RSS Feed Print
We Got A New DogToday/Service Dog Training...
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 7:55 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

My daughter and I got a new dog today. A big black Belgium Shepard...with the sweetest disposition ever. He has all the traits and makings for becoming a service dog, so I cannot wait to see where this adventure takes us.

We don't have a name yet.

Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 8:12 PM
Joined: 1/3/2015
Posts: 198

Such happy news for you and your family! I hope that it all works out just the way you want it to! Our puppy (5 months old now) can be such a buffer for my dear husband and me.

Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 8:13 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21248

what kind of service dog will he be? Lucky your...they are not easy to get.
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2015 6:23 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

My hope is a dementia service dog.

We got him at the pound...we have been looking for a while. It is not easy to find the right traits, temperament, and natural skill or instinct.

We will still have to train him and finish him out.

I got the idea from my daughter. There is a place in the states that does it, and we were going to buy from him ($15,000). He made a lot of promises...and as a life long dog owner and horse owner...I was a bit skeptical, because I couldn't figure out the way he could get the dogs to do the things he was promising. We also saw a training video of his and I was completely put not him.

Then I saw Scotland's dementia dog program...and was again very hopeful. But they have never responded about being willing to work with someone in the states.

Locally, we have a very excellent trainer...also expensive (about the same price)...but would turn out most the behaviors/training we wanted, and in a similar way I would train a dog myself. I watched extensive amounts of videos and they just seem like a good fit - and they are local. So that is likely the route we will be going. We'd still have to do the finishing touches. They can get him ready to be in stores and restaurants though, which would be great...and they can get him ready to further learn from us.

Already, on his first walk...he is already close to being there. He is gentle on the lead and sticks right at my side. He is unsure about that will take him a little time to get used to and sort out...but he is smart and willing. He seems to have that intuitive sense about me - which is what we were looking for. he knows basic obedience. So all good so far. We have not had him off a lead or tie (yet), but he has already shown that he doesn't need it...he just wants to be near us.

Some tasks we are looking for in a finished service dog:

* I need a dog that will stick with me if I leave the house (wandering) and can have a GPS on his collar. And maybe even block and prevent me from leaving (which he is already showing signs of instinctively).

* I hope for one that could scent find me if I wandered off without him.

* I also hope for one that could scent my car in a parking lot.

* I need one that will keep me grounded when I am out if I get overwhelmed and confused...I might lose all sense of everything, but dogs always call you to reach out and pet them. My life has already been so limited by my confusion, that it would give me a greater independence. My current best method of reclaiming my orientation is my daughter reminding me that I am confused because I have dementia...which works, and I am glad of, but that then means I cannot go anywhere without her...and sometimes I need to.

* I need a dog to provide physical balance/support, that I can lean on at times, because of my physical issues...sort of a guide dog, but for when I am unsteady. I fall a lot and cannot use a cane because of chronic tennis I need him to use his body to do this. (he is already doing this).

* I need one that will come close when I get very confused and stick with me...and maybe in that behavior alerting others that I am not doing well. (He is also showing signs of this instinctively). Also alerting me that I am not doing this is getting harder and harder for me to realize.

* The guy used to promise that the dog would alert me for my meds (which I take 10x a day/night)...I am unsure how to train this, but I would like to have this training for him. Eventually my mom will pass, and then I will not get up at night for them...what better way than a dog to nose you to remind you? They can even carry the meds in a pack, I am told. Anyways, not sure if we will get this...but would like this as well.

* I need a dog to find my clothes, the bathroom, and various other items I have trouble finding, like "car" or "home," on cue.

I probably need other things too...I have a master list somewhere. There is also the companionship. A walking partner. And someone to take care of.

He was a real find. Looking up the breed of Belgium Shepard...he is the one that starts with a G...he is pretty classic to their traits and look (aside from being skinny and matted at the moment). However, he is not that high energy or aggressive as they suggest the breed can either he was well socialized, or it is just not his personal temperament. He is not food aggressive at all...even with the baby in a dish of food soaked in meat and meat grease. So all plusses for him so far.

Now for a name...

Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2015 6:48 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Sun this is wonderful news! So happy for you! Looking forward to hearing his name. Make sure you add to your list if don't have already him warning you when you leave stove, water on etc. Best of luck to your new bud and you!
Brooke Marie Mae
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2015 7:28 AM
Joined: 10/18/2014
Posts: 32

A new dog! I am so jealous. Not allowed pets in my apartment. Enjoy your dog - he will be so therapeutic.
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2015 9:12 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21248

sounds like a great one time I was aiming at a therapy dog to use in our children's hospital...unfortunately Luke could not be sensitized to sudden movements so therapy did not work...I go alone. He is happy just loving on us here.
Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 7:21 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

How old is he?

I am so happy - sounds like he got you to fall in love! Isn't that something? How they select us and give us the EYE and the first couple weeks are all quiet and grateful and bonding.

Then they get their health back and their breed comes out! Our current dog was never trained for the support she gives me and she is now elderly. But for her own sanity (and ours) she needs to run every day and do dog stuff, sniffing, hunting, exploring, meeting other dogs.

Hope there is a dog park close by or a way to get him out.

I had a Rottweiler from a pound who was exceptionally tuned in. When I could not get off floor she came and stood by me. I thought she was just checking me out, then I got the message (grab my collar) and I did and she walked forward pulling me up! She did all kinds of helpful stuff on her own.

Every dog I have had has been so helpful and some in very specific ways.

My current dog is very relaxed indoors, but I have heard Ridgebacks can get demanding if they do not have their need to exercise, play, hunt happen.

She is very good in a car. She slept with her arms around her Man for a few years! She barks once if someone is in driveway. I can not hear so I say "Thank you!" and she keeps an eye on action. If someone comes to door she barks twice, and if I do not respond, barks more. As soon as I say "thank you" she trusts me to handle it. She senses when I am weak on our walks and stops in front of me. She makes me get out of bed to walk with her.

Everybody benefits from a dog in the house if it is a good match!

I am so happy for you all! Keep us up to date on what you learn about him and his past and personality! Sounds magnificent.

hugs to him and you! well done!

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 8:01 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

The pound said he was 1, however I am waiting on the vet to age him.

My last dog grew old and had to be put down as he was in a lot of pain. Connected with that dog more than any animal and thought I would never be able to love another again. He was more like sharing space with an old man than a dog. He had been a rescue from neglect and required a lot of calm patience to help him come around. The pound had aged him at 7, vet said more like 10+.

I like older dogs because they know the score at home and in cars. This guy is a diamond in the rough. We will see what health we are tackling his mats as much as I can with a comb. He still cannot have a bath yet.

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 11:21 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21248

please keep us up-to-date as you progress
Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 5:12 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

We got most of his mats out today, and he put up with it...nearly exactly as my old dog did (also a rescue from a bad situation). Turns out his skin patches are where someone else cut some mats out. I had to cut some as well.

He still cannot have a bath yet, but this will do for now.

We took him to the dog park, and put him in the empty side to see what he'd do off a leash. He looked, he leapt, and when I crouched down he came right over. I am sort of shocked at how good he is. Even walking to and from the dog park he was loose leash.

Still no name yet.

Tomorrow we start finishing work for the Canine Good Citizen test...fingers crossed.

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 4:30 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

I am so happy for you - all in household!

Having a dog to fix up and restore makes life make sense again.

I love the guy already. Did he pick you? Give you the EYE lock?

Can't wait to see his photo and hear about all the stuff he can do.

Just wonderful news. Well done!

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 7:18 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

He is very smart! And must be so grateful to be with you and out of the shelter! Diesel picked my son, the great animal lover who said he wanted to be a dolphin trainer when he was a little boy. Diesel was outside the shelter being walked when we pulled up and started pulling over to my son! My son turned to mush and didn't want to see any of the other dogs! It all seemed meant to be. He was so happy to go home with us and fit right into our lives.
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 8:45 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Target training went well last night. That is training him to tap his muzzle to my hand. Eventually this will help me to position him where I need him. He caught on quickly. And repeated it later in the evening even with no treat.

It is hard to say who picked who. I saw his picture and knew in a least that he was worth checking out. I might of walked away, but someone asked me if I wanted to see one, so I said him. It is always hard to tell behavior at the pound because they are so keyed in on the staff and stressed. But I had a few things I look specifically for...and I just sort of knew.

My daughter is taken with him too...she keeps wanting to name him Harry Potter names.

I have a number of names picked out, he doesn't seem to want or need a though our spirit connection transcends names. But he will need to go to the vet, so the file will need a name. Nothing seems to fit just right.

The only name he truly responds to is sh*thead...which is sad if someone called him that.

Right now it is no-name-dog...or big-black-dog...or just dog.

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 11:01 AM
Joined: 9/11/2015
Posts: 147

Our friends had a great dog named
Dog, pronounced Dee-Oh-Gee. Like saying the letters out loud. D O G but run together into one word, DeOgee or maybe DeOgi ( I put a capital on the O because it kind of had an accent)

Anyway, picking a name is fun. Maybe something more spiritual or native? My old cat had a nickname Runs-With-Scissors If you've ever had a crazy energetic cat you might understand the nickname.

Or, maybe a variation of the Reiki symbol Sei Hei Ki? It seem you already have a tremendous and emotionally balancing connection.


Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 1:12 PM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 1747

Sun, I am happy for you.
You seem to have found a future carepartner, best friend, and companion.

You have to learn him, how to learn. (Is that the correct expression?)

He will learn to bend, to adjust, to adapt. Transform and change.

He will store skills/knowledge.
Dig it out from the cortex of his brain.
While remaining in-tune with his brilliant intuitive intelligence, as well.

He will give to you. And receive from you...
You will be partners in the caring relationship.

The art of caring for one another is intimate and magical.
Hmm...The giving of a name...
I believe it is a very personal act.

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 3:01 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Not sure if these pictures will come through...but here is the new guy.
File Attachment(s):
New Dog 01b.jpg (8294 bytes)
New Dog 02b.jpg (8066 bytes)
New Dog 03b.jpg (8176 bytes)

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 5:44 PM
Joined: 7/30/2013
Posts: 6064

Oh he's beautiful! Congratulations! l'm glad that you already know a lot about dog training. That will help a lot. Let us know how the training goes.
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 8:37 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21248

What a beautiful dog. Our dog came with a name, Luke, but after knowing him for a short period I wish he had been named Moses...he is such an old sole.

Luke stayed right by my side for over a year and even now he is rarely far from me. Have you tried walking around the "yard" with your dog so he can potty next to you? Might work.

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015 10:56 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

Like Baby Pictures!

Cat - runs with scissors! Ha!

If he is Belgian maybe he needs a name of nobility.

Looks like a gorgeous animal. Likes the other Baby too!

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:39 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

This weekend the vest we ordered came in the mail. It has a handle that I can hold for balance.

I couldn't wait to try it on him (still no name) and try it in the back yard. He seemed to fill with a sense of duty, and got intuitively the purpose of me holding on there. He stayed even better at my side and watched and responded to my turns. When I would lose my balance a bit (pretty common for me), I used him to counter it and he caught on in the first instant and counter braces for me.

Then we took him for a walk with it, same perfect behavior and performance. I think he is really proud that he has a job. And he does it well.

The other day, I was getting up off the floor and he came over and got in front of I used him to get up. That seemed to be what he was wanting.

So this makes him official now as he performs an actual task for me...but we still need to polish him out before taking him into public.

He doesn't seem to need a name, or words. What a crazy great derp dog. Not sure how I lucked out, but so glad I did.

Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 6:37 PM
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 287

Sun---Thanks for posting this update. Looks as if he has a natural ability.

Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2015 6:57 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Every day it changes, but I think his name will be Dreyfus...for no other reason than he is big and derpy. We are unlikely to call him by it, however, as he doesn't seem to need a name. It is not set in stone yet. Or Jaden (which rolls off my tongue for him). Or Bodhisattva (which I just love for him, means enlightened one, but who is still bound to birth, life, and death). These are the three most likely.

We had a long list of more spiritual names like Sage, Siddha, Bodhisattva or Bodhi (LOVE for him); Buddha (I still kind of like that one); Asva (means horse); Dharma (daughter says is girl name, but I love it for him); Om, Ahnihu, Namaste, Zen, or Jade (maybe made into Jaden to make it more manly, it is the one that rolls off my tongue the best); or D-O-G (dee-oh-gee), love that one, thanks for the suggestion.

My last dog was Heyoka, which is Lakota for the sacred clown. Apparently, in their culture they have a backwards person. I had been going to name him happy as I knew he would be when he sorted things out (rescue from neglect), but my cousin joked about naming the depressed dog, Heyoka it was. Official name: Heyoka, Coyote, Spirit Dog, Knower Of All Things. At one time we had a white dog like him that we passed on to a friend, named Tehya, another native American name...but I just cannot seem to find one for this guy.

We have more simple names too, like Winston, Murphy, Riley, Mr. Dog, or Dreyfus.

Nothing calls to me in connection with him (yet)...he doesn't seem to need or want a name. The record, however, needs a name. Whatever it is, will have (per my daughter) Eyes In The Dark, Watcher Of Souls, And Protector Of The Babe tacked on.


Long walk yesterday, by ourselves, with harness. He did really great, even when I took a different route. We stopped a number of times to work on laying down when I stand there, blocking and supporting me front and back - all brand new concepts, and handled all with ease.

When I would have him lay down, he kept his eyes on mine constantly...exactly like a normal service dog would...leading me to again wonder about this guy's past. I just cannot imagine that he was not in training previously. Either that, or he is the most amazingly intuitive dog I have ever met.

Store training, or rather acclimating, comes next...fingers crossed, because that is the real test, can I take him places?

Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2015 1:12 PM
Joined: 8/6/2015
Posts: 1736

So happy for you. I hope the store training goes well. Mine always found a place to pee!!!Maybe, because we mostly went to PETSMART!!! I just love all the good feelings that go back and forth between a dog and us. How wonderful you found each other now. Looks like he tolerates the young ones as well. An excellant trait!
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 8:04 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

It has been a long time since I posted an update, so here is some of what has happened since I last posted.

He has an official name now, "Bodhisattva Namaste," and boy was it a hard struggle to come up with one. Bodhi for short. Bodhisattva means enlightened one who is still bound by the birth/death cycle...and it seemed to fit. And, as odd as this dog is, as soon as I was as sure as I could be on the name, he answered to it and seemed proud (if a dog can be). Prior to my settling on it, he did not answer to it or acknowledge it at all.

We were finally able to give him a bath (had to wait for surgical cut to heal) and got all the rest of the deep mats out. His fur shines, and I actually think he has hair and not fur (except the undercoat). We get a light dusting of undercoat on the floor, like angel wisps, but he does not shed on you when you pet him, or on your clothes, and I am able to hug on him and rub up his fur in my polar fleece jacket and not a hair on it. Now that he has had a bath, brushing is a piece of cake.

He is about as comfortable with cars approaching from behind as I think he will ever get. He knows to look forward so does.

He has become excellent and reliable at the balance work, if I start toppling forward he gets in front of me and braces, or if I go back he backs up behind me and braces. I have been real tipsy and wobbly lately, so this has been real good.

We saw an excellent training program at the pound for relatively low cost (less than $100 per month), that will take him beyond the AKC Canine Good Citizen to the ACK Community Dog (I had not known there was such a thing); and they even have trick training. It is a work at your own pace, so I am confident that they will be able to help me finish him out so I can get up the nerve to take him places with me.

They listed their skill requirements for each level (things like hold eye contact for 10 secs, or stay when owner walks away and come with distractions around) and since reading them, and having the idea in my mind...would you believe he is just doing them. I can consistently get him to "wait" either sitting or laying down while I walk about the back yard and do things, and comes consistently when I call. We do not need to chain him at all either anymore.

I just cannot believe this heaven sent dog...but I am oh so grateful for that day that I got a wild hair and went and got him. How many things had to transpire to make that happen...what an absolute blessing. And that he came at a time when so many other things are going so wrong, and becoming so much more difficult...what a light to balance the rest of it all out.

Anyways, that is the update.

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 7:46 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Just wanted to give an update...and a video so you can see what I see in he is a little rough around the edges.

I feel remiss to say I train him, because really I just show him what to do and he just intuits it.  We repeat a few times and it becomes rock solid in him. 

This is the first time we tried sit-stay with distractions.  My daughter and granddaughter are in the background trying to get him riled.

The stay with distractions on a dropped leash with owner going out of sight, is part of the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.

He is rock solid on the blocks and bracing me when I stumble.  I hope to get a video of that one day as well. 

We haven't started formal training yet.

Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2015 10:34 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Well I sucked up my insecurities and Bodhi and I went into a mall today. His first time "in" somewhere.  They open an hour early for walkers.   We hadn't worked on doors, but he went though just fine at my side without issue.  But inside there were so many noises, people, smells...he didn't know what to make of it.  He stayed right at might side, but it will be something he has to get used to.  We stayed about half an hour, he started relaxing a little at the end...and was VERY glad to go home. I had thought I'd have trouble getting him back in the car, but as soon as I opened the back he was in. 

The next two steps are convincing him to lay at my feet if I sit somewhere, and bracing against me reliably during transactions so I can attend to the transaction.

Woop woop for Bodhi.

Posted: Monday, November 16, 2015 5:08 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Yesterday, was his second day at the mall.  He was a little more comfortable with it.  He still did the doors at my side perfectly.  This time we worked at walking right next to objects, and walls. I would have him block behind me, at an object, pretending to make a transaction.  And I worked at sitting a few times at tables to ask him to lay under the table at my feet.  He does it all better than I expect him to...and he keeps his cool, but it is stressful for him (like cars used to be), so he will need more familiarity with it all.

I continue to think that he is a reject service dog, and can see why.  He would not work for someone who was blind, but is just right for someone like me who can see and navigate the place.  Time and patience and a whole lot of practice is his rx.

We start next week at the training school.

Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 5:40 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Update on Bodhi.

Well we went twice to the training at the local Humane Society (that should have been able to take him through the AKC Canine Good Citizen and AKC Community Canine tests), but it was an utter failure.  The training provided was exclusively treat oriented, Bodhi is not treat motivated.  The trainer was not very good, and Bodhi was stressed and for the first time since I owned him, dropped hair...both times. 

To pass level 1, Bodhi was suppose to sit at my side and be so interested in the treat I was holding at his mouth that he does not look at a person coming up to say hi to me.  The first day, he almost did it.  The second time, I used the balance harness to try to suggest that we were working now...and he would not sit.  During the moment, I felt like we were utter failures and all was lost.  Then I realized, he should not sit when I am standing...he's a balance dog.  He is supposed to stand there and brace me...which he was.  No amount of my or the trainer's asking would get him to sit.  I walked away glad of it.  Good Bodhi.  Dumb me.

Upon reflection, I had to acknowledge that this training was not a happy thing for us...square pegs, round holes...and what I really loved with him is just that I can (now that I have this muscle med) walk with him.  I am so very happy to be able to go for walks.  And I wanted to get back to that. 

Unfortunately, our first few walks after we stopped the training program...and Bodhi has forgotten his blocks.  I am sure that they will come back in time, with patience and more work.  But is a bit of sad lesson for us. 

That said, all is not lost.  I met a lady at the Courage Center with a service dog the other day, and we got to chatting (she also uses hers as a balance dog).  She said that Can Do Canines will help you train your own dog (for a "donation").  Although, her's wasn't that well trained...I figure it had to be better than the Humane Society's program.  Worth a look into anyways. 

So this update is one step forward, three steps back. 


Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 4:20 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Thought I would be give update on Bodhi.  My friend an PCA (Personal Care Attendant) also be have service dog.  An she was willing bring her dog other day, help me an Bodhi get more comfortable out in stores.  We went a few stores an aft while Bodhi seemed relax bit more into idea that it ok be in busy buildings with other peop, without too much stress him.  Yea!

Now Bodhi be so read work that eve time he go out, he go straight car an point...say read go now mom. 

We have now taken him few more, what I would be consider "hard" stores an dog, like Walmart (where peop keep reach out pet him, eve without ask).  He is doing fantastic.  He so glad be with me, at my side, it is all he be want do in world. 

He now get when I be reach out get something off shelf, get in front me brace me.  I did no ask him this, he just do it.  Same at register, he get be tween me when I lean do card, he is there.  He does no eve seem want praise, he just know he be help me an that seem good nough him. 

He is eve prett cool peop pet him...he soft, he seem get joy from the small exchanges make some kids or pers's day.  

We even pass other hurdle, as he inadvertently be so ready leave that he just take me right my car.  One more thing we no have train him do, an he just seem do. 

More we work gether, my heart be touched deeper deeper gratitude him for he do some thing me that I can no do I just so grateful him.   

We have onl one last hurdle - doctors offices.  But he be my regular sidekick from now on.  Getting a service dog be best thing, for us.  <3

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 4:37 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

woo hoo Bodhi!

and this is what I do to my intelligent, confident, intuitive companion dog...

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 7:06 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020 it!!!  We just finially got our guy a bow tie.  <3
File Attachment(s):
IMG_5044.JPG (175694 bytes)

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 9:14 PM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

alz+ what's in Heidi's mouth? 

Sun, Bohdi is so photogenic and looks so regal and proud in his bowtie! 

Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 5:31 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

llee08032 wrote:

alz+ what's in Heidi's mouth? 

Sun, Bohdi is so photogenic and looks so regal and proud in his bowtie! 



Heidi is holding a green tennis ball with big teeth drawn on it. Saw photo of dog with ball in his mouth and the ball had big square teeth design - so I drew those square teeth on tennis ball.

she endures this kind of stuff politely. I still laugh at that picture because she is so regal.
Bodhi gets a gentleman's bowtie, Heidi has also worn pearls for portraits.

Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 6:10 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Heidi, is a beautiful girl! Yes regal, and she looks gentle. I have some pics with dog w/ santa suit and hat and glasses somewhere. 

Stay silly and keep having fun!