Saturday, December 5, 2009

Training Day 5

We're through our fifth day - halfway done. There are no days off in service dog training, so we're working straight through the weekend. Tracking again today, only this time I got to hold the leash instead of the head trainer, and no trainers went with Lori and Amelia (and Owen) to the hiding place.

(Without going into too much detail, unlike some search & rescue dogs, our dogs are trained to track people they know. They know the 4 Paws staff and that's who they're trained to track initially. They'll go with our kids the first couple times we track, so the dogs can make the transition from tracking them to tracking our kids.)

Bobo's a great tracker. All the dogs are really. Other than the sprinting and the cold, tracking is one of the easiest things the dogs have to do.

We spent the afternoon discussing different tracking scenarios and challenges, and asking Jeremy a lot of questions. We also did a little tethering work, though without the kids attached yet. Just getting the dogs to practice with someone pulling on their tether. And we worked on a few other techniques, like getting the dogs to sit, lie down, or come to the heel position regardless of where we are in relation to the dogs (i.e. in front, behind, beside, a few feet away, etc.)

Tonight we took Bobo to Petsmart today for some practice. That was at least as tough as the mall for him, but in slightly different ways.

Tomorrow, more tracking - this time inside the mall!

Here are some photos from Days 4 & 5...

Bobo, ready for tracking

Owen, smiling at somebody
Bobo, watching people at the mall

Bobo, sleeping with Amelia
(that's her in the yellow, buried in pillows)

Amelia, Bobo, and Owen in the car
(Edson was back home for school)

Some dogs practicing "down" with various distractions
(That's Bobo in the foreground)

Bobo looking almost "official"
with his new red harness on