THOR and I are now an Official Domesti-PUPS “Petting PUPS” Therapy Team In Training!
Saturday morning, we got up early, had a good breakfast, leashed up (with Lucy in tow… well, or… towing us!) and went for a good walk/jog/mini-training session.
It. Was. Hot… and the session didn’t go as well as i had hoped. but i kept telling myself that i can’t let my nerves flow from me all the way through the leash, or THOR will not do well at all.
we get home, i clean his ear (poor pooch has a chronic yeast infection in his left ear… i am open to suggestions on how to fix, if anyone has them), and then try a few impromptu commands in the kitchen.
he wasn’t having it.
at this point, i decided we were doomed.
instead of going ballistic in the kitchen, i walked away and decided to remain calm and consider today to be our FIRST test, and that would help us prepare for the second and maybe third (fourth?) test until we passed.
we headed out in the heat, to make our 10:30 test time, with a little padding to make sure he had plenty of ops to potty on every bush, tree, blade of grass in sight before the test.
i am attempting to remain calm…
we walk up to the testing area (amidst high heat and high winds… oh dear, this can’t be good), and meet up with Pam #1 – our awesome Class Trainer. From Day One she knew THOR would have a time at all of this… and kept reminding me throughout the class, “if he eliminates during the test, he will NOT pass!” (hence the pre-planned potty breaks!)… and she said to us, “don’t worry- we’ll hold another testing session in October.”
Great. event Pam thinks we will fail.
so i told myself to calm down (not an easy feat, if you know me), and take the test one task at a time, not to look at it as one whole mountain, just little hills to climb… we’ll figure out where we need improvement, and prepare for the test in October.
We were paired up with a test evaluator (she was awesome!) and proceeded to go through the following test objectives:
- Controlled Entry: we had to walk together through a door – THOR could not rush in front of me, or cower behind me = PASSED
- Greet a Stranger: “Hello, may I pet your dog?”, (THOR’s most favorite thing in the world: People loving on him) = PASSED
- Allow a Stranger to Pet: she brushed him, checked his paws and ears, being mindful of the tenderness of the left ear = PASSED
- Reaction to Loud Noises: dropping pans, moving wheel chairs, no problem = PASSED
- Controlled Heal with turns, & Sit Command: walk along an L-shaped course, right turn, U-turn & left turn, while leash is in loose Heal: PASSED (slightly shocked)
- Sit, Down, Stay, Come: Place dog in “Sit” (okay), Place dog in “Down” (still working on this, and didn’t complete), Place dog in “Stay” (90% on this, usually), Trainer to walk 15-feet from dog, turn around and then call dog to “Come” = PASSED (with the caveat to continue to work on “Down”)
- Greet a Stranger with a Strange Dog: we met up with Buster and Paco (i believe), “Double Trouble” as i told THOR, and of course, he thought this mean Play Time, and we had to go back and start over. the trainer was kind enough to give some ideas on how to work on this, we tried again= PASSED
- Supervised Separation: THOR got to stand in the shade with a very nice gentleman he had never met – i hid behind a tree for three (very long) minutes. Upon my return, i was told that THOR really didn’t know i was gone (he would go home with anyone) but that the kind gentleman might have some new bruises on his legs from THOR’s tail! = PASSED
- Loading & Unloading a vehicle: dog is to wait for the command to get in and out of the car – not just jump in and out at his own free will = PASSED
we walked back to the evaluation table, and our Evaluator and Pam #1 quietly discussed our scores, and Pam #1 grabbed a red scarf and placed it on THOR’s neck… um, what? We Passed? WE PASSED? i started jumping up and down… THOR, was kindly aloof, as per usual.
Then i chatted with Pam #2, or other awesome Leader, and one that gave us lots of great tips and allowed us to join her class, and she said, “Wow, THOR definitely gets the ‘Most Improved’ award!”
what’s next? three-to-six months of on-site training where we will go to approved nursing homes, hospitals and retirement homes and display our “Petting-PUPS” skills. eeeeee!!!!!!!!