Office hours 2


Today we had our Service Dogs on the Town class. Barbara and Tripper were the only students today, and we had a great time! Tripper is now 11 months old, boy how the time flies!

Hestia did much better this class. She is getting more used to working around Tripper and so less distracted by him, which is great. Her heel work was suffering today a bit, though. I ended up going through a whole Blue Stix treat!

Tripper was great this class! I can tell he and Barbara have been working together between classes. We mostly worked on walking nicely in the store and recovering from distractions. We started off near the purses and did small loops around the accessories. Then we went near some clothing and hung out while people (and Hestia!) passed by Tripper.

Tripper is getting to the point where when there is a distraction, he sometimes looks, and then on his own he remembers he is supposed to look at Barbara to get a treat! It is such a joy to see the gears working so well in his head!

To end the class, we decided to take a full loop around the store. There were people walking by us with interesting things in their carts, little kids, and even an entire display of dog treats right there sticking out into the aisle. Tripper did very well. Then on our way out of the store, we worked on him walking right past Hestia a few times– he didn’t even look at her! I was so proud!

One thing Brad noticed in watching the video of Tripper that we took is that his butt tends to swing out when he’s getting lots of treats, so we’re going to work on the pocket hand (or lotus hand) method of delivering treats next time to swing that butt right back in! Here’s a video I made about the pocket hand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_hS7_Y8g3c

When we left the store, we found that someone had overparked… In other words, their car was in the striped section next to the van accessible wheelchair space (called an “access aisle”). We got pictures of Brad trying to get in and out of the van with this person’s car in the way. Luckily he was able to squeeze by, but it was a very very tight squeeze!

Then we headed to Panera, where I challenged Barbara and Tripper some more. Normally their friend Mick gets them a smoothie while they settle at a table. This time, Barbara ordered her own smoothie! Tripper was very good while she ordered. He lay there very well for almost the whole time. However, once while Barbara was paying, a lady came up behind her and distracted him. But when Barbara called him, he went right back to Barbara.

We hung out and Brad was a lot more talkative this time. He seemed to have more energy than usual and was full of good training advice! We talked a lot about reinforcing with a variety of reward levels– sometimes high value treats, sometimes low value treats, sometimes praise or a combo. We talked about how to switch it up and build that desire for working and the fun of not knowing what reward was going to come next.

We also talked about a lot of other general service dog stuff. Barbara and I have a lot in common, so it was a lot of fun to talk about these things. On our way home, there was a feature on NPR about office hours for students in college, and Brad and I joked that our time with Barbara in Panera was like office hours– and office hours were always one of my favorite teaching times!

Next time I think Tripper is ready to try a new store!

Brad got some really good pictures. I am a woman with long brown curly hair, and I am wearing a yellow ruffled dress. Hestia is a small black and white dog with a smushed nose, and is wearing a yellow and black Harry Potter Hufflepuff house vest. Brad is in a powerchair and is wearing a white linen suit, a red sun on his lapel (to signify the extreme heat!), a black shirt with tiny herringbone accents, a tie with red and black leafy vines on a white background, a black fedora hat, and a gold sun pin in the hat. Barbara is wearing a blue and white dress. Tripper is a Golden Retriever and has on a blue service dog vest. Mick is pushing Barbara’s wheelchair, has long hair, and is wearing a white shirt.

Brad demonstrates how much room is needed to use a van with a wheelchair ramp-- it takes about 8 feet of space next to the van to deploy the ramp and have enough room to maneuver on and off the ramp!
Brad demonstrates how much room is needed to use a van with a wheelchair ramp– it takes about 8 feet of space next to the van to deploy the ramp and have enough room to maneuver on and off the ramp!
While waiting outside the store, Brad took this picture of me holding Hestia.  I am smiling for the camera, while Hestia is looking to the side with her tongue sticking out!
While waiting outside the store, Brad took this picture of me holding Hestia. I am smiling for the camera, while Hestia is looking to the side with her tongue sticking out!
A better shot of me holding Hestia while we are outside the store waiting.  We match very well!
A better shot of me holding Hestia while we are outside the store waiting. We match very well!
A closeup of Hestia's Hufflepuff vest.  You can read one patch saying "service k9 3/4" and see a Deathly Hallows keychain hanging off of the middle ring of the vest.
A closeup of Hestia’s Hufflepuff vest. You can read one patch saying “service k9 3/4” and see a Deathly Hallows keychain hanging off of the middle ring of the vest.
A little blurry in the foreground is Tripper getting a treat.  In the background and in focus is Hestia looking at Tipper excitedly.
A little blurry in the foreground is Tripper getting a treat. In the background and in focus is Hestia looking at Tipper excitedly.
Tripper smiles for the camera!  What a handsome boy!
Tripper smiles for the camera! What a handsome boy!
Barbara gives Tripper a treat as Mick pushes them.  I am in the background making a weird face and doing something strange with my arm while Hestia heels next to me and looks up at me.
Barbara gives Tripper a treat as Mick pushes them. I am in the background making a weird face and doing something strange with my arm while Hestia heels next to me and looks up at me.
Barbara gets excited about Tripper's focus while passing through an area with lots of crowded displays.
Barbara gets excited about Tripper’s focus while passing through an area with lots of crowded displays.
Tripper in perfect heel next to Barbara's wheelchair!
Tripper in perfect heel next to Barbara’s wheelchair!
Barbara talks to Tripper as he totally ignores Hestia and me walking by.
Barbara talks to Tripper as he totally ignores Hestia and me walking by.
Tripper sits and looks at Barbara while Hestia passes within a foot and a half of his tail.
Tripper sits and looks at Barbara while Hestia passes within a foot and a half of his tail.
Veronica smiles and looks to the right while Hestia lies on the floor and looks at Veronica's face.
Veronica smiles and looks to the right while Hestia lies on the floor and looks at Veronica’s face.
A woman takes a picture of Hestia (she asked permission first!) while Hestia looks up at Veronica.
A woman takes a picture of Hestia (she asked permission first!) while Hestia looks up at Veronica.
A black and white picture of a neat skull themed telephone that Brad saw in the Halloween display.
A black and white picture of a neat skull themed telephone that Brad saw in the Halloween display.
This is the first in a series of four photos that shows how Hestia often goes from out of heel position to in heel position.  In this picture Tripper is in the background with his head down.  I am walking and Hestia is too far in front of me and out of heel position.
This is the first in a series of four photos that shows how Hestia often goes from out of heel position to in heel position. In this picture Tripper is in the background with his head down. I am walking and Hestia is too far in front of me and out of heel position.
In picture number two, Tripper has regained his focus on Barbara, and Hestia is standing on one back leg jumping up in the air to swing her butt around.  Veronica has her hand out to the left to signal to Hestia that she needs to get in heel position.
In picture number two, Tripper has regained his focus on Barbara, and Hestia is standing on one back leg jumping up in the air to swing her butt around. Veronica has her hand out to the left to signal to Hestia that she needs to get in heel position.
In picture number three, Hestia stands on both back feet and backs up next to Veronica.
In picture number three, Hestia stands on both back feet and backs up next to Veronica.
In picture four, Hestia sits in heel position.
In picture four, Hestia sits in heel position.
Mick pushes Barbara's wheelchair and Tripper walks next to her.  This picture is very important because a second before it was taken, the child in the cart to Tripper's left was very excited to see Tripper, and Tripper really wanted to go say hi.  But he refocused himself and carried on!
Mick pushes Barbara’s wheelchair and Tripper walks next to her. This picture is very important because a second before it was taken, the child in the cart to Tripper’s left was very excited to see Tripper, and Tripper really wanted to go say hi. But he refocused himself and carried on!
Mick pushes Barbara, while Tripper walks alongside.  In the background Veronica smiles while walking, and Hestia looks up to Veronica.
Mick pushes Barbara, while Tripper walks alongside. In the background Veronica smiles while walking, and Hestia looks up to Veronica.
The result of overparking!  Brad is on the ramp but cannot get off because a car is parked in the access aisle.
The result of overparking! Brad is on the ramp but cannot get off because a car is parked in the access aisle.
Brad frowns at the camera because of the overparking issue.
Brad frowns at the camera because of the overparking issue.
Brad throws his hands up in frustration because he is stuck!
Brad throws his hands up in frustration because he is stuck!
Brad has one hand on his hip and stares frustratedly at the car that is blocking the access aisle.
Brad has one hand on his hip and stares frustratedly at the car that is blocking the access aisle.
Veronica holds open the door to Panera while Hestia sits next to her.  Barbara and Tripper (in a perfect heel!) walk through the open door.
Veronica holds open the door to Panera while Hestia sits next to her. Barbara and Tripper (in a perfect heel!) walk through the open door.
In this picture with a glowing effect, Tripper lies behind Barbara as she orders.  Hestia's head is blurry in the foreground, watching Tripper.
In this picture with a glowing effect, Tripper lies behind Barbara as she orders. Hestia’s head is blurry in the foreground, watching Tripper.
Veronica and Hestia stand back a bit while Barbara orders and Tripper lies next to her on the floor.
Veronica and Hestia stand back a bit while Barbara orders and Tripper lies next to her on the floor.
Black and white closeup of Tripper on the floor with Hestia's head in the foreground.
Black and white closeup of Tripper on the floor with Hestia’s head in the foreground.
Same as previous picture, except this time Hestia is in focus and Tripper is blurry.
Same as previous picture, except this time Hestia is in focus and Tripper is blurry.
A black and white profile of Hestia.  You can really tell her nose is so smushed it almost goes back inside her head!
A black and white profile of Hestia. You can really tell her nose is so smushed it almost goes back inside her head!
A black and white beauty shot of Hestia looking just to the side of the camera.
A black and white beauty shot of Hestia looking just to the side of the camera.
A black and white closeup of Hestia's face.  You can see Brad's reflection in her eye, and her lower peg teeth in her mouth (she has a bit of an underbite).
A black and white closeup of Hestia’s face. You can see Brad’s reflection in her eye, and her lower peg teeth in her mouth (she has a bit of an underbite).
Veronica and Barbara sit at a table in Panera.  Hestia sits on Veronica's lap, while Tripper stands next to Barbara.
Veronica and Barbara sit at a table in Panera. Hestia sits on Veronica’s lap, while Tripper stands next to Barbara.
Video of Tripper going through the end of the accessories section. Brad apologizes for the out of focus camera work.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

2 thoughts on “Office hours

  • deborah rubin (aka debandtoby)

    You should go in the store and ask the manager for the name/number of the company that manages the complex, and complain about the overparking. The last few times I was at the vet someone was parked very neatly in the access aisle. Since the one handicap spot in front is in a bad place anyway, one person ignoring the lines for cars in the opposite direction and it’s all but impossible to get in or out, so I park in a regular spot and risk going up and down the curb. Always scares me.
    In the grocery store yesterday it was uncrowded and I was only carrying a bag, not pushing a cart, so I set Eowyn down to heel by me. She wasn’t 100% sharp, but very, very good.