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!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Massive news: a very very very important appointment, a Birthday, the Come Game, new gear

Well, the last few days Knightley has just been absolutely CRAZY with energy, especially in the evenings. The type of energy where he jumps on and off the couch 30 times and there is no reduction in his eagerness to GO! Hubby and I had a great session of the "Come Game" with him, and he was the most enthusiastic he has ever been about it (skidding around corners, bashing into furniture.... he was running for the reward of chopped up beef heart, his favourite, but still!).

For those who don't know it, the Come Game is a fun technique from Sue Ailsby's Training Levels (following the so called tab in the title bar to find out more about her Training Levels) to teach your dog to come. You really need to have an assistant with you, and both have clickers (or you can say 'yes!' in a happy tone, but clickers are always more accurate and more helpful to the dog). The main trainer or person most likely to elicit a successful recall starts the game by making some noises (NOT using a 'come' cue).... and as the dog turns and comes towards them, that person clicks/yesses, and as soon as the dog gets to them, they give the dog their treat. Instantly that person loses all interest in the dog, looks into the distance and becomes really boring and the other person starts making recall type noises (pup pup pup!!! or something). As soon as the pup turns and starts coming towards them, they click/yes and treat the dog upon their arrival, maybe a few happy pats, then completely boring.... then the other calls again.

Once the dog knows how the Come Game works you can use it to introduce, or work on your come cue. As your dog swings around to start running towards you, say your cue, click (assuming your dog keeps running!) and lots of praise and treats when it arrives - then ignore and continue like usual. Use really fantastic treats and pick a time your dog is full of energy. It actually tired Knightley out better than a walk would have!

Having said that though, after an hour or two he is back to his normal self. He has also rather suddenly decided that he is a lap dog. When he's particularly full of beans, he thinks bounding like a kangaroo from the floor onto my lap while I'm sitting on the couch is a good idea. Keep in the mind this is the dog who would have us think that 95% of the time he can't get into the back of our stationwagon. Uh huh dog. I actually like how he developed this thing for lying over laps, even though only a fifth or so of him fits on.... maybe a sixth, I'm not sure. I rather like the pressure (as long as it isn't a sudden 33kg (73lbs) kangaroo hop) and the warmth is lovely for my ever sore legs.

On a rather different topic, today is my lovely hubby's birthday! Last night I actually put some effort into our evening meal and cooked a roast beef as tonight we will go out for our meal... so he got a home cooked birthday meal out of me too. He was out at a movie with his work friends for a couple of hours, so when he got back I had the roast all ready to go - well rested too! My chef friend would have been proud. It was really really nice if I say so myself, very pink and very very juicy! I used quite a few spices on it, and Knightley even got a taste after we had finished and he definitely approved!!! We have plenty left over so I will be able to use it for super high value treats for Knightley as well as for sandwiches etc. Anyway, happy birthday to my ever cheerful hubby who is so good to me, especially when I am particularly sick. Any birthday comments on here will be passed on lol.

Design #5 in all its glory. This a prototype with a black 1000 Denier
Cordura lining, and a rip proof showerproof polyester top.
Knightley got to play dog model again last night. I'd been having some trouble with the quality of my thread, so went out and bought new thread. I need to find some good thread suppliers online as I can't afford shop prices for heavy duty upholstery thread. Anyway, my next assistance dog design is finished, but I think I will change it a bit. I intentionally made it a little smaller, so hopefully will get another dog to model it (maybe at the dog park?). It's what I'd call a medium, and Knightley *just* squeezes into it.

A very comfortable dog - comfort for the dog is my greatest
This one is design #5, a basic band to sew patches to, with no D rings or handles or anything. It can come with two layers or Cordura, or one layer Cordura and one of ripproof shower proof polyester. The polyester version is a nice light band which can get wet and will dry easily. The Cordura version is just your normal heavy vest material and once wet will take a while to dry. Both are strong. I made this one with contrasting white stitching, which could be requested if anyone took a fancy to it.

Oops, I cut off his nose! Thankfully Knightley is good at
standing and waiting/staying. I'm planning to shorten the vest
a little but everything else will be more or less the same!

Like with my Design #1 you can see the dog has a good range of motion and it is very comfortable - this is despite it being a little too small! Once again, like Design #1 it has quick release buckles on the girth, but whilst being adjustable on the chest, it doesn't have a quick release buckle. You just slip it over your dog's head then do up the girth and away you go!

My final bit of news is I had a very very important medical appointment today. Hubby took the day off, partly to go with me, partly because it is his birthday anyway! I hadn't mentioned it on here before because I wanted to keep it under wraps until this appointment was over, but for the last three weeks or so I've started dieting to try to lose weight. I've already lost 5kg (11lbs). I always battle with my weight, but even more so now with the complete lack of aerobic activity I do, and all the medicines I am now on that have weight gain as a major side effect. But now I have a very serious reason to try to loose a reasonable amount of weight.

This is because today I saw an obstetrician. About seven weeks ago my GP talked to me about the slowly fading possibility of me having children. I have always wanted kids, but she said my body is going to be less able as time goes on so if I wanted the I really must grab the time soon to try. Hubby and I had always planned on waiting a few more years until trying but my lovely GP said that definitely wasn't a good idea. So she got me an appointment with high risk pregnancy specialists, and today we went. I have been reading about lupus/auto-inflammatory diseases and pregnancy, plus the many other things that I have problems with.... and it had certainly been scaring me a bit. I had been hoping for an appointment today that would be at least mildly reassuring but instead the obstetrician came very close to telling us not to try, but said he couldn't tell us it was impossible because nothing is ever impossible. I am certainly going to find it very hard to get pregnant, and just as hard to stay pregnant.... not to mention the sheer pain of it all. Then handling having a young baby will be extremely difficult, but at least that can be managed. The pregnancy bit is all down to my body. About half of my medications would need to change, it even means having injections every day - ugh.

So that's my rather massive news. I go back to the hospital in September to see how I am going with my weight loss and general health, and we will be planning the pregnancy further. We have to wait for when my body feels fairly well before trying for a bub, but we hope for sometime early in the new year. I'll be seeing  my immunologist next month so will be getting his take on all of this then.

This blog might become a bit about weight loss with mobility problems and possibly even a high-risk pregnancy if I am very very lucky. I hope none of you mind, these battles to be 'normal' is what living with a disability is all about - especially as a younger person, and it very much links into my posts about training Knightley. So wish us luck, we're going to need it.


  1. Wishing you all the luck. The struggle to be "normal" when you have a disability sure has its challenges but i wish you the best

    1. Thanks so much. It's going to be a rather worrying time but I have to believe in the possibility that I can do what other more 'normal' people can do.