Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mia had a great Thanksgiving...

Of course holidays mean getting a manicure for some women, including Mia. We do this using the command "roll over". She doesn't love this, but will always cooperate for a few bits of dog food. She does love having her teeth brushed, and sits attentively while I put the paste on the brush.

Thanksgiving this year included many visitors to our home. She was pretty good with them, not jumping up or too much licking. It helped to run off steam at the park where we practiced really reliable recall.
Mia has never taken any people food, but still loves to find an unattended shoe or remote control. We are working on the finer details of "take it", "hold it", "carry" and "give".

Mia had a lot of field trips this month, the library, jewelry store, art store, Target, Caribou, Post Office, hardware store, Purgatory Park, Fresh Season's Market, and more. Some of these trips involve working with the wheel chair and some are on foot. She likes the stimulation, and to look out the car window en route. We can see she is settling down a bit and we are more confident of her good behavior with guests and while out in public. We praise her a lot and sometimes say to her, with pride, "You are special Mia. You are a service dog!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

So what does it mean to be in big dog class...

Mia and George are going to big dog class once a week. In this class her skills are being strengthened by lots of work on using her many skills in daily life. She is working more with the wheelchair and going on more outings with us. She has been to lots of new places, including Dairy Queen, the Liquor Store (because the Caribou Coffee we were going to was closed) twice to the vet for shots, and to the post office. We are learning there are many types and locations for the door switches.
Mia continues to explore nature. We take her to a park where there is an area for dogs. She loves this and gets all excited on the way in the car. We take a walk for about 45 minutes and play with other dogs. They are pretty well behaved, and many of them are becoming her friends. One day she found some crab apples under a tree and decided to eat them. That was the only time she would not come for the "really reliable recall" we use. Today's picture is her resting after a run in the park.
She is working a lot on stay. I have her stay on the mat outside the shower while I take a shower, and we time her stays with the kitchen timer. For a good long stay...about 7 or 8 minutes, she gets the last of her food from the training session, or a small dog treat.
She has started paying attention more to TV and wants to see what we are doing when it is on the counter or table. We can tell because she starts bouncing up and down and strains her head to see over the top of the counter!
Stay tuned for more Mia adventures...