10 months 1 week 6 days old
Today I needed some prescriptions filled, and the shops are not at all far away and Knightley needed some public access work so off we went together. He behaved like a dream!! I can't actually believe what a good boy he was. First I went to drop my scripts off (I had like 7 to get filled, yes I take a *lot* of medication), then I had about 15 minutes to use up while we were waiting. So we went into the supermarket to do some training. He was such a good boy. I had his halter on really loosely (the Infin8 is very different to other halters, it acts more like a mix of a collar and halter and as you slowly loosen it, it becomes even more like a collar), but he didn't try to pull at all and heeled very nicely. There was a bunch of onion peel on the floor in one place and I saw him eyeing it but told him to 'leave it' and he instantly ignored it. What a good puppy! There was very little sniffing, and he ignored the people completely! Wowsers. Despite the fact I am doing very little public access work (I decided that once a week is enough until he reaches a year of age when I will start taking it more seriously) he is still learning from each trip we do together.
After everything was done I took the handle of his vest, and he walked nice and slow and loose home. I am training him that only if I put pressure on the handle is he to lean into the vest. Otherwise he isn't to pull. Even without him pulling it still helps with my balance overall.... it just makes me feel safer. I am just so much more confident with Knightley - and he is only beginning to work for his living!
Anyway, soon after we got home Knightley and I were off to my parents place for an afternoon with my parents and brother. Knightley had a great time exploring their big backyard, getting into all sorts of trouble. He decided that tearing up weed mat is a LOT of fun and kept on returning to do it again and again throughout the evening whenever he went outside. I think we encouraged him a bit because the first time he did it was so funny - I think in his doggy mind he was trying to help as my mum was trying to pick up bits of weed mat. My parents will be looking after Knightley for one night in July and two in August as we have a wedding to go to in Sydney in July, then we are going to a company weekend for my hubby's work in August up at the snow. We went last year just before we brought Knightley home (have a look at this old post from last year if you are interested in seeing snow in Australia! Yes, it does exist!) and it was a good weekend. Maybe next year we'll take Knightley when he has his permit. It is becoming more and more likely in my eyes that Knightley will indeed become a fully functioning assistance dog. Unless there is a big personality change we are on track.
Anyway.... back to what I was talking about.....! So, as my parents will be looking after Knightley, today we all took him for a short walk, and I had his Easy Walk harness on him to make it relatively easy for them. They all had a go, including my brother, and it went pretty well really. I showed them how to walk backwards if Knightley pulled to get him back into a rough heel position so that he will learn he can't get away with pulling with them. It helped that Knightley was pretty tired already from our trip to the shops and doing training there, and then romping around their garden. They may not find it quite so easy first thing on a morning! I also went through quite a few of Knightley's basic cues with them, although I think providing them with a 'cheat sheet' is a good idea. When we got back Knightley eventually flopped down and slept. I am pretty sure that he will have a good time with my parents and will get quite spoilt. They are quite fond of him, and as long as they keep up the exercise I am sure he won't cause too much bother. A tired dog is a good dog! My mum is also keen to do all the raw feeding stuff while she has him under her roof, so that's good. I believe she is also quite keen to get the food too, although I did offer to bring over weighed, bagged food to make it easier. We shall have to go on a shopping trip and get enough for the three nights he will end up spending under their roof.
I need to have a raw food shopping trip myself actually. I've nearly emptied our freezer of food for Knightley except for a few bags of bits of turkey. I have no red meat left and no organs. So it's definitely time to do some shopping! Maybe a bunch of beef heart, and some ox tongues would be great. Lamb necks are really cheap too, give him great healthy red meat and take him ages to eat so they tire him out! This is an vital consideration because Knightley has sooo much more energy than he used to! I used to wonder if Knightley would ever actually have the stamina to be an assistance dog, but I guess it was just puppy energy.... puppies are always going 100% to 0%. Speaking of not being a puppy anymore, the leg continues to raise, but only very occasionally and only against trees!
My final bit of news is I've set up my new sewing machine and have started playing with it. I have also ordered my fabric to make my prototypes, and bought a few more bits and pieces at a sewing store last week. Once the fabric, webbing and clips/D rings/O rings/etc arrive I'll be good to start on my first vest. It will be a mobility harness/vest, as Knightley needs a new one, so that will be my first priority. The sewing machine is extremely easy to use and I'm very happy with my purchase.
So today was a really good day. Knightley is coming along so well and I am bursting with pride!
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!