Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training Blues

Kai and I attended agility class again this past Thursday. I look forward to going to class because I have so much fun working with my dog. Watching him learn is truly exciting and you always learn something new when training dogs. It is never the same for every dog, they are truly individuals no matter how much they may look alike.

Kai is doing well in agility class, I think that most of the problems are mine. I am new to agility having trained in obedience for over twenty years the world of agility is something I am still getting used to. Also the fact that I must use a wheelchair to get around severely limits my ability to keep up with Kai and also to perform many of the maneuvers that the other handlers can do almost without thinking. So with quite a few things Kai and I are struggling. The other owners and their dogs are doing so much better than we are at several things, the most obvious one is Kai's arch nemesis the weave poles.

Kai started out doing very well with weave poles but as the guides disappeared he started having more and more trouble. Last summer and fall I did not have a wheelchair ramp so getting out of the house to practice was extremely difficult so I was not able to work with Kai on the weave poles much at all. This winter of course outdoor practice is out of the question and indoors I have absolutely no room to put up a set of weave poles and run Kai through his paces.

Now the lack of practice time is showing. While the other dogs in his class seem to be very proficient at the weave poles Kai is struggling to get the concept. This week we had to go through the weave poles twice during the course and Kai did not complete them totally on his own even once. We were able to get time to concentrate on the weaves at the end of the class and we were successful going through the poles when he is on my left side several times. Every time we had a major party and the rewards were many. Doing the weave poles when he is on my right however are another kettle of fish. He seems to not even notice the obstacle is there!

I need to troubleshoot and figure out what the exact problem is and work to overcome it. It could be that he has difficulty being on my right because of previous obedience training and working as my service dog he is oriented to being on my left. It could also be one of a million other things. I am looking forward to spring when Kai and I can use my new wheelchair ramp to get outside at anytime and practice weave poles or do anything else we may want to do. A walk in the spring sunshine sounds wonderful to me now. Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A quiet Saturday

There is not much going on today. It is very quiet, even all the animals are napping as I write this. The sunshine of the past few days has abandoned us so we are back to our usual dreary white gray skies that everyone loves to hate. I can be positive about the weather and say that at least it is not snowing! What is there to do on such a sleepy day? My dogs are only interested in catching some sleep like they have been up late partying. I was considering joining them but I seem to be wide awake so I will have to find other entertainment. Time to sort through the photo album and post a few pictures.
Kai in his working gear

I went to Washington DC with ADAPT this past September. We were there to express our opinion about Health Care Reform and other issues affecting the disabled community. I learned a great deal about civil disobedience and protesting while I was there. We are a peaceful group for the most part but we are definitely heard! Being a photo bug I took pictures when I could. Of course, Kai was with me. Above is a picture of him relaxing during all the action at HUD. It was over eighty degrees most of that week so finding shade for him was at times problematic. When all else failed I carried an umbrella! Creativity wins.

We were followed every where by police. I never knew there were so many different law enforcement officers in Washington DC. We not only had the Washington DC police force following us but also White House Police, Homeland Security and Capitol Police depending on what part of the city we were in. As you can tell, the police had a great deal of down time where not much was going on. The above picture was taken near the White House.

The first day we dressed in black and held a memorial for all the disabled that have died in nursing homes that they were forced into because they are not given the choice for home care. It was an impressive sight!

I guess I spoke too soon about the snow, as it has started falling. Kai has awakened from his nap and wants to go outside to play. I guess it is the end of my quiet Saturday.