We teach the dog to love their elevated mat (Kuramda bed) by rewarding them for staying on it (they can sit, or lie down, or stand, but they must stay on the mat). This technique is great for when visitors come over or when we are eating. What do we use when we travel? Solution: a folded up towel or blanket. Here you you can see Palmer, who was getting over-aroused (excited), so we asked her to stay on this folded-up blanket. 5 minutes later, she was gratefully sleeping.
Handlers are encourage to cue “Down” to the service dog in public places (like this grocery store) whenever possible because the dog looks so obviously under control to the public (it helps foster an environment of acceptance, which benefits all people with disabilities).
When entering a restaurant with a service dog, it’s best to ask for a table next to a wall (if one happens to be available) so the dog will be out of the aisle. Good dog!
Lexi’s woman had a great question about body-awareness, in regards to service dogs. A dog's "body awareness" is part of the dog-handler relationship, so the dog knows how to stay in heel position, or go through crowded spaces with the handler without knocking things over. (Lexi's woman mentioned the opposite kind of awareness when she trained with Lexi...she said the wonderful words, “I’m getting used to the idea that I’ve got some space, which is the dog, on my left, so I have to leave some space on my left when I go through doorways or past people.”) The process of learning dog-body awareness (for the dog) takes a long time because dogs don’t generalize at first. So Lexi practices in shops AND restaurants AND church AND grocery stores AND trains, etc. so she learns to generalize (this, she will have dog-body awareness in brand-new spaces like a college classroom). Both Lexi and her woman also have a nice “leash awareness,” too, (is that a term?), where they are both aware of keeping the “smile in the leash” (not letting the leash pull and get taut...ideally, the positioning of the dog and handler should be close enough so that even if there wasn't a leash, both the dog and handler would always be in the same place in relation to each other).
We love you, Bear! :-) You can follow Bear and his man’s adventures on Facebook at https://facebook.com/#!/bear.casillas.7
Grates of city streets are difficult for dogs because they often seem to think that the dark spaces are just big holes for them to fall into. Lexi the service dog is doing terrific, though! Good dog!
Today’s Uber ride with Service Dog Lexi went great, and here she is, snuggled at my feet. As usual, after I ordered the ride (but before he arrived to pick me up), I texted the driver via the Uber app and let him know that I was traveling with a service dog, and he would get “5 Stars” and a big tip! I always do this so the driver will be mentally prepared, and this time, the Uber driver even pushed the seat forward so there would be extra room for the dog. How nice!
The boy who is helping foster Pawsitivity’s mentor dog made some things for her: A sign and a toy box!