17 May 2008

Completed Level One

Let's start with a great progress report. Molly and I passed Level 1 in our Level training this morning. This means that she has a really basic sit and down, some self control as demonstrated with doggy zen (if you haven't done zen with your dog, do it), and she can target my hand with her nose on command. Okay, so we had a lot of this (except the targeting) before today, so what's the big deal? The deal is that we redid what she knew in a positive way. So now there is no way she should have negative associations with it. I also put new commands on down and zen. Those were in Danish and now she's bilingual there too. The bigger deal is that we practiced communicating and doing it the right way. It's a trust thing and a bonding thing.

One of the "assignments" for the levels, is to think about what I want to get out of this training.

  1. I want to learn how to train Molly to be a fully-functional service
    dog for me.
  2. For Molly to be able to become a well-adapted and happy member of
    our family, regardless of whether she can function as a service dog in
    the long run.
  3. To give Molly a strong go to mat really soon so she can feel
    comfortable staying put on the airplane and I can worry less about her
    ability to cope on the flight. (in September)
  4. To learn the tools to be able to work positively with Molly to face
    any problems or needs we may have in our future together.
  5. To improve my bond with Molly and make sure that she knows she can
    trust me, that she knows she can trust me not to let bad things

So now I'm thinking about what we're doing and what I want and that's important.

About the whole service dog thing--I don't know right now that Molly can be a great service dog or if she'll really be happy as a service dog out in the world. She likes it at home, I think, but out in public is a whole different ball park. So realistically it has to be right for both of us and we need to accept that. She'll always have a home here as the pet and herding dog she was intended to be originally even if she can't make the grade as an SD in public.

Now we're starting Level 2 and have a lot of challenges ahead. It's so much fun!

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