4 Paws For Alex

Looking for answers ....... Praying for a Miracle

Our Ongoing Blog

Our ongoing blog about Alex and Honor!

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Almost there!

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 29, 2008 at 9:53 PM Comments comments (0)
Hi Folks,

    We started the day in our normal fashion, going to breakfast.  Jen was a little disappointed that Dad finished her pumpkin carving.  She did 80% of it, but it became too late last night to let her finish.  At least she got to bring it to the lobby and show it off.  Before we brought it to the lobby, I had her shut the lights off and pointed the flashlight inside the top.  She was thrilled to see what she had made.

    Yesterday we were told that we would have a full day at 4 Paws today.  So it was off to 4 Paws, we didn't have a very good start because we forgot the seizure shirts back at the Hotel.  When Jeremy got to us he asked if we did any seizure scent work (we didn't, shame on us) so he said we would work on this morning.  You know what that meant (Dad was going to the Hotel to get it).

    Just before leaving Mom said bring her back a coffee since her first one was gone on the way to 4 Paws.  So I did her one better and brought our Keurig (www.keurig.com) coffee maker that we took with us from home, to 4 Paws along with the seizure shirts.  I brought sugar & milk in a cooler so there would be no complaints.

    This actually went over big, a few of the other parents had either coffee or tea.  This is good for us because if we can refer someone to buy a machine, they will get 50 free pods of coffee and we will get 50 free pods as well.  Pretty good deal, even tough the machine is a bit pricey, but it save us from spending money at Dunkin Donuts.

    Back to training it was we went over Nuzzle, Lap, Down, Sit, Over, then we got into the seizure scent work.  We were told that we needed to change the containers that the shirts were in so that Honor wouldn't just associate the bag with the scent, but more over would be trained to the scent itself.  It would have been nicer to find this out a little earlier so we could have practiced.  Well better late than never.  The other thing Jeremy said was not give him a treat after each bark, we should try to get at least 3-4 barks and give praise more than treats but still give treats randomly.

    In the afternoon we were told we would be going over bringing the dogs home and some guidelines about how to integrate Honor in with our other pets.  We have two Bichon's you see.  So we had more questions than most.  We were told to bring Honor into our house with the other dogs not there so he can smell his way around.  Since the dogs were trained not to be territorial we should not have an issue with him marking his territory (that's a good thing) he definitely has a much larger volume than our other dogs.

    When we went over toys, we were told to increase the size of the toys for the biggest dog to avoid choking of Honor on the other dogs toys.  We also asked about the feeding patterns, since our Bichons have had "people food" Jeremy indicated that we should not try to have different feeding schedules and we should break the other dogs away from people food.  Guess it is tough love for Brady & Bro because we don't want Honor to lose his effectiveness during meal time.

    We were also told that our other dogs could learn new rules, we should just be consistent all the time and not just when we feel like it.  Jeremy said the dogs don't know the concept of sometimes.

    On the way out of 4 Paws, we let Honor in the play area again but only with Ziti (Alec's Dog) while we were in there another trainer (Jennifer) brought in some Golden Retrievers to the play area, while they were playing we started to talk.  One of the concepts, I wanted them to go over was the "Come" command while in the play area with other dogs.  I said there have been mornings when play needed to be over, but the dogs wouldn't come to us.  Jennifer said well you can practice now, so I bent down and called Honor over he hesitated but then came running.  I gave him a treat and then was getting ready to put the leash on him when Jennifer said, "Don't do that" you want Honor to think that coming when called is a good thing, not "Play time is over".  So I let him go a few more minutes then did it again, this time it was OK to leave because I had let him be free earlier.  She also said it is a good idea to always have a treat for the "Come" command or at least 90% of the time.

    We were told we would have our training test tomorrow, guess where (at the mall).  After that we go back to 4 Paws for a one on one to go over paperwork with Karen, then Graduation.  Our training test slot is set for 11:20AM, the kids do not have to be present.

    We are still trying to decide who will do the test.  I have a feeling I will do the test and Mom will do the paperwork.

    After that we broke for the day and headed to the Hotel for the Halloween get together.  This was a fun time, we didn't have to cook or spend money at a restaurant (Yea).  We took some pictures of the carved pumpkins, if the photo area starts cooperating I will load them later tonight.  I added some pics from today, but couldn't see them on the site, could be a glitch with the site.

   One more day then a big day of packing and hoping it all fits, we should be OK because a lot of the stuff we took like food will be gone.  We will just have to pack more efficiently since we will now have a new thing to pack.

That's all for tonight and look it is earlier so hopefully less typo's since the light is still on.

Alex's Dad.

Doesn't Mom always say that when there is rough play someone always gets hurt.

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 28, 2008 at 11:04 PM Comments comments (2)

Good Evening from Ohio,

    Well let's start out by saying we slept later than usual this morning, could be because we are tired or because we stayed up late updating the site.  After breakfast we headed to 4 Paws.  It was very cold this morning, there was frost here ~35 deg F with a biting wind.  Needless to say we didn't let the kids go out and play in the morning, after all we didn't bring winter jackets.

    When we got there we did the usual and let Honor run in the fenced area, however this morning was a little different.  After Ziti (Alec's Golden Doddle) and Journey (Judi's Golden Doodle) got to the fenced in area the white monsters began to play, more like rough house.  Doesn't Mom always say that when there is rough play someone always gets hurt.

    They were running along happily playing then all of a sudden there was a 2 against one Doodle collison with Honor being in the middle.  He didn't stay on his feet and after the hard roll he took, he came up limping, not wanting to put any weight on his leg.  He still wanted to go but was too limited in his movement on three legs.  Alec's Dad (Bob) went into the facility to see what we should do, carry him in or let him walk it off.  Well it wasn't long before he was putting a little weight on it. still limping though.  That was it for Honor and the play area, he began walking a little better so we headed inside.

    Inside we met one of the staff who said that he probably has a slight sprain but will be OK, indicating Dogs have a high threshold for pain.  He clearly wasn't whimpering at all. 

    When Jeremy came in we told him what happened and he said that one of the vets would check him out tomorrow since he did observe a slight weight avoidance with that leg.  After going around the room, going over any issues people had the previous day/night.

    When it was our turn, Deanna said that at 3 AM, Alex had a seizure but Honor didn't want to be bothered getting up from sleeping, though he did wake up though no barking.  Jeremy said that the dog has to be motivated to do his work, which means we need to have the treats ready and be prepared to bring him to Alex so he can get closer to the seizure scent.  Jeremy also said that seizure dogs usually will only alert on the first seizure since after one, the seizure scent is in the air and they are NOT trained to bark all while they smell that scent.

    When we asked if we should have bagged Alex's shirt since it was fresh, he said yes (oops, we didn't know that at the time).  This prompted a couple more questions: 1) Do we still need to have fresh T-shirts new out of the bag, the answer to that is NO, the only reason they say that is to be able to discriminate between the seizure scent instead of the different detergents.  2)  Do we need to change his bed linens and ours if he has one in our bed, the answer to that was Yes, we are not looking forward to changing linens that often, but if it will help Honor with the alerting, then it is a sacrifice we will have to make.

    We continued in the morning session on obedience commands then broke for lunch with another trip to the mall planned for the afternoon.  You could hear everone in the room groan (not again), but this is the trainers only way of observing us away from the training facility and in real life situations.

    We got in the car and asked the kids if they wanted to go to the mall again.  What do you think their answer was?  A resounding "NO".  So Deanna and the kids dropped me off at the mall, while they went to get lunch at Mcdonalds or something.  She said it would do me good to have to interact with other people (usually she does all the talking when people come up and ask question about the dog)  While at the mall, I had Subway (eat fresh) as Alex says.  During lunch Honor was sitting under the table as we had been taught, this prompted another question, when they are doing a command well, we have been trained to reward them.  So my question was should they be rewarded during a meal (with their own treats of course, since they can have absolutely no table food ever) if they are doing a good job staying put.  Jeremy's answer was "I wouldn't", you are teaching them to expect treats during meals which is not a behavior that we should start.

    One of the things we were having difficulty with was Honor going up/down stairs too quickly, Jeremy had the answer again and made it look so easy, force Honor to stop on every step and sit so he becomes conditioned to go slow.  Sounds pretty obvious, but when we are the ones doing it the only thing we thought of was holding back on the leash.  After Jeremy showed me the technique and infromed us of another command "forward" then "stand" for each few steps to use him as a balance guide going up/down stairs the stairs were much easier to navigate.

    Once this was done, I was free to go for the day to go back to the hotel to practice other basic commands.  When I got back the I took the kids to the pool again ( no news here, this is what we do every day).  When we got back to room from the pool, we went to the breakfast area for a BBQ that the Hotel does every Tuesday.  After that, we went back to the hotel room to carve pumpkins, you see the Hotel is having a Halloween party tomorrow and one of the events was pumpkin carving, we people carve pumpkins and then the hotel staff judge the best pumpkin.  We will take pictures tomorrow and post them

    No new pictures or videos were added today, but we will add them tomorrow.

abeeda abeeda abeeda, That's all folks.

Alex's Dad.

 

Short Day today, we needed the rest

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 27, 2008 at 10:03 PM Comments comments (1)
Hi Folks,

    Today we had a short training day, we went over basic command being given from a distance.  Then each family worked on their dog's specialty work whether it be seizure alerts, mobility, behavior disruption with the trainers.  Once we were done with that we were dismissed to go practice.

    Again, Dad & the kids went to the pool, while I made supper.  After supper, Jeff took Honor to the mall to do some in public training so we will have something to review with the trainers in the morning.  When Jeff got back, he said Honor was a Good Boy for the most part.  A couple of times while walking to the mall he chased a blowing leaf, if Alex was tethered to Honor, he would have gone for a ride.  The other thing we have to practice with Honor is doing stairs.  Honor really wants to do them quickly, so we have to work with him to slow him down.

    No new pictures or videos to add, we may have to remove some since some people have said they aren't loading right.  If anyone has any opinion on what to remove please let us know, as it is hard for us to choose since they are all special to us.

Talk with you tomorrow.

Jeff & Deanna

AM Training: Basic Dog Care PM: More mall training

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 27, 2008 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (2)

Hi folks,

    Tonight will be a short one.  The videos took a long time to upload, looks like our internet connection slowed down, or our hosting site slowed down.

    We went over basic Dog Care in the morning followed by another mall session.  We found out that Honor is a little apprehensive about stairs with his harness on.  Other than that things went well.

    After training which let out around 3:30 we headed to the Hotel and took the kids swimming (at least Dad, Jen and Alex) Mom stayed with Honor.  Today Alex only lasted 1 hr in the pool, he then came back to the room and had a bath.  After bath, Mom set him up on the floor playing on the computer and Honor performed a non-requested lap command.  We had to get some pictures of this.

BTW, We were shocked and excited to see that gas prices dropped to $2.14 but in other areas it is still $2.49,  What is it back home.

Also we may have to remove some files videos and pictures to make room for newer ones.  Let us know which woukd be best to removed and which to keep.  We have a limited amount of space.

Bed time for Dad now (yawn)

Dad.

Work then PLAY!

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 25, 2008 at 9:56 PM Comments comments (1)

Good Evening again from Ohio!

Today was yet another training day! We have no breaks! We go straight through for 10 days! We all woke up a little late this morning, so it seemed to be a rushed morning, and a little stressed by the time we got to training! We started with the usuall around the room for any problems that might have occured during the night. None here!

 
    Next we hopped right into heeling, and of course Honor got voted to go first, seeing how he was lying down and looked way too comfortable. Honor hopped right up, and we performed to please. We did walking around other dogs, and also kids, and Honor heeled perfecrtly. Jeff handled him really well. We continued on to tethering while we were out there, and Honor did great again! He stayed in a Down command the whole time while one of the other families pulled on his tethering strap! I mean they really pulled. Most of the other dogs at least moved across the slippery floors when being pulled, NOT HONOR! I told you he is a horse!


  We then continued the "Down" command and both Jeff and I both left the room at different times, and the same time, and HONOR NEVER moved. YEAH! he stayed in a down until we called him. Very successful day! We also did some mobility walking with Alex and Jeff at the same time.

    We spent a little more time outdoors around lunch time today beacuse it was really nice out today. Honor was able to run and play with many of his friends. He is very fond of Ziti, Teton, both girls, and Cirque, a boy! And yes, they are also all Doodles (See the video)!


    We finished up right around 4, and we headed to the hotel to get ready for our 4Paws Halloween Bash! We of course dressed up the kids, and of course HONOR!  You must go to the photo gallery to see the kids in costume. They are sooooo CUTE! And of course he was a HUGE, oops, no pun intended, hit!

    We met a few families who are not in our group, who either have their dogs already, or who are in the process of fundraising! How neat! The kids made goodie bags, and went around the room and trick or treated, and then we also ate some yummy pot-luck foods  we all brought, and then headed back to the hotel. Needless to say, it has been a very long day!

    We hope to continue on a positive path with Honor and his training!  We look forward to posting  yet again tomorrow.
 
      Night from Ohio!              Deanna & Jeff

Wow, this week has really gone by fast

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 24, 2008 at 11:04 PM Comments comments (1)
Hi Folks,

    This is Blog attempt #2, unfortunately when we went to save the first attempt the internet connection timed out causing us to lose the entire blog that we had just typed.  So this one may be shorter.

    Our day started by taking Honor out, of course.  Then we went to breakfast in the hotel, we took Honor with us and he was really good laying by the table as other families walked in and while we ate breakfast.  It was a good thing we took him out before breakfast because during breakfast it started raining. :(

    When we got to 4 Paws we let Honor run around in the fenced in area.  Luckily Honor's friends were not there so he stayed clean again.  He did get quite wet though, the same can not be said about Honor's friends a few of them came in muddy and had to washed down. 

    In the morning we went over behavior disruption where we would put Honor in a "Down" position and try to entice him to get up by having children walk by and even other dogs.  A couple of times Honor moved but soon he ignored all of the distractions.

    Since it was raining out the kids had to stay indoors, we were thinking it would be a long day.  Alex was playing a video game (It was Monster House on the Nintendo Game Cube)  that kept his interest until noon time.

    Just before we broke for lunch, Jeremy informed us that the afternoon would be spent in a public place, the mall.  The mall we went to was right across the street from our hotel which was nice.

    Since we didn't have much time for lunch, we decided to eat at the mall's food court.  We put Honor in a "Down" and ate lunch with Honor staying right at the table with no "bad" behavior.  He was such a good boy.

    After lunch we met with the group, talk about crowded, we had 10 dogs there, no one bothered us but we did get lots of people stopping by to pet the dogs.  During this visit to a public place, Jeremy was there to observe us handle our dogs in public places and go over and questions or concerns.

    During this time, Alex walked with Honor holding the harness, while we had Honor "heel".  A couple of time Honor needed to be corrected because his pace was too fast.  It really was not his fault because he had Mom walking slower and Alex walking faster so he was in a no win situated.  Jeremy spent a few minutes with us discussing this behavior asking us what we wanted to happen.  Once Jeremy observed us we were free to go.

    Since we got out a little early we went to the pool, even Honor made an appearance at the pool but didn't stay too long because it was too warm in there.

    After a day like today, we are really wondering what is in store for us tomorrow.  The other ting we are looking forward to, is a Halloween bash at 4 Paws.  Not only is the current class invited but any local family's close to 4 Paws are invited.

    Well that is it for tonight.

    Hopefully that is OK, it is kind of late tonight, and since it is the second attempt to update the blog.

Until tomorrow.

Alex's Dad

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 23, 2008 at 8:46 PM Comments comments (6)
Hello from Ohio!

Here we are once again, posting about our terrific dog. We had another good day with him. We started out this morning on a positive note, and we took HONOR to the breakfast that is provided by the hotel. I must admit I was very nervous. We approached the breakfast room, and I found the table with the most room and the farthest away from all the food.  It worked out really well. We put him in a "Down" and there he stayed, even when Bear one of the other dogs came into the room. In so many ways, Honor is so Perfect!
  
    We arrived to 4Paws early yet once again to let Honor run off some energy. And today he didn't come in looking like a Marshmallow dipped in Chocolate! Yeah Honor!

    Today we worked on behavior disruption, which is to be used when the child is in a stressful situation.  Two commands are used for this "Lap" and "Over" then the "Down" command.  Lap is means the dog puts his head on Alex's lap, we trained without Alex, because he could not stay in one place for that long.  The "Over & Down" command is when Honor would step over someone's legs and then lay down so they couldn't get up.  It was hard enough for us to move Honor off us with out telling him a command so Alex would never be able to do this.  At least not right now.

    The other training we did was tethering, where Alex would be tethered to Honor, so he would stay close to Honor and be safe.  Honor did all these commands very well.  He really seems to sense when it is time to work and when it is OK to run free in the fenced in area at 4 Paws.

    From the morning runs we can sure tell that he will be missing his buddy's that he plays with, we will take a video of morning playtime tomorrow.  Maybe we can find some bigger friends for Honor to play with at home because Brady & Bro, will be like a cat playing with a mouse, that should be very interesting too!

    For everyone that reads our blog, views the pictures or videos, we would love to have you leave a comment just to acknowledge that you stopped by and comment on any of the pictures or videos that you like.  The kids love checking in the morning and evening to see who stopped by and left comments.  This goes for family too!  The web site communication is great for the kids.  Also, please join our site, it doesn't take that long.

Talk with you tomorrow.

Mom & Dad

   

Day Two: Some tricks, some treats!

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 22, 2008 at 10:04 PM Comments comments (2)
Well, We made it yet another day!

    What a great job Honor did last night at the hotel. No seizures last night for Alex. Which I guess is a good thing. However......After raising so much money for this dog, traveling here, and waiting so long, we REALLY want Alex to have a seizure while we are here to know that HONOR will know what to do. I know I know......You all are thinking what awful parents. Don't worry, He will have one in due time!

    We arrived to training this morning early so Honor could run around for awhile. BIG MISTAKE, I carried the daily supplies into the training facility, and allowed Jeff and the kids to go run around with Honor and the other dogs. When they showed up say ten minutes later, my white dog looked like a marshmallow who was just dipped in chocolate! ALL FOUR PAWS! I almost had a heart attack. Did I mention Jeff and I want astro-turf for the back yard! Jeff and I had to take Honor to the bathroom where they have a bathing sink for dogs, he was reluctant to get in the wash basin which had a doorway. He woudn't get in no matter how many treats we offered.  So Jeff, lifted him in the tub and procedded to rinse his paws off. YUCK! Certainly something I am not looking forward too, since he won't fit in our sink!
 
     Next we talked about the previous night's experience at the hotel with all the dogs, each family got to ask questions and communicate any concerns. We then proceeded on to learning new tricks. We learned..."Rollover", which he needs a lot of space to perform, Honor stretches so far out.  Then came "Bang" or "Play dead"!  Which we will change to sleep, so we are not using the phrase "Bang" at school. And finally Under for under a table or an object. Did I mention that HONOR is a SUPER DOG! I know bias again! I am so excited that he is SUCH a GREAT DOG!

    It was almost the end of the day, and Jeremy dismissed the class, except the seizure kids, which was Christopher and Alex. Jeremy brought over a package of our seizure shirts, and showed us how to get Honor to react. However, first I have to tell you all that as Jeremy walked over to us, I had noticed earlier in the day that on the stairs next to where we were sitting the was a shirt that belonged to Alex. A shirt that I sent in as a seizure shirt. Jeremy informed us that it probably didn't have an seizure scent left for it had been out for awhile, so he told me to go ahead and pick it up and take it. So I did, and as I did, I guess HONOR's nose went crazy and he was looking for the scent! YEAH HONOR! Jeremy said to us, "Did you see that?" I replied, "No!". But appantely Jeff did, and Honor was sniffing up a storm. GOOSEBUMPS!
 
    So next we practiced the opening of the bag for Honor to smell the shirts. Then we had him SPEAK! Watch out. DEEP BARK! When Honor barks, people WILL know Alex is having some type of seizure! I wanted to cry! Ok, so maybe I did! This is a very emotional roller coaster you know!
 
   We headed home back to the hotel, and when we got back, Dad and the kids went to the pool, while I made supper and worked on some basic commands with Honor! Next we did some school work, which might I add both kids wanted to do. And soon Alex asked to go to bed. Alex's head hit the pillow, and with the lights on, televsion on, the water in the sink on, he fell FAST asleep!

    Sleep tight everyone, Cause it sure is tight here in Ohio with Alex and his minuture HORSE!  I forgot to metion.....Wait til you see his Halloween Costume!   Night for now!
Hugs and Kisses to you all! Keep the messages coming!  See you all again tomorrow!

     We finally have been able to get the video files on the computer, now we have to upload it to the web site, so check back later!

Mom & Dad

Family Bonding Day with HONOR!

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 21, 2008 at 8:42 PM Comments comments (0)
Good Evening from Ohio!

What a very emotional day we all had. Today was like February 8th, 2001 and October 14, 2002 all OVER AGAIN! This whole experience of getting Honor has been much like child birth. Getting pregnant, (getting excepted to 4Paws), monthly doctor appointments, (fund raisers), then the final month. Excitement! Preparing the house, preparing other children for the new arrival. Then, LABOR! Sitting at 4Paws today not knowing which Golden Doodle was ours, was just like pushing a baby out. Knowing that Honor was almost here, but just a few more moments of waiting til it was our turn. Then, Jeremy opened the cage, and out walked this miniature HORSE! Yes, it was HONOR! OH MY GOSH!

Alex said, "Mommy, he is BIG!" Karen from 4Paws said, "Alex, That picture we sent was when he was a puppy!" YOU THINK! Boy were we in shock. We are certainly getting use to him, and his size. He laid down on the kitchen floor in the hotel room tonight, and made a huge thud! Jeff and I turned towards each other and laughed. You all wait! You'll SEE!

We got this incredible dog! Of course we are bias at this current time, but we have this awesome dog! He is great at his commands! He is great with the kids! He is very mellow and laid back! THANK GOD! Something I needed! Something WE needed!

Alex is wonderful with Honor, however, we really have to work on him to bond with Honor in order for the seizure work to take place. I think right now Jen is bonding a little better with Honor than Alex is. We all know Alex, and his attention span is not long, however with that being said, he is very protective of Honor being around Jen, but that really seems to be the only time he wants to spend with him. Hopefully day 2 will be a better day for both of them.

We look forward to more information as the days go on. The trainers are so wonderful, and full of so much knowledge. Not only is this seizure training for HONOR but it more people training to make sure we know how to handle HONOR.  The knowledge and training tips the 4 paws tariners are providing is concepts that we can bring home to our tiny doggies. Brady and Bro will look like ants next to Honor! That should be interesting!

Thank you to all for the wonderful well wishes and the comments. The kids like to get up in the morning and look to see if anyone stopped by the site. So PLEASE keep posting! Talk to you all again tomorrow night! 

As for posting a video, we have run into some technical difficulties, possibly tomorrow night.  The problem is we have an analog camcorder so we have to translate it to digital format before we can post it online. 
                                                          Hugs from BeaverCreek! 

                                                           Mom

Boys day out / Girls day out!

Posted by 4pawsforalex on October 21, 2008 at 12:01 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi Folks,

Today, Mom & Jen were invited to Longaberger, since we are in Ohio and not to far from the Longaberger headquarters (in Newark, OH) well it was still like 1-1/2 hrs away.  While they did that, I took Alex to the Columbus Zoo (Mom & Jen had the camera).

Mom & Jen went to visit the Longaberger Homestead, where they make the "handmade baskets" and actually got to weave their own basket, they also toured the golf course and the other areas of the company.

We agreed to meet back at Longaberger at 4PM.  Alex & I went to the Columbus Zoo roughly 25 miles away so another short car ride.  This was a good zoo to visit, many animals and even an aquarium too.  We really liked seeing the Manatees.

We added pictures to the Photo gallery, unfortunately we only have one camera so "the basket weavers" took it for the day.

When we got back to the hotel, Mom asked me to upload the pictures to the web site, one problem with that, I forgot the download cable, so I had to goto a store to try to find a cable.  No such luck, so I got a Sony memory card reader instead that is how the photos were added.  Wheeew, I was getting a little worried.

Anyway it is late so I am going to bed.

Jeff (Alex's Dad)

 

 


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