Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tiring but great Easter weekend, Knightley's a star!

8 months 2 weeks old

So the Easter weekend ended up a great experience for Knightley. As I mentioned in my last post, I had intended to take him to the Folk Festival I was attending only on Easter Monday, but instead took him for a couple of hours on both Saturday and Sunday... and did indeed take him again on Monday as he was full of beans on Monday morning and definitely raring to go. There were so many firsts he experienced at the Festival.  By the end of Monday applause didn't even wake him up during a performance, even though the first time he heard applause he looked around, rather shocked, trying to see where the noise was coming from!

We did have some trouble with flies. He really doesn't like them buzzing around his head (they don't bite, just so you know!) and can't really stop himself from snapping at them - and he caught more than one! I can see this becoming a problem in his working life, as we do have a lot of flies here in Australia, although they do drop off in the cooler months. With this in mind I asked for help on the assistancedogs Yahoo Group I am on and got some good suggestions for dealing with fly problems, so we'll see how that goes. We've had problems with them before at places like outdoor cafes, so I'm sure they will remain a problem during his working life.

One really great thing that happened was I managed to get in some training with the St John Ambulance (SJA) people at the Festival. They are volunteers doing the medical care for all the people attending, and there were quite a few volunteers there, about eight. I read a story recently on the assistancedogs Group I just mentioned about a person with an assistance dog who fell down a steep hill and broke her arm badly. The ambulance team responding tried to get close and separate her and her dog so they could give emergency care, but the dog had got very distressed due to its owners pain and refused to let anyone close let alone go with the paramedics. It got quite vicious, and it had *never* been vicious before.

So I made it a priority for my last day at the Festival to leave Knightley with the SJA people for a minute or so with treats so that he would get that association of medical smells, uniforms and friendly people. They were a bit busy with people when I first approached them, so they asked if I could wait five minutes or so... and then I came back. All of them gathered around and after a brief explanation I left Knightley with them and went around the side of their tent well out of earshot. It felt very strange to leave him and I felt naked and anxious that he would be happy with them. Upon my return he seemed relaxed and happy enough to be with them. Apparently he heard my crutch on the ground as I came back and was definitely waiting for me to appear! Then one of the volunteers said he edited their local newsletter and asked if I would mind having a photo of me and Knightley taken with one of their members for the newsletter. So here we are on Festival day! Knightley is a star!

Knightley, me and a St John Ambulance volunteer medic at the National
Folk Festival here in Canberra.
Now all the excitement of the last couple of weeks is over I think we are just going to take it nice and easy for the next while. I am very very sore after all the walking I did with Knightley during the Festival, even though I spent a good part of the Festival in the wheelchair. I'm actually looking at getting a new wheelchair because I got my current one when I'd only been unwell for a short while and just went for a cheap option. Now I'm more interested in a higher quality, lighter option that Knightley and I could use together and that he could pull a bit when he is fully grown and his joint are completely fused.

We had a good retrieve session last night. Knightley picked up sneakers, sandals, paper, plastic lids, his leash, harness and my keys and more that I can't remember. I tried to get Knightley to put his mouth at least on my crutches as a precursor to lifting them up so I can get a hold of them, but I've discovered he is scared of them a bit!! So I have some work to do on counter conditioning so as to make him not afraid of them. I did get him to bop them with his nose, but he was still reluctant... so I think I will back up a step or two and get him more comfortable.

That's all for me now, time to actually do something today!

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