Saturday, April 19, 2014


Rick, from Canine Angels told us that the first thing to happen when you get a service dog is to establish the bond between the new owner and the dog.  Once that bond is strong, then you work on specific training.  Zoey knows a lot of commands already, but she has to learn to follow Chris' lead instead of Rick's.  

Chris has been learning so much and has done an awesome job with Zoey.  One of her commands is to come up onto his lap.  She did this one pretty easily.....

He says her name to get her attention, gives the command....

She follows and comes up......

and gets love!!

Learning to walk with Zoey and not get the leash tangled was a little challenging.   Making sure that she walks far enough away from the chair to safely avoid the wheels was a good lesson but she's learned that pretty quickly.  Chris sometimes gets frustrated with the leash since he can't hold it with his hands.  He wraps it around his right wrist but that's the arm that he doesn't have any movement in the wrist.  He has to use the right arm so that he can have his left arm free to drive the wheelchair.  The leash gets caught sometimes on different parts of the wheelchair but so far he and Zoey have worked it out.  She's been amazing about waiting patiently for Chris to untangle the leash, or get the leash free from various corners of the wheelchair.  Sometimes if the leash slides off his wrist he just calls her up on his lap and is able to use HIS "paws" (fists) and teeth to get the leash, wrap it around his wrist, and have to climb back down to continue the walk.  They both have really learned what works for them as a team....and it's been really fun to watch!

When he needs to remind her that he is in charge, Chris calls her up onto his lap and uses his wrists to flip her onto her back and holds her down to tell her that he is Alpha.  She usually responds by listening on the first time to the next command and licking his face or his hands to show her love.  So sweet!

Yup.....I'd say they've bonded well!

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