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A Taste of Team Training (Videos & Pictures)

Team Training is officially over and we've graduated. YAY!!!

Now, we're headed south by train to San Diego and ComicCon — the ultimate test and solo flight of our fledgling work together. Eeep!

Below is a selection of videos and pictures capturing our later days here at Team Training. My apologies for not keeping up a bit better. It's been grueling and exhausting, and I only just had time last night to look through everything.

So, without further ado:

At the quietest mall ever

How we go up stairs

How we go down stairs

Watching a movie at the hotel

Navigating a 4th of July festival crowd

Arriving at the Oregon Coast Aquarium
(Bonus points for those who spot the special guest star)

Beautiful, sunny, crowded day at the Aquarium

Down a steep ramp to the loose sandy beach

Walking alone along the packed sand with confidence for the first time in forever!

And the best part of all — bed hugs!!!!

Team Training Day 6: Guest Post by marijee

Hello all! I am marijee and I have been hanging out a bit with Mal, Leo, Kami and Leslie. Mal asked me to do a little blurb about my visits… so here I am!

First of all Leo is absolutely gorgeous. The pictures are great, but seeing him in person… just wow!  This guy is so affectionate… yes, I got a Leo hug, kiss and a groan! You might think a hug from a 70 pound dog overwhelming, but he is so careful and you never feel like you are being crushed… just loved on. It’s wonderful!

Leo and Mal are working great together. We were out in the rain today at the Corvallis Saturday Market and Leo ignored other dogs and people. Leo listened to instructions from Mal and I thought they both synced really well. Mal was really good at praising Leo and giving him positive feedback.  Leo really seems to want to please Mal and she is using the training tools from Leslie to make it all work.

Leo’s harness is really cool. It looks like it’s comfortable for Leo to wear… and very utilitarian. I love the zippered bag on top that holds Leo’s water bowl, waste bags and Mal’s wallet. Mal doesn’t have to carry her purse around… I think that’s a real plus!

When I first met Mal in January, and then when I picked her up at the train station last week she was using a cane. There was hesitancy in her walk and she seemed cautious about being bumped by the crowd. Looking at Mal today I saw a changed person. With Leo guiding her, the cane was gone and she looked confident and happy.  Leo is going to be such a tremendous help to Mal, physically and mentally.

Mal has such a great support and training team with her. Kami is a wonderful lady who is Mal’s support person. One really cool thing about Kami is she is very knowledgeable about taking care of animals. So she not only helps Mal with daily tasks, but helps with Leo, too! Leo thinks she’s great as well!

Leslie, Leo’s trainer is really amazing. She is always teaching and giving information to Mal to help her and Leo to become a great team. Leslie is so devoted and passionate about her dogs and the training of Service Dogs. You should check out her website and see the Mobility Dog stories.

I am so happy I got the opportunity to meet Mal. I just want everyone to know all the money you gave is so well spent and Mal is so deserving of your generosity. You are helping to change Mal’s life for the better.

**Fist bump** LOL!

Three short videos by Kami:

Team Training: End of Day 2


Well, we've made it through two days of intense, technical team training. Meaning we're working on our timing, using the proper commands, and stringing several steps together to perform a task (like going down the stairs). We've both been pretty tired at the end of the day. Leslie is very pleased with our work together and our progress. She's upping the challenge for us tomorrow to harder tasks in more distracting, busy places. I don't even know what else to tell you other than it's all going very well.

Here's a picture from this morning at the hotel, where he's hanging out on his ad hoc bed:

And here he is playing with a new friend during free time a bit later in the day:

Finally, a stunning pic of a happy dog from the same free time session:

More next time!

Leo and Mal
Team Training Starts Tomorrow (Today)!!!

I'm here, I've settled in, I've read his book, and I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

The journey begins in just over 12 hours (noon PDT Monday, June 25th).

Wish me, wish us luck!

It's Official: Team Training in 2 Weeks!!!!

Yes, you read that right. Team Training for Leo and I will start June 25th. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! And our Primary Support Person, Kami, will be there with us almost the whole time!!! (I didn't even think I'd have a Primary Support Person, which is why I've never mentioned it.) I'm SO excited, can you tell??? I don't even know what else to say other than I'm ready, Leo's almost ready, and the logistics of travel, accommodations, rental car, and ground transportation are all in place. I'm sooooooooo grateful to each and every one of you who helped to make all this possible. Seriously, couldn't have done it without you.

Here's a recent video clip of Leo in his fancy, custom-fitted, custom-made harness practicing his new skills with Leslie:
Here Leo and I are doing Harness Training: curbs and street crossings. I repeated the approach at the far curb, when Leo placed a rear foot on the curb. He quickly learned that we only continue on our way when he "marks" the curb with his front feet only. He also does an excellent job waiting at the down curbs until I step down first - providing resistence to my forward and downward momentum.
Notice that she's no longer using the clicker and there are no treats in her pockets. The former is because he's graduated in his learning to a level where he no longer needs the clicker as a marker for desired behavior. The latter is because Leslie discovered that he's not food (or toy) motivated. His treat of highest reward is a hug, followed by "scritches" — pats, scratches, strokes, caresses — and verbal praise. How awesome is that?!? His highest reward is being loved on. I flove that about him — we are such a perfect match, lol.

I cannot WAIT to see him again. Soon. So very, very soon.

More for y'all then, too!

Much love and many hugs,

Copyright © 2010 mostly a lurker