My AAT dog is so awesome...

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connie
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My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby connie » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:25 am

Today Dee and I completed our third 'observed' session for Animal Assisted Therapy; assuming the evals submitted to Rainbow are good (and I know they are), we will graduate to an internship for 4-6 more sessions, and then be full members of Rainbow AAT.

We are working at a local high school that draws kids from three district HS if the kids are discipline problems or have emotional issues that make a regular HS inappropriate. The AAT sessions are every other week, for an hour in the morning, and in that hour we get two separate groups of kids from the two sides of the school (discipline/emotional needs). It doesn't sound like a lot, but an hour is a long time for a dog to be working, and Dee's little brain is smokin' when she comes out of there!

The sessions take place in the gym and Dee will interact with 8-10 kids in each half-hour session. Today, her third visit there, many of the kids knew her and she seemed to remember them. There are two other dog/handler teams in the visit, so we split up into different corners of the gym -- the dogs never meet or socialize, which is fine with Dee, who says that the Standard Poodle and the GoldenDoodle are both cretinous lower life forms and she would settle their hash if they even thought of greeting her. :rofl:

Today I brought her 20' lead and we worked on different students calling her in turn, which is hard for her because the student who just treated her still HAS treats and she doesn't want to leave them, but the other student is calling her -- what's a girl to do?! And we worked on self-control routines, which she is really bad at. :smirk: And we are teaching her to belly-crawl across the floor from a 'down', and some of the students want her to 'shake hands' so they are working on that. As I said, she's a busy girl for that hour!

She is doing better every week. I'm so proud of my little Shar Pei mix! :love: :lol: And today a reporter from the Chicago Tribune was there, taking lots of pictures and asking questions, so maybe Dee's 15 minutes of fame are in the near future. :cool:

PS -- She was in the Trib about 2 years ago, when they did a feature on a heart disease study in which I'm a participant. Here's Deets! And Rowley, who wants me to stop encouraging that behavior!
cardia tribune.jpg
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maxs_mommy
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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby maxs_mommy » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:03 pm

What a good girl! I bet there's steam rolling off her brain a the end, there'd be steam rolling off mine and I'm not doing the behaviors! (Rowley cracks me up. BC's have an opinion about everything.)
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Amanda
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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby Amanda » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:18 pm

So excellent!! I love programs like this. Freddy was a therapy dog in this type of context. He didn’t appreciate being loved on or smothered with affection. And he wasn’t a particularly good shoulder to cry on, but he thrived at getting kids to use their voice and work on his cues. If they were wishy washy, he would refuse. He gave a lot of young girls a stronger voice. It’s a different kind of therapy dog, but so helpful. I’m so glad you and Dee are doing this work! Good girl, Dee!

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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby connie » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:14 am

I know, Amanda, I'm so glad we found this program! Dee is not a sunggly/cuddly girl, and she is not inclined to take anyone's emotional state to heart -- she's very self-serving. But she does like attention and she is very food-motivated, so we did the training and then fond this high school program. I think she would not be very good with little kids and their sudden movements/noise level, and honestly I didn't want to do something like hospital visits.

Yesterday on the two-person recall, one caller was a very confident girl, and the other caller was a more reserved, shy girl who wasn't sure she wanted to be there, it seemed. Confident Girl calls Dee, Dee goes to her, she has Dee sit, she treats Dee. Shy Girl calls Dee, but so softly that Dee just flicked an ear at her and didn't even turn her head, but kept staring at the treats in Confident Girl's hand. Shy Girl called again, Dee flicked the ear again and didn't move. I pointed this out to the girls and I said to Confident Girl, 'turn your back on Dee' and she did, and I had Shy Girl call again, and Dee immediately got up and went to Shy Girl. It was a good way to show the girls how a dog's behavior depends on a number of cues, and just calling a dog isn't the entire picture.

We had a lot of fun yesterday and everyone at the school is so nice to the Rainbow dogs. :love:

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Amanda
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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby Amanda » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:52 pm

I love that!

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JudyL
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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby JudyL » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:06 pm

Hmm, ear flicks and ignores the girl for better, more rewarding treats? Maybe she has a wee drop of chihuahua blood in there after all. :lol: Mine were all foodies like that too. In fact, they were *so* focused on food that having any training treat would shut their brains and ears off completely. :crazy:

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Re: My AAT dog is so awesome...

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:09 pm

I wish there was something like this near me and that Maggie was confident enough to take part in it. Perhaps one day she will be less terrified of people. I'm so happy for Dee that she has something to work her brain. And I love that photo - Rowley is so funny!
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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