The Amazing Owen
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First Day of Dog Training
After much anticipation, today was our first day of training with Jigsaw.  Today I went alone, we'll add Owen into the mix tomorrow. It was a full day of work in a place where Owen really wouldn't be able to get down and crawl so it would have been too much for him to sit in the stroller for the whole day.  And it was easier to start with the basics without adding in a stroller and 4 year old to work with. 

And yes, there are more pictures at the end of the verbage. 

I think it went quite well.  Jigsaw really knows her stuff and just loves to work so that makes it easier on me. Leil is Jigsaw's trainer, and she is an incredibly patient person as I try to remember the right command words over and over again.  Our pet dog Bob went through some training when he was a puppy and I still tend to fall back on the command words that I remember from his training when I get flustered.  "Heel" is a command that most people know, but it is not specific enough for a service dog - they know "Left" and "Right" so that they can go to the side that is most helpful to their partner.  I used "OK" to release her from a "Sit" or "Wait" a few times instead of "Release" like I should have. 

Today we did: 
Sit
Down
Stand
Wait
Left
Right
Let's Go
Stay
Release
Come (Come from wherever and sit centered in front of me at attention)
Here (Come to our general area, or tells them to bring what they are carrying to you)
Settle (Tells them they can relax in a specific place)
Place (Tells the the place that you want them to be in, in today's case a blanket on the floor)
Get It (You point to an object, or give them an object to carry in their mouth)
Park (Do your business now please)
Load (Get into your crate/car)
Unload (Get out of your crate/car)
No (oops, you got that one wrong, please correct it)
Yes (An affirmative that they did the right thing)
Hold (Hold an object in their mouth and don't let go)
Give (Give the object in your mouth to me)
Drop It (Drop the object in your mouth on the floor)
Leave It (Yes, I know you'd really like that smelly thing on the floor but it's time to work now)
Back (Take a few steps straight back)
Quiet (Please don't whine)

We had to do the recall from a distance (letting them sit and wait at a distance from you and then having her "come" to the proper spot) several times before she ended up right in front of me where she belonged, but we both got there in the end.  We also did a "meet and greet" exercise with a puppy that is just about to start his training.  This requires you to keep your dog under control even with the distraction of an untrained dog in the area.  We also did some of the other commands with the puppy playing in the room.  It is considerably harder to keep her attention when there is another dog to play with and it took a few tries to do some of the things but again we were much improved by the end.  I think Jigsaw and I will need some more practice in this area. 

We played games of throwing and fetching which she just loves to do.  We also went over a lot of paperwork, talked a lot about service dogs in general and discussed the testing that will come eventually.  She showed how she could open a refrigerator door, get out a bag from inside and close the door back up.  She picked up objects off the floor and put them in a clothesbasket.  She then tugged the clothesbasket across the room. We practiced going through doors and the logistics of person/dog/leash all getting through the door without getting tangled and Jigsaw waiting to be the last out the door so that she can't bolt.

And both Jigsaw and Leil were kind enough to let me take their pictures and even kinder to say that I could post them here. 

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Leil and Jigsaw demonstrating to me the position she should end up in from a "Come" command:

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And demonstrating the "Right" command:

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And showing me how patient she could be in a "Sit" and "Wait" while I took her picture:

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It was a long day for all of us, but it was a lot of fun.  We will do a half-day with Owen with me tomorrow and then come back to it next week when we'll hopefully get to start working in our home to start customizing her (and my) training to the things we'll need around the house.
 
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