it opened.  This was great because it meant we could go right out onto The Ledge.  Bree and Serena ran right out there and didn't care at all about the glass bottom.  Jack was petrified.  He tried to run away but Alice stopped him and made him at least come right up to the edge.  We all sat there and let him think about it then started calling him and showing him treats.  Eventually Jack tentatively put one foot out, then ran backwards, then tried again.  We got both front feet out and then eventually he came all the way out.  Then he refused to move.  Poor Jack!  Alice would take him off and then after a little bit would come back out to the ledge.  Each time it took shorter to get him out there.  He didn't really like it but trusted us enough to try.  Bree and Serena kept trying to play with him and couldn't figure out why he was acting funny.

Serena, Bree and Jack enjoying the view out over Chicago

Bree out on the Ledge

Trying to get Jack out on the Ledge.

The Group

 Jack being very good and overcoming his fear

Serena and Bree up 103 floors!

The Group in the glass box

Shoes and paws

Bree making herself at home

Serena and I just laying out over the city

The longer we stayed the more people came up onto the 103 floor.  By the end we had crowds taking pictures of the dogs and wanted to say hi.  This is where Jack stole the show.  He was such a ham and made friends with everyone.  Serena showed off some service dog skills and Bree was her cute little 11 month old puppy self.  We had an amazing time and can't wait to go back!

Alice practicing "ups" on the railings with Jack

Jack, Bree and Serena with a picture of the Willis Tower

Jack being a ham and making friends

The dogs posing with a snowman outside

I love my dogs

We got our professional picture taken out on The Ledge.  This took awhile trying to get all the dogs to look up.  The staff all joined in to help shaking treat bags and stuff.  They gave us the photo for free and were so so very nice.  

On the way up to the 103 floor they took our picture in front of a green screen then printed it out and put Chicago backgrounds behind us.  All the dogs have great faces in this picture... too bad Jack and Serena blend into the background!

Friday, January 7, 2011

People behind counters... oh my!

Jack and I went to go do errands for work yesterday.  First we went to the post office.  Normally he just sits next to me while at the counter but yesterday he must have really liked the postwoman's voice because all of a sudden Jack was putting his paws up on the counter next to me.  Oh boy is he big!  Luckily the postwoman loves dogs and loved seeing him up there.  We had never worked on "ups" so now we are going to have to so we can work on "offs."  This also makes me want to work on "take its" and "gives" so that Jack can use his new found love of "ups" and be useful by giving the mail to the postwoman.  He is going to have a much easier time than Serena because of his size.  She usually has to reach and can barely get to the counter at the bank.  Jack, on the other hand, had no problem doing an "up" at the bank.  This time instead of letting him do an "up" without me telling him, I asked him to do an "up".  He was so happy to do one and please me!  The bank teller had treats ready and Jack thought the bank was heaven.  It was a very good day for Jack! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Title Change

Since I am no longer working with just Serena, I figured I should make this blog about all the service dogs I train and work with.  Don't tell Serena this is no longer all about her!  I am playing around with the picture for the top part so it might change again until I get it exactly how I would like it to look.  

Happy New Year everyone!

Meet Jack

As you may have guessed from some earlier posts, there is a new dog at our house.  His name is Jack.  He was born in September 2009 and is a black lab.  Jack was part of MAWP's first litter of puppies.  His mom, Casey, was donated to the program pregnant and had 11 puppies.

This is Jack's mom with his litter.  Jack is one of the black ones... who knows which one!

The chocolate is Jack's mom Casey and the yellow is Jack's Dad.  Jack inherited Casey's cross eyes :-)

This is either Jack or one of his brothers at 4 weeks.  It looked the most like Jack.

Jack was placed with a puppy raising family at 8 weeks old.  It was with a single mom who had a daughter with disabilities.  She was hoping to train him to help her with her daughter.  Unfortunately it was too much work having a puppy and a disabled child so she gave him back to MAWP.  He was then placed with a wonderful couple.  For a couple months they were doing great then they stopped coming to class.  MAWP contacted them and found out that they had lost both their jobs and were searching for new jobs and didn't have time for Jack.  Jack was recalled back to MAWP.  

Jack with his angel wings

He then stayed in the MAWP kennels looking for a new puppy raiser.  He started loosing weight and was getting very stressed out.  I was asked if I would take him home with me when I came back from Florida.  I agreed tentatively because first I had to meet him and see if Serena got along with him. When we got to Florida I fell instantly in love.   Serena and Jack also got along great.  You really can't help but like him.  He is a big awkward boy who just wants to be loved.  His cross eyes are the best:

Jack has been with me for 2 months now.  His way of learning is completely different than Serena's.  He shuts down if he thinks he is doing something wrong where as Serena will keep trying all sorts of things till it is correct.  But unlike Serena, he is overly food motivated. If you treat him at the right moment he will remember what you taught him and will do that command over and over again.

My friend from the barn, Alice, is co-raising Jack with me!  This is super awesome because that way he gets used to working with different people and goes to different places that maybe I wouldn't take him to.  Alice takes him any day she isn't flying around the country for work.  We are having so much fun working with Jack together.  It also gives Serena a break from Jack and some one on one momma time.  She has a love hate relationship with him.  She loves him when they are playing but gets very very jealous if I am paying attention to him and not to her.  Jack also likes to put his paws all over Serena which she tolerates:

Jack didn't get to go places like Serena did when she was a puppy so he is a very sheltered dog.  I took him to Target one day and he did wonderfully.  Everything was interesting but I had a pocket full of treats and he was a little unsure so he kept looking to me for guidance.  He also goes to work with me a couple days a week.  This is teaching him to lay calmly under a desk until I say it is time to go.  Alice takes him to work out at a gym where they have physical therapy.  He sometimes gets to help with the therapy sessions of the clients and everyone LOVES him.  He tolerates anything from pulling on his tail to picking up his paws. I am very excited to see how Jack progresses and help him turn into the awesome service dog I know he can be!