Amy's Blog

23 June 2017

Thank you so much for being one of my new Sponsors. I live with a RECOVERY Assistance Dogs Trainer and am being trained specifically for a client who is unable to do so themselves.  I feel this is the best way to help them in their journey to Mental Health recovery. I meet the client at Puppy Training Sessions and on weekly visits and am looking forward to going to live with them when I am a year old. This will be when I have passed my Level 1 Assessment and have a RAD Vis Jacket. I am the first puppy to be trained by a RAD Trainer for a client. I feel really honoured to be doing this and feel committed to the Mission of RAD Dogs to help a Survivor to become more independent with choice and control in their life.

I would like to tell you some more about my life, my mission and myself. I am a little Cocker Spaniel puppy of 3 months old called Shalom (Sha-Sha for short). The trainer chose me, as I am such a calm, peaceful and loving puppy. At the beginning I felt a little put out being taken away from my Mum at 8 weeks old but then I noticed that it’s fun at my new home playing with the other two dogs. We romp around together in the garden, tugging at toys and darting under the bushes. I run up to the adult dogs and that makes them growl playfully then we chase it eachother. The other two dogs have been trained as RECOVERY Assistance Dogs and are great Mentors for me. Please see the photo of us all here below.
My RAD Trainer has already noticed how clever, cute and funny I am. The first thing I learned was to come when called. That was easy as everytime I turned up at the Trainer’s side after she called “Sha-Sha” in a high voice I got a treat. Simple no brainer! Treats, hugs and toys really work as motivation for me. Next I learnt to ‘go to bed’ when asked. Here I can feel safe as am not getting under anyone’s feet. Of course I learned to sit, lie down and stand in the first week too. We practice this in the bank and at the word ‘sit’ I now sit to attention like I am in the Army until I get a treat. Then if the Trainer says ‘stay’ I will remain seated for a little longer for another treat. Wow so young to be learning all this! Yes but I love the training and feel like I am part of a team. I just want to please my trainer, be good and feel included. What’s the next thing? Well we are starting Puppy Training this Friday. We will be doing two classes per week and I am really looking forward to meeting all my new playmates.
We have really packed in the socialisation puppy plan since I arrived at my Trainer’s home. We go out into town every day and I love all the sights, sounds and smells of the Market. I am learning not to pick everything up and also not to mouth the people I meet. My trainer has taught me to stop this and chew on treats or toys. If I try to mouth human flesh they make a loud noise that I don’t like. When I am being good and not mouthing I get a treat so this is working.
Do hope you are okay and are managing to get out and about in the Sunshine. I just love the walks in the parks in Leicester especially with all the smells of mown grass and spring flowers.
Look forward to writing to you again soon when I can tell you all about my progress.
Lotsa loves, licks and hugs,

Shalom

16 October, 2017

Hi I have been so busy and have much to tell you about my mission and life as a RECOVERY Assistance Dog. Am much bigger now as you can see from my photos. I love my food and eat everything put in front of me. My RAD Trainer, who I have lived with since I was 8 weeks old, is really pleased with my progress. I have learned so many manners and when not too distracted I am really obedient and good. My friend Milli that I live with is a great example she shows me how to behave when we go out and sit under the table.

Let me give you an example of this. I have learned to wait before I start eating. So my Trainer puts my food down in front of me and says wait. Of course I would like to start noshing but to please her I look adoringly at her until she says ‘okay take it’ and I know this means I can start. In fact, the word ‘wait’ I now understand in quite a few different environments. Like when walking through a door when my Trainer says ‘wait’ it mea ns I let her go first. So it really means don’t rush about but stop what I am doing for a moment and watch. All this took a while to train don’t think that it was all done in a split second but with positive reinforcement of treats, praise and sometimes a clicker too I can pick these things up in a few weeks, days or minutes.

The Puppy Dog Training I did with an APDT Member Instructor was really good fun in particular I enjoyed playing with other puppies. So much so that my RAD Trainer decided that it was too much of a distraction and in our STRAD (Survivors Training RECOVERY Assistance Dogs) Training we only play after the Training Session in the Park. Am sure she is right as I went through a stage when I couldn’t focus on the tasks. I have completed my Kennel Club Good Citizen Puppy Foundation Course now and am starting to train with the Adult Dogs in STRAD. Am really enjoying this and if you look on the RAD FB Page at:
 https://www.facebook.com/groups/RECOVERYDogsforWellbeing/
You will see me being trained to ‘loose lead walk’ and to ‘go to bed’ by my favourite Training Assistant Maria. When I walk on a loose lead I can feel that this is good for my wellbeing and that of my owner. It’s a great skill and I am getting good at it with all the practice we get.

Finally, here is a picture of me in my crate with my friends Milli (My Trainer’s own RAD Dog) and Mimi (retired Assistance Dog). Thanks so much for your sponsorship.

Lotsa loves, licks and hugs,

Sha-Sha

25 January, 2018.

Hi Thank you very much for continuing to sponsor me so that I can help my Mummy recover her wellbeing. I have gone to her early, and have been with her for three months now. I went early, because she needed me, and has agreed to train me as this is seen a therapy for Mental Health. I love being with her and snuggle up as close as I can to her at home. This helps us both to feel love & needed. Mummy has bought me some toys, and we love playing together. I especially love the big ball Mummy bought me. I am very good, and I always go to bed, when Mummy tells me to go. I was taught as a puppy to do this, and I remember everything taught me. I am such a good companion to Mummy as I enjoy sitting on the piano stool and listening to her playing. Please see the photo here.
Mummy and I are getting along just great with the training. I am enjoying the STRAD Sessions at RECOVERY Assistance Dogs training. Although I can be naughty puppy sometimes and whine because I want to play with the other dogs. I am learning to be off my lead more regularly & still to stay close to Mummy. This helps me to be more settled as I have choice and control in my life. Everyone is very patient with me, and I am enjoying listening to Mummy and work out what she wants so I get a treat. Although, Mummy just loves having me around and I am a comfort to her. She often tells me that I am a good girl. And that I am her special baby. I am learning all the things that I need to know to be a good Assistance dog like settling on the mat and staying quiet.
I also go with Mummy to local training near where I live. I have started my Bronze Good Citizen training here. I am getting really good at walking alongside Mummy, with her giving me treats. 
Oh and Mummy has changed my name to Amy Shalom. She feels this name suits me better. Amy is a very special name to Mummy and I am her special girl. So now my full name is Amy Shalom. As I am mummy's special girl who brings her peace.

Thank you for all your help, once again.
Lotsa loves, licks and hugs,

 Amy.

1st June, 2018

Hello! First I want to thank you for continuing your sponsorship!

I have been really busy lately — Snuggling up to my mum, playing with my favourite toys, being a good girl, and most Importantly, training for my Public Access Wellbeing test.
I love the training sessions because I always get nice treats, attention, encouragement, and I love how happy my mummy is when I do something really well!
I still get a little distracted by having other dogs around, because I really really want to play with them, but I am learning to be a little more calm.
 
As long as there are no distractions, I listen to my commands really well, and I know I just need to keep practicing to master the training in any possible situation.
I am also improving at walking nicely on my lead, staying close while walking through a building, and going through doors. I know these are very important skills I need to get super good at so I can pass my Public Access Wellbeing test with flying colours, so I always do my best!
 
I love learning all of these things because I want to become the very best Assistance dog for my mum, because I love her very much, and I know she loves me lots as well! She always says I am a very good sweet girl and having me around makes her feel so much better.
Again, thanks for all your help!
Lotsa loves, licks and hugs
 
 
 
 
 
Amy
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