Yes, bestest. Don’t judge me. XD
I have probably said at least 50 times how I am going to have the weirdest service dog ever. I probably will, and I am okay with that. I like weird. Weird is good. Weird animals are even better. It doesn’t matter how weird Pickles is (and my obedience trainer has told me he’s the weirdest dog she’s come across, so that says something), he is perfect for me and I love him immensely. He is seriously an awesome puppy and he’s going to make an awesome service dog.
I read somewhere, I wish I could remember where so I could link to it, that Great Pyrenees dogs have an instinctive nature to take care of injured animals that are in their charge. I am convinced Pickles sees me as an injured animal in his care. He’s 5.5 months old and has more than once stopped me from falling because I’ve lost my balance or had a dizzy spell. I’ve not even thought about balance and mobility training yet, other than to figure out what I need him to do. Just as some dogs have the natural ability to detect seizures or migraines, Pickles has the natural ability to know when I am about ready to fall on my face and he’s right there to try and help.
Last night he was sleeping next to my desk. I know I didn’t wake him when I got up to go upstairs, I double checked because I always feel bad when I wake him when sleeping. We have split level stairs and I was getting ready to head up the second half of the stairs when the dizziness hit. Pickles came running out of the bedroom, down the hall and up the first part of the steps so fast he fell over himself to get between me and the stair I was about to hit. He pushed against the front of my legs to stand me back up and continued to block the stairs until I put my hand on his back where he could “help”.
He is so eager and determined to help at these times and he’s still just a puppy. He doesn’t understand that there isn’t a lot that he can do or that I will let him do because he isn’t done growing.
More than once he has blocked me from getting on the stairs because of dizziness. The first time it happened, I was wanting to go upstairs and I thought he was just being difficult. When I reached down to move him the room started spinning and I almost fell. The second time he stopped me from falling face first down the stairs.
He is going to make an awesome service dog. Did I mention that yet? Have I mentioned how much I love him?
He is probably one of the smartest dogs I have ever met, and I’ve met a lot of dogs. The problem with this is, he’s difficult to train and I have to always be one step ahead of him.
Dog Training 101 goes something like this:
If your puppy is chewing on something you don’t want him to, offer him a toy in exchange to teach him what he is allowed to chew on.
When teaching a dog the command “give it” offer a treat to get him to drop the object.
This is all fine and well and it works. You just have to be consistent and your dog will catch on. The problem is, Pickles caught on too well. His problem solving skills are up there with a champion chess player. He now steals socks, slippers, and wash cloths, with no intention of chewing on them. He just wants a treat. If I am eating something he wants, he will bring me a toy in exchange for a taste of my food. He has learned all too well how the system works and plays it.
Today when I started teaching him to pick up my epi-pen and give it to me (using the trainer that comes with the epi-pens). He picked up on precisely when the treat giving was going to happen and started anticipating it and dropping the epi trainer before I asked for it. While this isn’t a problem, per se, he does need to get used to carrying things in his mouth. He is still a puppy and has a lot of things to learn yet, like how drooling isn’t an appropriate response to scent training. I honestly feel like this scent training thing for allergy detection is more of a Pavlov’s Dog experiment than anything. We will get there though, I am sure of it.
In the meantime, it is comforting to know that no matter how weird he is being, he comes through when it counts. He seems to know that his job is taking care of his injured animal person, and he tries so very hard.