I read an article stating one way that horses learn is by watching other horses. Immediately I registered that canines do the same thing. I had seen this a lot as I worked training assistance dogs. During my training sessions I would place new canine students into see-through crates where they could watch other dogs in training complete the necessary steps to the Alzheimer's working dog's pattern. It never ceased to amaze me how much of a head start these dogs had over the ones that hadn't visually seen what a working Alzheimer's dog did. Even dogs that had not been adopted to be trained for Alzheimer's work learned by observing their fellow students go through the repeated sequence of steps. One day, an older, abused collie I had rescued to become my own forever dog, began to boisterously announce that he wanted out of his cage. It took me a minute to understand, as he gently kept bumping my leg, that he wanted to play this game with me too. And he did. I had tears in my eyes as he successfully put together all of the steps to complete the Alzheimer's dog's pattern. I had no idea that he was learning as he patiently watched the others. To this day my mind can see him proudly demonstrating that he too knew this game. We played it often after that.
January's thaw has hit. Thank heavens for my "canine necessary room". Any dog owner knows about this room. Dogs are in and out of bad weather... they have the fun, the human partners clean up the mess. Having a "necessary room" saves the day, my nerves, my back, and the relationship with my dog. I expect the necessary room to be a mess, that's why I have it. The rest of the house is clean and I definitely won't clean it several times a day.
Those of us who have assistance dogs know that our dogs will be physically alerting us; the dogs will be making physical contact with us when they preform their work tasks. An unclean canine translates into dirty clothing, houses and possessions. We learn early to keep our dogs clean. The necessary rooms make it possible for the dogs to dry off and then gives us acceptable places to clean them up prior to giving them free access to the rest of our abodes. It's great to have our dogs understand that they must wait to be cleaned up and to realize that they will be asked to "sit-stay" in order to be dried off and cleaned up. Both our necessary rooms and our dogs' basic obedience commands make for happy dogs and happy people.
Now, aren't you glad that you put basic obedience training on your dog and have a designated area to keep them clean?
It is a new year and what better way to celebrate than giving everyone the chance to see and purchase the self-help book, Caregiver Follow Me? I am available to answer any questions that you might have. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am looking forward to meeting you. I want this to be the best year ever for caregivers, their dogs, patients, and families.