Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The dogs, they had a party...

March 6, 2014

...and thought it was training!


To begin our session, puppy counselor Tammy led the group in three versions of the relaxation protocol. The relaxation protocol helps our puppies learn self-control. Basically they are asked to stay in position while the handler does all sorts of distracting behaviors - and they get a treat for not moving! It doesn't take them long to figure out what to do not do. 

(You can read about this protocol and download MP3 files at this link: http://championofmyheart.com/relaxation-protocol-mp3-files/.)

First up, relaxation while in a sit position.

Three men are standing in a row, a fourth is just out of the frame on the right side. Two other men are sitting behind and between the standing me. They are wearing prison blue pants and white t-shirts. The third and forth man (from left to right) are wearing the prison blue shirts over their t-shirts. The first two men have golden retriever puppies (almost adult) sitting on their left sides, they pups are wearing blue Future Leader Dog bandanas. The third man, and african american, has a black lab that is lying on the floor at his left side. The man just out of the frame has a yellow lab next to him, but you can only see her head. The men sitting down do not have puppies, they are just observing.
FLDs Harper, Bravo and Zella are sitting nicely, but FLD Sammy would rather lie down.

Second, relaxation in a down position.

Photo is taken from behind. Three dogs, from left to right a black lab and two golden retrievers, are lying down on a tile floor in a semi-circle; the legs of two men in prison blue pants with orange stripes are standing between them. All are facing away from the camera.
FLD Sammy can do this, just like FLDs Bravo and Harper. Good boys!

And lastly, relaxation in a stand position.

Now the three dogs are standing next to their handlers. The black lab is looking up his handler, as is the furthers golden. the middle golden is just looking ahead. In this shot you can see three men in the background on the left with smaller black labs, one is sitting and the other is down. There are two men sitting on the right side. A large black TV screen is hanging on the far wall in the background.
A standing FLD Sammy looks up at his handler as if to say, "This is it, right?"


Tammy likes to make training a fun experience for all. When she told the guys she needed nine chairs because they were going to play tic-tac-toe, they frowned. Who wants to play silly games? they seemed to be thinking.

It didn't take long before the competition turned fierce. Whose puppy could hold position? Whose puppy could not?

Lots going in in this picture. There are three rows of light blue chairs. Two men are sitting in the row to the far left, both with golden retrievers. The man closest to the camers has his down in a sit between his legs facing out, and the other man's do is sitting in front of him facing him. On man is about to sit in the middle chair of the middle row, the other chairs in this row are empty. His yellow lab is lying under the chair. The man is pointing with his left arm at someone in front of him. The last row to the right has threen men sitting int he chairs, the furthest one has a black lab sitting and facing him. A woman with a purple t-shirt and blue jeans is in the background with her hands raised about shoulder high. There are five other men inthe background.
Teams are SITS and DOWNS. Someone from the sidelines tosses a treat into the middle, trying to distract the puppies. Unfair? Well, that can happen in real life and our puppies must learn to ignore it! Who says games can't be training? (wink)

Still lots going on here. The photo is taken facing the fronts of the chairs, there are three rows of three chairs, and all chairs are empty. Several men and the woman are around the tic-tac-toe "board," and there are three puppies (a german shepherd and two yellow labs)  lying down under three of the chairs, completing a diagonal. There is one golde retriever in the last row in the middle standing up. There is also a black lab lying down on the left side, but not inthe game. He is looking to the left.
Teams are DOWNS and STANDS, but this time Tammy makes the game more challenging. Only puppies stay on the board - the handlers place them and have to walk away.

Realizing how much fun tic-tac-toe turned out to be, the guys jumped at the chance to play musical chairs. Tammy brought a CD loaded with songs about dogs. Her rules were a bit different than regular musical chairs. When the music stopped, there were seats for everyone, but the last puppy to get into a down position was out.  I dare say the game was just as amusing to watch!

There are four men in frount sitting on the blue chairs that are in one row, their puppies (black lab, yellow lab, black lab, and golden retriever)  are lying down under the chairs facing out. There are three men standing behind them and one woman.
When the music stops...it's a mad rush. Who can get their puppy "under" first?

There are three chairs in a triangle, all facing away from each other. Three men are walking around them with their puppies, a black lab, a yellow lab, and a black lab. There are men and the woman inthe background, and an african american man sitting down at a table in the background, running the music.
Puppy by puppy, all but three are eliminated. It is no surprise (to me) that the oldest pups are the last ones standing. Eventually, FLD Tara wins the round! And no surprise there - Tara was class-ready before coming to Chippewa, so she has had much more training than FLDs Zella and Nell.


Two young men dressed in prison blues sit on cafeteria stools. The man on the right is gesturing to the camera, his yellow lab is  lying between his legs facing the camers. The man on the left has his arms folded and is looking at the other man.
FLD Zella's handler leads the group in singing Happy Birthday to Zella and Nell. The pups turned one year old and are almost ready to return to Leader Dogs for the Blind for formal training.

A bald young man wearing a white t-shirt and prison blue pants is sqatting next to a black lab that is lying down under a chair facing out. The man is clapping his hands and looking at the dog. The lab has her chin on her front legs as if she is embarrassed! She is wearing a blue Future Leader Dog bandana.
FLD Nell's handler giver her applause.

There is an anonymous poem about why dogs greet each other by sniffing their hinders. For the curious, here you go...


The dogs, they had a party
They came from near and far.
Some dogs came by taxi
And some dogs came by car.

Each dog signed his name
Upon a special book
And each dog hung his a**hole
Upon a special hook.

One dog was not invited,
And this aroused his ire.
He stormed into the party
And loudly shouted "FIRE!"

In the scene that followed,
The dogs forgot to look
And grabbed just any a**hole
From off of any hook.

And that is why when dogs roam
On land or sea or foam,
They sniff each others' a**holes,
In hopes they’ll find their own!

1 comment:

  1. LMAO! Nice poem.
    That was a fun day. And, those games were very intense indeed. :)