She has been an absolute dream ever since we brought her home yesterday! She slept through the night without a peep, continues to sleep in the crate without fussing during the day, and is doing great with potty training! She is so sweet, smart and affectionate - we’re all smitten! 😍
What a beautiful day it is today!! Alexa & I continued our hike on the Metacomet Trail and did 7 miles today! I am one tired, but very happy puppy and cannot wait to go take a nap by the pool 😴 I hope everyone has a great Sunday!!
we did it!!!! 🎊🎈🥳 after months of training, we passed our final test - Haupia is officially a fully qualified service dog!!! 🐕🦺 She’s come a looong way from the little crazy coconut who couldn’t sit still. 😂 looking forward to continuing to work and train with this special girl. 🤍💖🤍
A lot of people have asked me about our training process and what we had to do to get Haupia qualified as a service dog, so I wanted to give a quick summary of those requirements here. Please understand that you cannot just “register” online to get a service dog. You need to have a doctor’s note stating you have a disability and your quality of life can benefit from having a trained service animal. And please keep in mind that not all disabilities are visible. 🙏🏼
Our training company required us to pass 3 tests or phases to recognize her as a trained service dog, protected by the laws of the ADA:
Phase 1: AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) - general obedience test
Phase 2: AKC Community Canine - advanced CGC skills test
Phase 3: AKC Urban CGC - behavior and socialization test in a public store
All of her tests had to be taken on a flat collar (not a prong) and we couldn’t give her treats during the test. In addition to these tests, she also had to learn at least 3 tasks to help me with my disability.
Just because we’ve passed our 3 tests doesn’t mean we stop training. Quite the opposite, it’s a lifetime of learning together to look forward to!
So grateful for you, Haupia, my sweet girl. 🥰🤍
We went inside a store for the first time in 3 months! Ezra was too short to see the chicks at TSC but she was SO happy to be working again!
I was very nervous since we haven’t done anything in so long, and she’s been nothing but zoomie energy when we’ve gone to the barn, but she did so well today! She did get startled by a dog bed at first (lol). Swipe left to see us navigate a pig statue, a non service dog walking by us, and just some general training. We definitely need to practice again, mainly because I keep fumbling my words and need to sharpen my handling skills up.
How are you all handling returning your SD to work? I bet we’re all going to face various challenges along the way!
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Some call it the capital of the world, the city that never sleeps (true) where anything can happpen (also true). Personally, I think New York City is the best city in the world and also the worst.
I was born and raised in Manhattan until around 8, then moved just outside but continued to spend many weekends there. The city was my home and I was always drawn back to it. In college, I returned to NYC by attending Columbia University. I was happy to be back, but those four years were some of my toughest, and as time went by, my anxiety attached itself to the city itself, and not just the circumstances surrounding me. After college, I moved home, where I was careful to avoid trekking to the city as much as possible. I moved to London (my favourite city in the world and also home for me, but nothing like nyc), and then back home, and then to DC.
I have lived in many places around the world, and to this day there is nothing like New York City. I have a love-hate relationship with the city now. I try to avoid it as much as possible while still missing the feeling of being on a loud, busy street, able to disappear right there amongst the towering structures and thousands of people rushing by. But really I do miss being able to walk around the city, soaking it in, without becoming overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle that I used to enjoy, without wanting to break down and cry every time someone bumps into me (it’s New York, so it happens often). I miss my city and I’m sad at the fear and hatred I have come to feel towards it.
But yesterday I took Kingsley with me for the first time. I wanted to see how he would handle the city like no other, the concrete jungle, a true test for a service dog, and he took the city by storm. For the first time in a long time, with Koosh by my side, I was able to navigate the streets without shutting down. I was able to walk through throngs of people without shuddering in anticipation of being bumped into. It was still scary, don’t get me wrong, and we have a lot to work on as a team before I’ll be comfortable there again. But with my pawtner in crime by my side, I can love my city again.
“I’m getting a puppy - where do I start with training?” I get this question all the time!
I’m not a professional trainer but I want to share how I started with Ezra and what worked best for us. I want to preface this by saying I owner trained Ezra with the guidance of several trainers and it was helpful to have some well experienced handler friends to help me learn the ropes too! I always think it’s worth having a trainer to oversee your work and keep you on track!
Ezra came home at 7 weeks old, she had about two days of all cuddles and love to get acclimated, and then we started adding in training.
The first things she learned was her name, come, sit, and “eyes” or focus. I researched the hand signals and commands I planned on using ahead of time and tried to have an idea of what would suit us best.
We also crate trained!! The kennel is their safe space not a punishment. It teaches them boundaries and helps a lot with potty training! This way your dog will be comfortable if you ever need to travel with them in a crate or if they are dropped off at the vet for any reason. Crate training DOES NOT mean your dog should be stuck in the crate all day.
With Ezra being a service dog she needed to be used to following me everywhere so she was tethered to me for the first few months of her life. She either followed me, was in her kennel, or had supervised play time. Whenever she came to me on her own she got a treat, and if she got to the end of the leash I’d call her name and we’d have a “puppy party” with praise and treats for her coming to me.
We also kept very clear boundaries of what she is and is not allowed to do. No jumping, no biting, no barking, no playing in the kitchen, etc. I won’t go into details about how we trained every little thing in this post, but it’s so important to have boundaries with your dog. If you let them get away with things sometimes it’s more confusing for them when you’re trying to train. Set them up for success! They are more likely to listen and respect you when they know what they can and cannot do.
And lastly and most importantly... always be open to learning! We’re constantly learning new techniques and working to improve!
19 1,62921 May, 2020
Many of you have asked how I’m training Ezra to be around horses, and also we haven’t done anything but go to the barn lately so here’s an update!
Ezra has been learning some new commands to improve her horse skills! She’s learning “left” and “right” and how to pass behind me instead of in front. These new commands are actually derived from herding! We’re practicing on the ground around horses first, but then we’ll adapt those same commands while I’m on the horse. I don’t ever want her to get in front of the horse and get stepped on so that is why she’s learning these new commands that specifically direct her while keeping her safe. Considering how much she loves to run, maybe someday we’ll be able to do road trials! Has anyone else done this with their dog?