I did want to write this in November but my Mum (I have decided to call her this rather than Mistress – as this is too formal) was too busy to put fingers to computer. So we are writing it now just before she goes on holiday to the Holy Land. I know she is going as she keeps praying that I won’t miss her and that I will remember that she is coming back. Of course Mimi and I will miss her and I hope that she will miss me. That is what love is about. We dogs understand love better than anyone. Look how faithful, silent, obedient and just loving we are.
Anyway to update you we have been busy as RECOVERY Assistant Dogs as usual. Oh and good news as a birthday present for my Mum I passed the Bronze Kennel Clubs Good Citizen Dog Scheme Award on November 14. It was the evening before Mum’s birthday and I knew she would be pleased. I sailed through and now I have to do my Silver and Gold. We all have to do the equivalent of this to be fully trained RECOVERY Assistance Dogs.
On November 19 we went to the Assistance Dogs Forum at the Guide Dogs for the Blind Breeding Centre in Warwickshire. It was fun meeting all the other Assistance Dog groups. We met 7 Assistance Dogs International and UK Members – Support Dogs (22 years old), Hearing Dogs (32 years), Dogs for Disabled (26 years), Canine Partners (24 years), Medicinal Detection Dogs (6 years old), Guide Dogs for the Blind (100 years) and Dog Aid.
We at RECOVERY Assistance Dogs started the project in July 2011 so we are only 3 years old although the charity RECOVERY started in July 2004 so you could say we are 10 years old. Anyway it is very little to do with age!
We have to become Candidates to become Members of Assistance Dogs International, Europe and UK. The other Organisations that need to do this with us are Seeing Dogs Alliance, Woofability, Hounds for Heroes, Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland, Veterans with Dogs and Ability Dogs for Young People. So it is a good idea to show Assistance Dogs Europe that our training of dogs is rigorous. This is why we are linking up with the Kennel Club GCAS as do Dog Aid.
I hope you all understand this as it is a bit beyond me. Please let me know if you need any other information and my Mum will help you. Meanwhile I will keep you dated when we get to be Candidates.
We now do STRAD (Survivors Training RECOVERY Assistance Dogs) Training every Tuesday at 3pm-4pm at Evington Park House. It is great fun as all the dogs can get together and have a bit of a social. It is about making sure that we can do all the things that make people say ‘good dog’. That is what I love to hear most. All the treats and toys are fine. But just some praise really makes my day and makes me feel that I am completing my mission to keep Mum happy. So I can sit and stay when asked for 5 minutes or more. I can sit for this length of time or l will stay lying down if asked. This is really useful if we go to a café as I will stay at a table and keep it for us as Mum gets the drinks. I have learned to walk closely when Mum says ‘stay close’ and don’t pull especially in crowds. I always let Mum go through doors first. I will stop when told when off the lead and lie down if asked. I will not fetch something if it is thrown until told ‘fetch’. Then I will bring it back to Mum. This is all Level 1 stuff and really easy. I practice it most days when out with Mum and so it is good!
As far as Level 2 is concerned I help Mum with anxiety and fear. These thanks to Jesus and with my help have all gone now. I stay close to Mum even when off the lead. When we get in the house I search for anything creepy and would bark if someone was in the house. This is the reason I bark at the lodger just to let her know that I know that he is here. Also so that he is good and polite to Mum. If Mum is about to feel anxious I know it and will jump on her lap and put my paws round her neck to kiss and lick her until she feels better. In fact it actually avoids the anxiety completely. Mum has taught us to bark on cue. This took about 6 months and we needed treats and a clicker for this. So now if someone nasty is near (very few of those around here in Leicester I hope) she says ‘talk Milli’ or makes an action with her hand and I will bark. Mimi has learned to do it too by copying me! Finally we have been taught to only approach people that we are allowed to. This is because us dogs are brilliant for social inclusion but not everyone wants to talk to us. This took a few months to teach as it is natural for us in our own territory to rush up to people we don’t know and sometimes bark. So we have stopped doing this, especially at the RECOVERY Studio, occasionally we need a reminder.
Don’t forget to get in touch with me if you need to ask anything or if you just want to let me know if you like my Blog.