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cirianz

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Well, back at last, exams all overand preliminary results out... I missed entry into 2nd year Law by 3 Marks!!!!
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so I will have to repeat 1st year again, bummer big time :(
Oh well, sh*t happens I suppose.
Hasn't been a fantastic few months unfortunately. Seems that, as a side-effect of the Anti-epilepsy meds I am having vision problems. I am seeing double all of the time and even when I have one eye closed and am getting a 'film' accross my vision that comes and goes, although the latter could be caused by a detached retina so Opthalmology have squeezed me in for an appointment in Janurary. Quite impressive actually lol, They are reknowned for the length of their waiting list, It's pretty much book your children in now incase they need to be seen when they're adults.

On the Good side My application for an epilepsy assist dog was duely processed etc etc and the head trainer for the association dropped shadow off here last week!
She is 9 months old and a black Labrador x German sheppard and is quite an incredible dog. She is only partially trained, Guide dogs are trained for 18 months before they are put with their person, but, if Shadow is going to bond close enough with me to be able to predict and alert me if there is a seizure coming then that would just be too late so I will be training her myself with the local trainer twice a week (at first, less later on) for the next year - 18 months. And I have a massive amount of rules etc that I have to follow constantly in the house and anywhere that I am with the dog. I'm not even to let the dog go through a door ahead of me, have to feed according to a specific ritual, mustn't greet her for at least 5 minutes after entering a room where she is, however long or short a time I've been gone, lots and lots more stuff to try and remember because there must be NO ambiguity about the pack hierachy with her. If she is to be able to work as a service dog she has, not only to be able to cope and be calm in any sort of chaotic environment, she also has to be able to look after me in a calm and intelligent manner if I have a seizure in any of these environments, so she has to go with me everywhere, and everything we do is training at this stage.

It is much more hard work than I guessed (& I had estimated high lol), but it is also fascinating and eye-opening. The training for a service dog works from completely different perceptions of the dog itself to conventional training and so works in a completely different fashion, but, I sure as h*ll wish I'd known a lot of this stuff when training any of my other dogs!
And Shadow is a lovely dog :) With a wonderful nature, very intelligent and although she is very alert and active, because of the way she has been trained/raised she is much calmer than any dog of that sort of age group that I've ever known.
She still tries to challenge my position as pack leader though, especially in pulling ahead of me while walking (The alpha dog always leads. If your dog goes ahead of you when you're out walking, or goes through doorways, narrow spaces or up stairs ahead of you then, it doesn't matter how 'obedient' it might be, it is still seeing itself as the alpha dog who's job it is to check out the ground first and decide if it's safe and which way the hunt/walk should go... It seems that I have not always been the 'boss dog' that I thought I was lol... like I said, a real eye-opener). So I have to watch things all the time to make sure that I always notice when she's trying it on and that I always win lol.

I also am supposed to take her with me everywhere and so ran into a fun adventure last night when we went to the movies, after Shadow had acted perfectly while we watched the movie, I ran into the fun quandry of trying to figure out what to do with her when I tried to go to the toilet lol. She certainly wouldn't fit into one of those narrow cubicles with me, but, if I left her sitting out in the bathroom unattended and someone came in and saw this huge big black dog who would likely come trotting over to investigate (she is, after all still in training and not likely to stay sitting if such a distraction occured) she'd probably end up giving some poor person the sh*ts before they got anywhere near the loo.
Luckily it was late on a sunday night, hardly anyone about and no one came in, normally it would've been packed out. Definitely going to have to figure out a solution to that one before The University year starts!
Anyhow, it is all very exciting and tiring and a big learning experience! I am going to have to spend the next few weeks taking her all around the university so that she's familiar with it before all the students swarm in for summer school. And all around town, in as many different environments as possible so that she can adapt to them and I have to do some work with the trainer to teach her not to get distracted when other dogs pass her on the street or by children, and we definitely need to do grocery-shopping again... lots and lots of work to do :D
 
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Great to have you back cirianz, you have been missed.
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Just dont leave it so long before you post next time!:thumb:
 
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Lovely to have you back cirianz...
What you leave it so long for. Yes we missed you xxxxxxxx:D
 

Taffycat

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Welcome back Ciri, it's good to see you again :wave: Sorry to hear you have to repeat your first year studies, but hey, very well done too!! You so nearly did it, which I think is very impressive :nod:

Shadow sounds gorgeous, you must be having a very interesting (though busy) time with her, as you get to know each other and train her. It sounds as if she will be a great asset to you - as well as a lovely canine companion.

It has already been said, but yup, we missed you Ciri :D
 

floppybootstomp

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Who are you again? :confused:

Nice of you to pop by madam, good to hear from you :)

You certainly don't lead a dull life do you? ;)

Good luck with your eye problem and dog training, Shadow sounds like a fabulous dog :thumb:
 

nivrip

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Welcome back, Ciri. :thumb:


Hope everything works out for you. :nod:
 
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Adywebb

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Hi Ciri - great to hear from you and sorry about the exams and your other problems....I'm sure you'll overcome them :nod:


Not got alot of time, so just to say I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas :)
 

cirianz

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*Hugs everyone with a special kiss for itsme x ;)* (Psssst.... um TC.... who's that guy over there in blue? The one with the floppy feet? :confused: :rolleyes: )

Hoping to be able to be around for a while, I know I've missed you guys :p
Been a totally chaotic day, trying to do xmas shopping, in the last minute rush, with a rather large black dog lol, and to top it off; Shadow is 9 mnths & still in training, so still has much to learn, especially learning how not to let herself be distracted, and one of the things we will be working on after xmas is how not to be distracted by other dogs, the hardest distraction to ignore of all.
And right in the middle of a Mall... a lesson all of it's own at the time... we ran into a very large german shepard guide-dog also still in training and about the same age as Shadow. So, suddenly, in this large 'building' in which dogs are not normally allowed there was a very large shouting match between two very large, deep voiced dogs each determined to out shout the other and each straining at the ends of their leashes across the floor looking fit to kill each other lol. I think we have permanently destroyed the image of service dogs as being quiet, calm, well mannered and intelligent dogs rofl. Despite all of the training etc, we still ended up with two people dragging their dogs in opposite directions down the hall to the annoyance of the dogs and the amusement of a very large audience of xmas shoppers :blush:
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So, in all I would say we had a very busy and adventurous day and I would have to disrecommend xmas as a time to be training service dogs... mind you... after coping with today I suspect shadow will barely even notice the supermarket next time we go get groceries lol.

Nope... not a dull life, definitely not that lol.

Now, after all that shopping... it's time for the wrapping
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night night :wave:
 
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Taffycat

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cirianz said:
(Psssst.... um TC.... who's that guy over there in blue? The one with the floppy feet?:confused::rolleyes::))

Ssshh...! Every full moon, the backs of his hands become hairy and a terrible howling can be heard, which echoes through the corridors of PCR... 'tis rumoured to be Sir Flopps of Bootstomp Manor, the Greenwich Terror...... :eek:

(Hee hee, now I'd better to go into hiding for a while lest I incur a certain Mod's wrath! :lol: )

I loved your account of the encounter between your dog and the guide-dog in the Mall :lol: Could picture that happening. Just wondering Ciri, does Shadow have to wear something which identifies her as a working dog? A special harness (similar to guide dogs, for example?)

Sleep well :wave:
 

cirianz

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Hi TC *hugs*
Yes, she has to wear a silver grey Jacket that proclaims her as an epilepsy assist dog in training and has 2 little zippered pockets, one which contains a laminated copy of the relevant bit of the Act of parliment that proclaims that she is allowed into any area available for public access notwithstanding any other Acts or bylaws forbidding the prescence of dogs. And the other with some poop bags and wipes since she is still in training and there is always the risk of an accident.
It looks very cool and is very neat and efficient... however, when she is fully trained she will have to switch to a similar jacket that is... Lilac coloured :eek:
Now, how is any big hairy rough tough working dog supposed to retain it's dignity in a lilac jacket :rolleyes:
Oh well *melodramatic hand to forhead* I suppose I can bear the shame *cough cough cough... chokes on one own overacting*
Still, you do have to wonder who chooses these colours lol.
Shadow also has specific things to do & not do while wearing the jacket. Hopefully it won't have to be so strict later on, but at the moment I have to take the jacket off if she is to eat, or -obviously- to toilet (she is trained to go on command) or to play...... whoops, that reminds me, it seems my shadow is a litle lite fingered lol, since, as we were leaving a toy shop she thought she liked the look of one of the soft toys in a basket by the door. Fortunately I saw her take it and said to drop it before she'd managed to get a proper grip so the toy was none the worse for wear & not even slobbered on. But still, I'm obviously going to have to keep an eye on that young lady lol.
She's trained to drop/give anything on command, even the yummiest of foods, partly as part of the pack leader/control of food thing and partly to prevent her, or any service dog in general from 'eating on the job' (she didn't even pull on the lead as I was shopping for meat when I was getting the groceries although I could see her eyeballing the stuff) and it was part of the very first training session we did when she was first brought down, and just as well, since, when we were in the supermarket today she tried to scoop up a licorice lolly someone had dropped and if she hadn't spit that one out for me it could've had dire consequences :eek: :lol:

Anyhow, I just saw the time and I had better scuttle off to bed...
Hmmmm
can you hear that?
sounds almost like a wolf howling in the distance!
No.
Couldn't be.
I must've been watching to many of those training dvd's
anyhow...

nite nite.........

You know... Than really does sound..... :nod:

Nah... nite nite, see you tomorrow... hopefully *cue "Theme to Jaws"* :eek:

:p :lol:
 

Taffycat

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Thank you for your interesting reply Ciri - I thought there must be some way of ID-ing Shadow as being special. Aww, I love the thought of a little dog-jacket with zippered pockets ... even though the contents of one of them is, er... purely practical. :)

Oh she sounds like a typical labrador, with her liking for helping herself to a soft toy :lol: Maybe she was dropping a hint about what she wants Santa to bring her. Just hope her labrador love of water doesn't get you into any trouble... such as you getting dragged into a pond for a quick dip, as she suddenly dives-in! A relative's lab couldn't resist water and would take a flying dive into the river before anyone could stop her :D

Gosh, that's good going if she will give-up food though, all the labradors I've ever known have been terribly keen on food and would snaffle the lot in double-quick time. So well done Shadow, what a good girl.

Er.. and if I were you Ciri, I'd lay some garlic around your door ... either that, or arm yourself with a supply of Guinness. I've heard that the Terror can be placated with a foaming tankard sometimes.... :rolleyes:

Hugs :D
 
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cirianz

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OK... Garlic... and Guinness... *adds to shopping list*
hang on... isn't garlic for vampires?
I'll just have to stick to the guinness then I suppose....

As for the toys, she's still in the chewing stage and demolished a large rawhide 'bone' and one of them great big rope toys, the ones with knots in each end, both within the same 24 hours (although every so often she drags out the last remaining 'knot' for us to throw). She has jaws that could power their way through a tree, or even a small building and I was a bit in shock at first seeing the debt mounting as I had to take out a second mortgage just to keep up with her chew toy demand, then the trainer brought along this relatively small (she has an alsation shaped head, big with very powerful jaws) hard plastic puppy chew-toy. I pictured it disappearing within the hour, but her reasured me that his dog, of a similar size and combination, has had his for a month now and, while battered, it is still going strong so I suspended judgement.
She had the endgs gouged up within an hour and my hopes plummeted, but it seems to have stopped around there and she is still happily gnawing on it and it is definitely her favourite toy :D
But I still bought her a few destroyables anyway for christmas pressies, since we all need variety :)
Anyhow, was just cruising past on my way back from her evening perambulation, 'tis now well past my bedtime and another big day ahead tomorrow *groan* lol.
nighty night TC and big squishy hugs :) :) :)


(God I am a chatterbox aren't I! someone tape my mouth closed and send me to bed before I fall over! ;) )
 

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