After taking a little break from foot training, to focus on Chase’s ability to ignore food on the floor that doesn’t belong to him, we finally completed the sequence today. This was the first task I taught him on my own that took multiple steps and I’m amazed at how quickly he caught on. He knows the sequence so well, I could probably give the cue one name and he would complete all the steps involved. I’m reluctant to do this because there are times when I just need a part of the task done or need to pause in between.
Chase is so eager to learn, practice and master new tasks. As I said before, he is very food motivated (another thing we have in common 😂), which makes his desire to learn and practice the task extremely high. But many jobs he does for me are done so frequently throughout the day that a “Good Boy” and a rub on this neck is sufficient praise to motivate him.
I am keeping a list of things I’d like for him to learn to help me further. Next on the list is mastering the deck sliding door from the outside. In the winter, I don’t go on the deck so we remove the ramps that allow me to get out there. Once we think the final snow has fallen, we’ll put the ramps back so I can go out and teach him the proper standing positions for opening and closing from the outside. Initially when he started opening and closing the patio door from the inside, I had to block him into the proper angle using my wheelchair so could get the best leverage. Eventually, he no longer needed me to do that and I can give him the command to go outside without being near to the door. He has learned which way he needs to stand to tug in each direction. Since he loves to sun himself on the deck, I’d like for him to be able to let himself back without needing me. Our alarm system has a feature that chimes when an entry door is open so I will always know if he goes out or comes back in. Right now, he stands at the door and barks once or twice. If nobody comes fairly quickly, he barks twice again. I discourage him from barking unless I’ve given him the command to “Speak” so once he can open and close from the outside, there will be no more need to stay at the door to prevent the bark.
This video is actually a splice of two videos because Chase needed a bathroom break 😂. At the end you’ll hear him emit the barks to have somebody open the door. He also likes to bark at rabbits but totally ignores the excessive barking from the 3 German Shepherds, 1 Husky and 2 Yorkies across the back yard from us. On the advice of my Helping Paws graduate follow up trainer, I’m working with him to get a pristine recall. Sometimes when I call him from another area of the house to come to me or to come back in the house, he lopes. By changing the excitement in my voice and rewarding him with a party of diced carrots and apples or other healthy treat, his pace back to me is becoming much more rapid with urgency. Once we have a perfected recall down, he will be conditioned to come to me no matter what the distraction. For my next Chase video, I’m going to enlist the help of my husband to follow us around the house showing all the wonderful ways Chase helps me. He truly is a blessing! So without further ado, here is Chase handling all the motion needs of my legs/feet in my wheelchair. There is a second 1 minute video following the initial one where we went through the process and Chase shows his stuff 😂 He nailed it!