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 27, 2012

Knightley needs practice working outside, nice walk, new (used) car and NEED A WEEKEND AWAY!

9 months 4 weeks 1 day old

Well it has been quite a busy weekend and I am terribly tired. Hubby and I went to the shopping mall yesterday and took Knightley. We needed a few bits and pieces, and hubby needed to swap a bracelet he'd got for me for our anniversary for a smaller size (obviously he thinks I have fat wrists!). Knightley did very nicely and got lots of attention as usual. We practiced our new 'flat' - the new cue for down. It was great, no delay, obeyed on every cue with no problems after starting with a bit of shaping. It's looking like I am going to have a solid down, hopefully for Knightley's whole life. Now time to start proofing it with even more distractions.

We then went and looked at some used cars. Our current car is getting pretty old and needs replacing but our finances aren't yet at the stage where we can buy a brand new car. So we looked around, found a possibility or two, but decided that there were some more cars across town we wanted to look at. I was absolutely exhausted after walking around a shopping mall and then a bunch of car lots. Knightley had been pretty well behaved up until then but as my attention was going and I was walking slower and slower he started misbehaving a bit. Of course that is the time I want him to step up and become a solid unmovable object! So he really did the opposite unfortunately and lost his focus. Last weekend when he helped me through my migraine he did great and focused despite me completely off in la-la pain land. However this time was outside, and Knightley doesn't focus well outside at all. So while it was very unfortunate he couldn't help me when I needed it, it shows me what I need to focus on. He can obviously be trusted a little to keep it together inside when I am not able to focus myself, but outside is another matter entirely.

Knightley meeting a lovely older female Golden on our walk
today. Knightley pretty much loses his mind when he meets
other dogs - he just loves them so much!
He woke up with a bit of a bad tummy this morning, so hubby and I took him for a good wandering walk where he could empty his poor tummy if need be. After the horrible weather earlier this week there was a good stream of water flowing in the storm water drain that runs by our house, and it's pretty good and clean so I let Knightley romp in it. We met another Golden Retriever on our walk today, a 12 year old female. Knightley ran around her like an idiot, trying to get her to play with him... trying and failing really. It made me realise that Knightley really is just about fully grown in size, although he has an awful lot of coat growing to go!!

My very happy rather wet Knightley.
He absolutely loves these walks. Since winter has come along it gets dark too quickly to get to the dog park more than once or twice a week. So I bought a flexi type leash (a leash that retracts and goes up to 5 metres in length) so that we could have walks along grassy areas and he could run around sniffing and just generally having a ball. Unfortunately I can't yet trust his recall there as it's a place where lots of other people walk their dogs, cycle, and so on.... and Knightley just loves people and dogs far too much. One day we'll get there. I don't approve of flexi leashes anywhere but where they will cause no possibility of harm to people when extending or retracting. As the lines even for a big dog are quite thin, they can even cut flesh when extending or retracting. If you only ever use the retractable/extending aspect of the leash when there are no people around you, and keep the leash locked in a fixed position of 180cm (6 foot) or less at all other times I think they can be useful. It certainly gives him the chance to get a bit of exercise but I can still walk very slowly. They can be especially valuable tools for those with service dogs who are permanently in a wheelchair, as they need many different lengths of leash throughout the course of a day.

Dashing through storm water at a breakneck pace. He's definitely
a water dog!
Speaking of wheelchairs, I have hip injections tomorrow that are supposedly meant to help my poor hip but past experience leads me to expect a week of virtual immobility. Whether after the tissue damage has healed there will be some temporary improvement is anyone's guess really. I'll be relying on Knightley's retrieve a whole bunch. I also don't want to skip my work on Thursday/Friday but certainly by Thursday I don't expect to be all that mobile. I could use my walker I guess but I am inclined to take my wheelchair. It's a heavy steel cheap thing I got when I first got sick but it's comfortable at least. I've been wanting to get a good quality lightweight wheelchair for a while now, but to get funding assistance from the government I need to see an occupational therapist, and I know to see the hospital ones the waiting list is pretty long. I've been thinking about another option so I may look into it. Whenever I am flaring and hubby and I need to go out, we take the chair.... but it is so heavy I can barely push it myself, especially if I am particularly sick. I'd also like the option of having Knightley help me with the movement of a wheelchair, in which case I should be minimising weight and resistance as much as possible.

A rather blurry photo of what we hope is our new car as of
tomorrow. LOTS of room for our big boy in the back!
Anyway, after our walk today Knightley's tummy seemed better, so we decided to take him with us to check out the cars over the other side of town. The big news is we think we have found ourselves a new (used) car! We took it for a test drive, and there were a couple of electrical problems, but if they are fixed to our satisfaction then we will go ahead with it. It's a stationwagon for a couple of different reasons, one of which that Knightley can go in the boot/wagon bit and get lots of room. It is pretty much exactly what we want, so we're going back tomorrow with a couple of other people to make a final decision. Unfortunately it will be after the local anesthetic injection from injecting my hips wears off and I'll be in a bad way... but it's just the way the world works out!

I've been wanting a holiday for a while now, but the state of our current car (not great, needs a lot of maintenance to be completely sound) has put me off a bit. However I think a new (used) car needs to bond with us and have a trip down to the coast! There's a pet friendly farm (with four very friendly border collies apparently) that has cabins and rooms, which I've been wanting to visit for many months that looks wonderful. I really need to get away - I haven't left Canberra since we travelled around temperament testing puppies in order to find Knightley. I wouldn't really call that a holiday though, and before that I left Canberra for my wedding a whole year ago in England........ it's definitely time for a weekend away!!

So, a very long very tiring weekend with several painful days to come. I need to get a semi-early night, so I'll be off now. *waves byebye*


  1. He is certainly growing! I notice you are facing the exact problem that Shai was having as a social butterfly. He started Doggy Day Care with his trainer present to supervise the doggie interaction a few weeks ago. The transformation is amazing He gets his psychological need for social interaction with other dogs in a controlled setting. He also gets some training time while other dogs train alongside. He is so good now when we approach other dogs while working. Highly recommend a well supervised doggy day care. I posted his first day and will post some more days.

    1. We don't really have doggy day care much in Australia... but there are similar options. I might see what I can do, although $$$ is a bit short on the ground!! It's funny how similar Shai and Knightley are. I'm getting really worried about Knightley's waggling hips, I know I probably shouldn't but I'm considering a vet visit a little ahead of schedule.....

  2. khills - Wow doggy daycare is a great idea...I don't think we have that here where I live - but you've given me an idea for other avenues I could try to try and fix the similar issue I have with my dog. Thank you.

    Lyssa, it's so very easy to put off going anywhere when you can't trust your car isn't it! I know it well! I hope that you get away soon. :)

    1. Thanks Em! Knightley rode in the new car for the first time last night and got to experience having tons of room for the first time. We've actually never had a trip away with him, and that's an important skill for a dog, especially a working dog... so it's something we MUST do soon! And it'll be warmer on the coast too (the coastal currents keep it warmer), because winter has just hit here and I'm cold!!