Saturday, January 03, 2009

jesse so far

Truly, I've had nothing arty to write about and about a million more nature-in-winter photos to post (and, in a moment of weakness, probably will) so I've been avoiding my blog. The only thing I've created in the past three or four weeks (besides a commotion with Rock Band 2) went directly into the recycle bin. On Monday I start working on that mojo relocation project. As for year-end/beginning reflections and overviews and lists and deep stuff like that, I'm swimming in the shallow end right now, so would rather take the fifth.

Adventures in service dog training: We took a bit of a Christmas holiday. It's back to puppy class on Monday and I'm fearing the worst. Jesse has been suffering from cabin fever so severely (partly due to the fact that I injured the ACL in my left knee) that he almost flattened a frail old woman at my dad's nursing home yesterday, then, when visiting my uncle, annoyed his extremely geriatric dogs (who are, thankfully, much bigger than him) enough that it was time to go all too soon. I'm totally in love with him, he's smart and sweet and funny (who knew an empty 4L milk jug could provide so many hours of noise and entertainment?) and beautiful, but he may end up being too dog distractible to be a good service dog. He would make an awesome companion dog for a family with a special needs child, though. In any case, at eight months old it's too early to tell and I'm far from qualified to even take a guess. His future will be determined when he enters advanced training in a few months' time (probably the summer). It's been a really big learning curve for me as I've never done any dog training more advanced than basic obedience for my own two departed pooches, with the exception of learning hand signals for a deaf, three-legged Australian Shepherd we fostered for a few months until he went on to an amazing home. Learning to use 'here' after saying 'come' for 17 years (service dogs have their own language), plus the 'release' command, which I still have a lot of trouble with (as you will see in the video as I totally forgot to use it), are just two of many examples.

Here's the little video we made this morning of Jesse, me, some tasty cheese, and another snowy day on the wet coast (this is starting to get old), going through some of the commands we've learned. We've never had a camera that takes videos with sound until now, when I got Greg a Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, a super compact digital, for Christmas. I'm pleased with the quality from such a little thing, if not so much the dog trainer

For better quality watch here on YouTube and choose 'watch in high quality' below the video.


Blogger Ellen said...

What an undertaking. Good job! So if he doesn't make the grade, do you have the option of keeping him? (And I've been acting like an 80 yr old lady and never tire of taking about all this *&%@#*% snow here. Unbelievable)

3/1/09 7:14 p.m.  
Blogger LG said...

Interesting art...Love the photos...esp of the birds - they are beautiful.


3/1/09 9:03 p.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

It made me smile. :)
hey lots of snow!! and as for nature photography ... kind of gets you sucked in. I think it's the instant eye candy and pleasure of taking a photograph.

4/1/09 3:35 a.m.  
Blogger WW said...

It's OK to swim in the shallow end every once in a while :-)

The YouTube vid is awesome! Both trainer and trainee are doing spectacularly well.

What a beautiful, open concept and colours in your house too, Andrea.

4/1/09 8:52 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ellen: I don't think so. There is a waiting list of adopters of dogs who attain the big F. I would if I could!

LG: Thank you and thanks for visiting.

Toni: And the pleasure of a new species!

WW: Yeah -- but what if I drown there? :) Thanks for the kind words, WW, and the house is a plain ol' '60s bungalow-with-basement that had a fantastic back addition added to the kitchen/dining room in 1991. It's what sold us on the place.

4/1/09 11:19 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Lovely to hear your voice!

As well as seeing you both in action.

I don't think I'm brave enough to make a video of Teasel - she is a thinking dog - even when she knows what's wanted and how to do it she frequently spends a while wondering if its really worth it just now... she's back in school this week too... I'd love to find a clicker trainer locally but for now we're continuing with the standard classes.

4/1/09 11:55 a.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

I'm impressed! That was an awfully long string of commands and his attention didn't seem to waver even once (the power of food with a lab :-) Enjoyed the little glimpse into your house too. I've always wanted to ask you if you have much of your own work hanging in your home... I think I spotted a couple pieces in the diningroom?

5/1/09 7:13 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Caroline: My voice .... barking commands? (How appropriate! :) Jesse is very food motivated, being a Lab, but if a stray dog were to walk behind me I'd have no power whatosever...

Nadine: My work tends to rotate a little. I have one giant (4' x 4') painting hanging in the non kitchen dining room which tends to dominate.

5/1/09 9:37 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Some foods motivate Teasel - though often its more the attention of being hand-fed I think - Teasel is currently very distractable by other dogs, footballs, bikes, runners.... um... most things really!

5/1/09 10:30 a.m.  
Blogger EmPrint said...

Your dog training is impressive. I've just inherited a 2 yr. old cocker/poodle mix with poodle smarts. So far, I'm the one being trained!!

5/1/09 6:37 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

Great work! I'm reading a wonderful novel right now that I'm really enjoying that has dog training at its center: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It's my favorite book in the past year or two and I'll be sad when I'm finished with it. If Jesse doesn't qualify as a service dog, would you be able to (or want to) adopt him?

6/1/09 10:29 p.m.  
Blogger Deborah Ross said...

Awww...give him a hug for me, would you? Jesse looks like a wonderful dog, maybe he will be less distractible with age. You have done a great job with him. He was very intent on the commands, of course, I know the treats help.

7/1/09 6:25 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

EmPrint: A friend also just got a cocker/poodle and what a terrific puppy she is! Like a big cocker with the poodle face and smarts.

Jana: There's a wwaiting list for 'fail dogs' so I don't think I'd be able to adopt him. Must check out that book, though!

Deborah: That's the next big hurdle: keeping him that focused without the treats!

7/1/09 9:33 a.m.  
Blogger San said...

You are so pretty!

And you're doing a great job with Jesse. And how fun to see part of your home--it looks like a true comfort zone--and such a lovely setting.

7/1/09 11:39 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

San: With yet another birthday looming you have no idea how much I appreciate that comment! And our home is quite simple but it's this part of it that I fell in love with.

7/1/09 12:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's gorgeous Andrea ! I enjoyed watching your video !

8/1/09 3:06 p.m.  
Blogger donna said...

Well, raising Darwin, my therapy dog, we went through a lot of those hurdles. My trainer Joella used to say they don't have any brains until they are about 18 months old, and then one day the UPS guy shows up and delivers their brains.

An 8 month old puppy is going to be pretty lively. He'll settle down eventually. Darwin did well enough to get his CGC at 7 months old, but we didn't start therapy work until he was almost a year old. He's two and a half now and doing great.

8/1/09 6:18 p.m.  
Blogger justin said...

Your photos are lovely, Andrea, and the lighting on them is fantastic. Great to see you and Jesse in action ~ they say that to train a dog, you have to train the owner first. :)

9/1/09 12:14 a.m.  
Blogger Grammacello.JoAnne said...

Wow, I am VERY impressed!
You are doing a great job with him- Our dogs are trained-all 3 did basic and novice but with John, not me- So obviously there are a lot of unfamiliar commands. I mean, maybe your, um, presentation (or whatever) could have been slicker, or something ,if that is what you are feeling dissatisfied with, but Jesse has learned it- he is doing a great job! Plus, what a gorgeous boy. It will be hard to give him up- (or not?)Heh.
Anyway- "hi"- loved the various e-mails- I am snowed under both literally and with too much teaching. The pictures look wonderful, by the way, in our increasingly home-looking living room- we've been here 10 months now and I must say, it feels more and more like home.
Good louck with the sale.

17/1/09 2:11 p.m.  

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