You guys probably think I have fallen off the face of the Earth. But I am here to assure you that I have not. I’ve been struggling with some life issues, so I haven’t found the time to write anything. Until now…
I have been in and out of the hospital the past few months, but Noble is still doing awesome. Everytime i come home, I’m dreading the fact that Noble is probably really misbehaved. Thanks to my parents, He is always fantastic and still excited to work.
Noble has reached that stage where he knows what his vest means. As soon as I start putting his gear on, he immediately calms down and puts on his work face. While he does calm down, he still jumps for joy and starts pulling on my clothing so that we can go work. I love his enthusiasm.
Noble is the whole reason I wake up in the morning. When I have trouble sleeping at night, I always can count on his snoring to put me to sleep. I think it’s the vibration that I like… Trust me, there is a lot of vibrations. He snores like a pig. I love it!
For the past month, I have been in the hospital trying to get my disability under control. It was a good thing, but I couldn’t have Noble with me. When you start training a service dog, you can’t help but bond with them. After a month or so, he/she becomes a part of you.
When I’m apart from Noble, it feels like I lost my arm. It was so hard to be away from Noble for so long. I was afraid that our bond wouldn’t be as strong when I finally got discharged. My worries turned out to be false because when I walked in to see Noble, he was licked me and hugged me until I fell to the floor.
He won’t let me out of his sight now and is always wanting to work. I’m still recovering, so I need him to get me out and about. It’s so good to be home and snuggle with Noble whenever I want. I’m sleeping a lot better as well with the pressure of Noble on top of me.
He is also doing so awesome in his training. My dad took over while I was in the hospital and he did awesome. I took Noble to his first doctor’s appointment and he was amazing. he alerted me a couple time and responded exactly like he was supposed to. I was so impressed.
Nevertheless, I’m glad to be home and making my way to recovery with the help of Noble.
When you decide that service dog is the right option for you, you typically get on your computer and find a program that will train it for you. You may find a program that will help you out, but it is extremely expensive for the training of the dog. Even if you don’t have the issue of cost, you will be waiting years to begin training. Sadly, if you are not a veteran, autistic, or a minor, you won’t be a high priority.
That is when you make the decision to train the dog yourself. The only problem is that you still have your disability to deal with on top of training this new puppy. Let me tell you what, it can be extremely difficult to manage at times. With a dog so young and still in training, you have to stay on top of the training.
I have been in and out of the hospital for the past couple months, so I
haven’t been able to work him as much as I need to. Even when I’m not in the hospital, I don’t want to work him because I am just flat-out exhausted. Noble ends up getting the short end of the stick because not only has he not seen me in a week, but now he doesn’t get to do what he loves when I’m back.
My parents are often the ones to push to get back into routine with his training. Noble is awesome no matter how long I’m away from him, but he starts to develop bad habits that I have to break. The good thing is that after a good day of work, he and I are both welcome to the idea of a nap.
I guess the purpose of this post to educate you on the challenges of owner training. Even when you know what you’re doing, you still have the disability. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from training their own dog, but just getting you prepared for what you are going to be doing.
This past weekend was an interesting one. My family and I have moved and still moving. So, we went to the old house to do some cleaning and I brought Noble to help make a mess. I was in the basement with Noble and I ended up having one of my seizures.
I don’t remember what happened before the seizure, but I’m pretty sure he was alerting if I had paid attention. Anyways, my mom had come downstairs when she heard me and came to find Noble responding to the seizure. I haven’t worked with him on this yet, so he naturally knows what to do.
Seizure response is where he licks myface and lays on me to apply Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). This helps me come out of the seizure much faster. Instead of my episode lasting 10+ minutes, it only lasted about 5 minutes.
A couple days later, I was driving to work and Noble kept licking my face and leaning on me. I was getting annoyed because I was driving, so I just kept pushing him off me. Eventually, I realized that he was alerting me and turned around to go back home.
I am over the moon with excitement that Noble is naturally performing these tasks. This means that he will graduate to “Service Dog” status a lot faster. He will be amazing.
This past week has been a lazy one. I have not been feeling super great, so we were either at work or home this week. The good thing is that I have been working with Noble on being outside his kennel. He is beginning to outgow his kennel at the shop, so I thought it was time.
I also took Noble to his first intermediate walking class yesterday. I was really nervous about him pulling the whole time because he is such a social dog, but he was amazing. It helps that I was a little more comfortable this time.
The class has 40 other dogs in it, and we work through the basic commands with the distraction of whining and excitable dogs. Noble was the youngest one there and just rocked it. I am so proud of him.
He has gone above and beyond my expectations. He is already alerting me to anxiety and responding appropriately. He is very chill… Most of the time, and happy to just sit and snuggle. I love all his quirks and now I wouldn’t be able to sleep without his snoring.
I have begun Noble’s scent training to alert me before a seizure occurs so that I can prevent it. It is fairly simple to do and Noble is all for it.
First, you have to mix a special treat for this training. I mixed some bacon treats and juicy ham with some of his dog food and let it marinate for a couple days. You don’t want to give your dog this special treat unless you are scent training so that they look forward to the training.
Then, I got two paper bowls and punched holes in the bottom of one and put the sample in between the two bowls. You make a sample by rubbing a cotton swab on your skin when you are having a seizure or have high/low blood sugar. then you can freeze them until you are going to use them.
Next, you have to decide what you want your dog to do for an alert. Some options are pawing your leg, licking your hands, touching their nose on you leg, making consistent eye contact, or whining/barking. I like Noble to lick me when he alerts because it isn’t painful obnoxious, and I hate it just enough that I will pay attention to him.
Now, all you have to do is give the command for what you chose as your alert (In my case it’s “lick”), and then throw a couple pieces of the dog treats into the bowl with the sample. You have to keep the training sessions short because the scent will only last for 5 minutes.
The goal is to get your dog so excited about that scent that they start drooling as soon as they smell it. That means you’re doing it right. I will keep working with Noble for the next month and he will hopefully have it down.
Well… I took Noble to church today. He did surprisingly well. I am very happy with his progress. I’m so freaking proud that I have excited butterflies. The good kind of butterflies. I think that part of the reason he did so well is because he hasn’t been out all week.
We have had about a foot or more of snow with -26 degree cold. I was more worried about making it home than getting him out to work. Due to him not getting worked, he has been extremely ornery and noisy all week. Which made me grumpy (and a little embarrassed) and an early bedtime for the both of us.
Tomorrow is the final class for Noble’s basic obedience. I am really excited to keep moving. After basic, we will move on to intermediate classes which is basic commands with a lot of distractions. After that, we will move on to advanced training which is off leash training…. Yay!
It seems that I have spent the past couple years waiting. Now things are finally moving in a direction that I can actually see and be giddy about. Sometimes I can’t help but laugh. 6 months ago, I would be in my bed shaking at the thought of snow on the roads. Now I’m more worried about how early I should show up towork, than my being able to get there at all.
I thank God every night for the way everything is turning out. There is no possible way that I could get Noble to do what he is doing now, without God’s help.