(VICT) Re: Dream Breed

Smile,  GDB does use clicker training and teaching tricks to their career 
changed dogs.

In my case it is really not possible or in my mind fair for my dog to be 
stuck in this apartment for sometimes fourteen hours a day whout people to 
give him love an attention.  Which is why I can't keep him when he retires 
whenever that is, smile.


Shelley L. Rhodes B.S. Ed, CTVI
and Judson, guiding golden
juddysbuddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Guide Dogs For the Blind Inc.
Graduate Alumni Association Board
www.guidedogs.com

Dog ownership is like a rainbow.
 Puppies are the joy at one end.
 Old dogs are the treasure at the other.
Carolyn Alexander

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brenda-Ann Gillis" <hc89x48@xxxxxxxx>
To: "Blind Clicker" <vi-clicker-trainers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 9:39 AM
Subject: (VICT) Dream Breed


Thanks to all who provided more info about what they have on duty out there.

Yes, I did get the "dream dog" and what I described is my Ivy girl.
Although she is a lab, she has never scavanged or taken food from anyone but
me while working.  In fact, this dog can lay on the floor at McDonalds with
a french fry at her nose and not touch it.  Ivy is a terrific Frisbee player
and loves the game so much it is difficult to convince her that she is
getting tired.  I have done a lot of advocacy work and we have traveled the
Nation safely and efficiently.  At speaking engagements with small children,
I demonstrate her abilities and she is extremely focused on the task at
hand.  After the flawless demonstration, I take her out of harness and she
dives into the group of children wagging and kissing.  She even seems to
know if a child is fearful of dogs and has been known to approach that child
ever so slowly on her belly in a crawl -- gentle and coaxing -- this is
usually the kid who falls madly in love with my dog.  Ivy also can't be
bothered with my praise while working either, but when we get home she grabs
a Frisbee and clearly communicates that its her time now.  A week ago my
Grandmother fell while the family was outside and Ivy laid in her lap so she
couldn't get up until someone was there to assist her.  Now you all know why
I just want to clone this dog!

Unfortunately, Ivy is now eleven.  She is still safe in the field, but I am
beginning to notice more sniffing, a slower pace, signs of nervousness on
busy streets and a greater degree of "socializing" during coffee hour at
church.

In preparing for Ivy's retirement, I have been working with our puppy-raiser
who Ivy adores and is well-versed in clicker training.  We started by
teaching Ivy to file her own nails -- scratching on a piece of plywood
covered with non-skid sand paper stuff.  It was extremely slow going at
first as she was never asked to offer a behavior before.  We hit a
tremendous block in the beginning with Ivy frustrated because I would not
tell her what I wanted her to do.  In time she began offering everything she
did know, but scratching the board or any proximity thereof was not in the
bag of tricks.  We stuck with it and I was so excited I could burst when she
finally got it.  Now we are starting to shape other behaviors and having a
great deal of fun.  It is my hope that by giving Ivy a new role in my life
that the process of retiring will be easier for her.  In fact, if this works
for us I have to wonder if it isn't something schools should consider
teaching those ggrads that are beginning to consider re-tredding.  I have to
ask how many blind people would be able to keep their guides after
retirement as pets if a method could be developed that made life with the
new guide more tolerable for the retiree.

Thanks again for listening to me brag.  It is scary for me to imagine my
life without Ivy in the harness.  I also know I need to begin thinking about
it now so that when Ivy tells me its time, I'll have a plan in place.  In my
heart I know that my next dog won't be Ivy and she will just have to hold
that special corner of my soul -- the one and only  one that blesses you
completely.  Who knows though maybe I will get lucky twice -- God does look
after fools, drunks and blind people. VBG

Respectfully,
Brenda




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