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!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Great public training but things to learn, Knightley full of beans!

9 months 2 weeks 1 day old

Knightley's current vest. I don't like the fact it has a strap
parallel across his chest as that has been proven to restrict
the shoulder joints of dogs. I want one with a Y shape. Overall
 he just acts like he is a  bit uncomfortable and is starting to be a
 little 'equipment shy', in that when the vest comes out, he goes
away, which is definitely not what I want.
So today we had a great trip to our local shopping mall. This was the third time we have gone in. The first time was about 5 minutes, the second time was maybe 10 minutes, but today was probably 40 minutes. It's important to ramp up times in big new places with lots of varied experiences, or the dog can get overwhelmed by the experience. We also went to the food court area to give him practice lying under tables. He did get up twice but I put him straight back into a down. We also need to work on getting him to curl, rather than just go into a down. I have a feeling the reason he was getting up is he finds his vest rather uncomfortable to lie in. It is starting to get a bit small for him in the girth department, and while I could just get a girth extender I would rather get a vest-harness that is more comfortable for him in terms of the style, and less constricting of his maturing joints. I found one I really liked but it would have needed a small adjustment to make it useable, and the people selling it wouldn't do it and were quite rude in their reply too. I have since found a vest/harness at http://www.servicedoghouse.com that I like, but once again I would like an adjustment. However, as they make all their vests from scratch I hope that they will be amenable to it. So far at least, I have received very good customer service from them in comparison to the first place I tried.

Overall his behaviour was very good. The food court was very noisy, we even walked past a toddler having a pretty full on tantrum, and Knightley was completely sanguine. So the distraction part of a PAT would have got a big tick! The only trouble came in one of those $2 type stores, with a feather boa, which Knightley thought looked like the perfect toy for him, and started going for. He definitely longed to plunge his mouth into all those feathers, and I had to tell him 'leave it' repeatedly, and give him a bit of a pull away from them. Oh, he really wanted those feathers! It would actually be a good place to practice in, lots of tiny bits of rubbish on the floor, some narrow isles to practice close heeling next to me turning this way and that.... it was a good experience for him, but once again.... sigh... shows how much work there is to do.

Another thing I really truly must do is teach a tail tuck, but I think it can wait for another month or two, until we start really trying to train for his permit. When he sits next to me, his tail streams out behind him often into the path of traffic walking past. And Knightley has *quite* the tail these days, let me tell you! You can see what I mean in the photo I posted above. I know some people manually move it out of the way with their stick or crutch, but Knightley always gets up from the sit if I do that. I suppose I could just teach him not to move if I do it, but I would rather teach him to move his own tail. That can be harder for some dogs than for others, but Knightley has great back end awareness, so I hope it won't be too hard.

The last several days he has really been full of beans.... galloping everywhere instead of trotting, and wanting to play, play, play. It's like he has lost his puppy sleepiness and has suddenly discovered the boundless energy of late adolescence. I'll play a long game of fetch and he'll go lie down for a bit, but then 20 minutes later he'll be pressing another soggy toy into my hand! Or we'll go for a walk, and I'll make sure he does lots of running around and then we come back, he has a short snooze and then he starts barking at a speck on the wall. Crazy dog. He hasn't been going to the dog park anywhere near as much of late because it is getting dark so much earlier here as winter is coming, and I think that is contributing to the amount of energy he has. Unfortunately the dog park doesn't have floodlights, so if you don't get there by about 5:30pm then it's just too dark. So if you're working until 5, it's pretty much impossible, even taking into account we live close to both our works and the dog park. He got a good romp there this weekend, but that will likely be it until next weekend.

Knightley's raw feeding continues to go well, but I have swapped him over to nightly (!!!) mealtimes only, as he wasn't all that interested in eating in the morning and would just hold the chunk of meat in his mouth for half an hour doing nothing, until I eventually managed to take it away somehow. So it was obvious he was ready to eat once a day. That seems to be working out well, and if he seems particularly hungry during the day I'll either do a training session or give him a raw egg. I tell you what, he really loves beef heart. He could eat that every meal and be a happy dog! Too bad it wouldn't be balanced though.

Going to have some chilly nights this week, all below freezing. Knightley seems to be enjoying the nip in the air, but I'm not! Anyway, that's all from us here downunder. I hope everyone in internetland is well.


  1. Knightley is looking quite handsome. I did a blog pot recently on the distractions such as the carousel and choo choo train in our Mall. Fortunately when Shai was Knightley's age, Bart was allowed in the Mall without me and even while Shai was still in-training. Law here only says they have to let me in with a working service dog. Bart is a police officer and knows Mall Security so he was able to take Shai in early. We moved slow, too, with Shai. My favorite working harness is the Julius K9 belt harness. It is great in the car, too, for snapping to the seat belt. I read the article you did on harnesses, and my favorite does come across the chest. But, I have tried every available harness, and this is the best for Shai and me. I love to see his pictures. And it helps me to read the details of what you are doing. Do you like the gentle leader? Love your blog!

    1. Yes, I've seen photos of Shai with that belt harness on. You also have the Bold Lead mobility harness too don't you? Will you be using that for forward momentum, as that is really what I want a Y chest piece for. I will consider getting a Bold Lead harness later on when Knightley is further along in his training, but I do wish they had a Y chest piece. I have a walking harness for him which has a Y chest and he much prefers the feel of it than his old parallel chest strap walking harness. Both his vest and his walking harness are great in the car to snap to the seat belt, like with your belt harness. While I do believe in the research about the better harnesses for dogs, ultimately I think we have to choose what the dog likes best.