Zoe was not destined to be a service dog and for many reasons I made the hard decision to let her go live with another family as a cherished pet
Our family wants to wish everyone that reads this blog a happy,healthy and prosperious new year.
For the first time in years I was actually awake at midnight,but aside from that it was just another night. As I was sitting waiting for the ball to drop with Zoe sleeping peacefully next to me,I started to think about what if any resolutions I would make this year. I came up with a few
1. We are going to live a healthier lifestyle with more walks and veggies.
2. We are also going to feed the pets better diets,we owe them the best of everything
3. I am going to start knitting again,soon
What resolutions did you make?
2012 is also bringing more changes to our family that are pretty exciting. We will be leaving Biloxi and the military shortly and heading closer to our families. We know this is the right time for our family as our children are getting older and we want them to have stability in their lives. Right now we are in a holding pattern just waiting for papers and dates.
As for Zoe and her training we continue to train,play,explore and love life and that will continue for the rest of our lives.
This was Zoe’s first Christmas,it’s hard to believe because it seems like she has been with me forever. We blend seamlessly and are rarely more then a few feet apart.
Like everyone in our house Zoe also got a small stocking from Santa,filled with fun toys and a puppy scent puzzle that she really enjoys,but has already figured out. There were doggie goodies to munch on and it seemed like a success for everyone,2 and 4 legged.
During the holiday rush between Black Friday and Christmas Eve I really slowed her public training to a trip or 2 a week. She was pretty vocal about letting me know her opinion on her being left behind. On Christmas Eve I had to go to the mall and pick up Christmas Eve/Day dinner(Chik Fil A)and a final present. I had so much on my mind I didn’t think about the day and asked Zoe to go,she got so excited about getting dressed that once I realized I didn’t have the heart to tell her”no”. So at 5pm on Christmas Eve Zoe was at our local mall headed to Game Stop. I was pretty relieved that the mall was as packed as I’d imagined and that Zoe is very focused on her training. We walked through the mall with our heads up,and a bit of a “I dare you”look in my eye. Getting in and out of Game Stop was really easy,and of course Zoe was perfect. Next we had to make our way to Chik Fil A get our HUGE platter of nuggets. I misjudged the time,because we were about 10 minutes early to pick it up which ended up being a good thing,it gave us a chance to practice “go under”the table. We haven’t gotten a chance to practice this in public,so this gave me a chance to see how she was doing. The results were mixed,she went under the table without a problem,and she didn’t surf the floor. The less then stellar was she wouldn’t stay down for very long. I’m not sure if she was distracted,or if she didn’t like the cold tile on her tummy. Either way this makes it towards the top of the training list. Either way I have to be proud of her training and the way she handles herself,she was just 2 days over 6 months old. She continues to make me very proud and I’m always in awe as she is wise beyond her months. If training keeps going this well by this time next year she should be a full fledged service dog.
This time I am confident that we both have clicking down. She knows exactly what the sound means and gets excited to see the clicker. My timing is much better,and I can make the sound with my tongue when I cant get to a clicker in time. I have also learned to keep a few treats in my pockets at all times,but remove them before washing,YUCK.
This Christmas is going to be very low key,I dont want to spend days making a big dinner for our family,or just as long cleaning up. I would much rather enjoy my days playing with the kids and training Zoe.
We wish everyone a Happy Holidays and may they be everything you hoped for.
OK so clicker training didn’t work out the first time we tried. We are going to give it another chance. This time I am aiming for 4 quick training sessios a day,it doesn’t take take long to click and treat 10 little treats. Today we have already done 3 sessions today and we will do another one after the kiddos go to bed.
I have a better game plan this time and make it work. This time we will only be conditioning her to the clicker and me on my timing.
When we start doing commands,early next week,we will start over but with a huge advantage Zoe already knows all the basic skills,so retraining them with the clicker should be easy peasy. Here is to hoping for an easy transition.
Zoe is healing nicely,it’s like nothing ever happened. It was probably worse for me then her. Since nothing much is going on with Zoe I thought I would just ramble a little.
Zoe is 5 months old. We have been together since she was 9 weeks old. The whole time I knew there was aMS Service Dog law newer then 1972,but I couldn’t find it.Finally one day last week I stumbled on it while clearing out downloads on my tablet. The law was updated in 2010,and gives handlers of service dogs in training the same access as full fledged service dog handlers. This is huge for me and I’m very excited about it.
Taking Zoe with me is always an adventure,and I love having her around to decrease my anxiety and panic attacks. People are always surprised to see such a small dog do service work. Most people assume a dog has to be a large breed to do service work. For some types of service dogs like guide and mobility dogs that’s true,but that still leaves a lot of work for the smaller dogs. For various reasons I knew I wanted a smaller dog,but never set out to have such a small dog. I needed a puppy with the aptitude to be a service dog and Zoe needed a home. Having such a small dog has its advantages,she is easy to fit into our minivan Her food and heartworm preventative is a lot less then bigger dogs. People tend to not even notice her. Of course there are disadvantages too. People question my intentions and whether or not I am really training her to be a service dog. Most people don’t look at their feet when they walk so she has almost been stepped on a few times.Zoe is also freaking adorable so even when she is training in public with her vest on some folks cant help but touch her. I’m not an assertive person so its really heard for me to ask people to give us a little space,but I have to.
The other big news around our house is that Zoe’s sister Polly moved in. She is just as smart and sweet as Zoe and loves hanging out with Ian. I worried that it would affect our bond,but we are still just as close as ever. All in all it’s been a great time at our house.
Zoe was playing tug of war this morning with a bigger dog and some how got her canine tooth stuck and then pulled. I got a call into our vet and she assured me Zoe could wait to see her tomorrow,but to keep an eye on her.
Zoe seems to be fine and dandy,it’s just the matter of that ugly little snaggletooth . I thought it was an adult tooth,but now I’m really hoping its a puppy tooth,and will come out easily.
I wish I was doing as well. I have been watching her like a hawk all day. I made my husband buy her chicken baby food,and I have boiling all her water to try and keep bacteria to a minimum.
All this is over a cheap rope toy,I have thrown all of ours away already. This time she seems Ok,but I could see how if it was a much bigger dog it could have been much worse