Blog 17 Blown Out Of The Water

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A lot happened in today’s lesson and Buddy is devouring everything that he is taught. I am convinced that if this dog had been given some dog obedience lessons early on he would never have ended up in a shelter because he is smart, like lightening quick.

I’ve been taking another one of my dogs to class because she is extremely old and I don’t like leaving her at home unless I have to anymore. So to start with I had to put Jasmine in a crate while keeping a hold of Buddy’s leash and workmen were coming and going using the electricity. Ryan said to me afterwards, your dog just had all of these things going on and he barely reacted, he is a changed dog. Buddy sees the Ozcorp K-9 facility as the land of chicken, schmackos and praise. He leaps into the car when it’s lesson time. He is completely different to when we first arrived and so am I.

Now my plan had been to blow Ryan out of the water with the trick Buddy and I had been practising. Buddy gets up onto a raised surface and he waits until I release him and then he gets the food. Buddy had been completely prepped for this trick.

Before I could start this, Ryan keeps looking at Buddy and says I reckon I could walk him now. You can what now? Lets just say Trishy was blown out of the water. Ryan comes up to me and shakes my hand and he says Hello Trish will you pass me the leash and I will take Buddy for a walk. I passed the leash and Buddy went off with him. My jaw just dropped. The thing was, Buddy didn’t go hesitantly or reluctantly he bounced along beside Ryan and his tail was all puppy wag. You know that sort of wag? Not the slow scary wag but the happy bombdiggity sort of wag. Ryan did this in the first part of the lesson and I could have stopped right there. To see my boy go off with someone and be happy and relaxed with that person, to trust somebody else was just amazing. To see someone you love happy is worth more than anything in the world. I am never going to forget Buddy bouncing happily along with his tail all bombdiggity. Then I thought shit Ryan’s going to expect me to concentrate now for the rest of the hour and I just wanted to keep that picture in my head forever. I got my act together and came back to Planet Earth but you may consider me blown out of the water.

Buddy obviously decided it was up to him to promote all of our hard work this week at home and he took himself off to sit on a platform so he could show everyone that he was willing to wait until I said YES and then come off the platform. Honestly nothing compared to Ryan walking him. I thought yeah cute trick Buddy I’ve just seen a miracle. I did of course reward the poor devil for performing the trick, over and over again because he kept leaping up and doing it again.

Ryan decided that one miracle was not enough so he wanted to touch Buddy while he was on the platform, so simulating a vet visit. I had to tell Buddy he was a good dog unless he stopped looking at me and turned to Ryan. I was crap at this. I was supposed to ah ah him when he turned to Ryan but I was rubbish at the timing. Now this is where I have to learn to come out of my comfort zone as poor old Buddy has to come out of his. To do this exercise I wanted Buddy to wear a muzzle. No no Ryan says it’ll be ok. Ok I say, how about you wear that sleeve thing? No no Ryan says I’ll be ok. Just keep Buddy on a short leash and pull him up if he goes for me. I’m pretty sure red klaxon bells were going off in my head. Now what I have learned from Ryan is that what I am thinking or feeling travels down the leash. So I am doing my best to stay calm. Stop my heart from beating at 200 beats per minute and think I am so far out of my comfort zone I could be in another country.

Buddy did pretty good. Apparently he went for Ryan once but I missed it. Apparently his fur goes up or his back spasms, I missed all of that. I was rigidly staring at Buddy’s face (while trying not to stare in case that freaked him out) so I would be ready the moment his face turned. God that dog is quick.

We went out and we did some leash work and that is all kinds of cool. Buddy has knocked me over twice and he’s hurt my knees and my hips and my arms while walking so I’m really enjoying the leash work. It’s so clever how you can get them to walk right beside you without any tugging or choking or reprimands. All types of cool.

I said to Ryan he had saved my dog’s life. Before Ozcorp K-9 I was keeping Buddy at home and I was terrified that he was going to get out and hurt someone. I was scared for the someone and I was scared for Buddy. I’m so much more relaxed around Buddy now and our relationship is a hundred times better.

Saturday we are going to group. My son has graduated to group. We’re still going to do a few more one on one sessions but we’re off to group. My God people who would have believed it?

Thank you for reading, catch you next time.

 

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Blog 16 Buddy the Wonder Dog

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I’ve just had session five of Buddy’s training and it’s been life changing. Buddy is a different dog and I’m a different person. He’s so much more relaxed and so am I. To the point that I now need to guard against complacency because he will still have a tricky reaction to some things and I need to be aware of what he is doing in case I need to do something. Not something big or panicky just maybe an ah ah and he’s fine. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s life changing.

I no longer keep my mad son locked up at home and only going out when no-one else is around. I now get Buddy to come out with me and see different things and experience different sights and smells to boost his resilience. I politely say don’t pat the dog when people offer but it’s awesome how we can do things now in the big wide world. Our lives are totally different and I’m now thinking about what the future has to offer.

Will I keep going with one on one sessions or will I go onto group? Yes people we have been invited to GROUP! I wanted to buy Buddy flowers and say congratulations you have made it. You clever clever hound! Nobody has let us join their class before and this is a class for dogs like Buddy so if he goes mental they will have strategies, so I’m not even nervous I’m just looking forward to it.

In group class Buddy will learn how to behave when other dogs are around and I won’t get pulled off my feet. Maybe just maybe I can take him to a dog park with other dogs, God God people can you imagine that?

Buddy is now just a dog to me he’s not a loaded weapon he’s not a missile that I don’t know what sets him off. Can you see how that would make me so much more relaxed about him?

We were learning tricks this last lesson. Buddy learned how to drop, it’s pretty clever how they teach that. Buddy was doing this crazy stuff where he would go and stand on an elevated platform and then wait for me to release him before he came off. That was amaziballs. He wore his muzzle and Ryan touched his back like a vet would start to examine him and Buddy barely registered it. Amaziballs!!!!

I now shake Ryan’s hand with Buddy sitting next to me and it’s a real handshake not some scared little half a handshake because oh my god what if my dog goes bonkers, it’s so cool people. I can now ask my friends to help me because I know what to do with Buddy. So I can take him out, ask them to say gidday and I can watch him and it’s fine. Yay yay and more yay. What if I could bring Buddy back to gym? How cool would that be?

So I said earlier I’m thinking now about the future. Ryan said he never went to the vets without food for his dog. It never occurred to me that I could train my dogs to be better at the vet. I have a giant dog that won’t let his ears be touched and he gets ear problems. So Shazzam to Ozcorp, now when I feed Cole I touch his ears, I massage them gently and I’m going to see if I can find something that simulates the dog torch thing vets use for their ears. Something as silly as I used to walk in the back yard with my hands up because I didn’t like the dogs licking my hands all the time, Ryan has shown me how to stop them doing that and I can now walk around the yard without being hassled. It’s pretty awesome. You can still call them over for a love and a hug but it’s on your terms. This place has changed how my home runs, I am incredibly grateful.

Can Ozcorp fix my dogs going nuts when my donkeys razz them up? Can they fix Jasper being so scared at the vet. Could they fix the debacle when I try to get all the leads on all the dogs, God I hate that kerfuffle, to the extent that it puts me off walking them.

To finish off the lesson Ryan gave me a collar that would make walking Buddy easier because walking Buddy is a flipping night mare. So getting Buddy to walk nicely would be a flipping miracle. The session was absolutely jam packed and we got homework but it’s really clever how Ozcorp build the homework into your everyday activities so you’re not doing extra you’re just doing different.

Ozcorp have done all of these things by getting the dog to want to do them, They don’t scare the dog or yell at them, it’s just clever. Buddy throws his face into the muzzle because he knows he’s getting chicken. Amaziballs! Life changing people it’s all been life changing.

Thank you for reading, catch you next time.

Blog 15 Row Row Row Row Your Boat

Psycho

In January of this year I got very upset because I thought I had done all of the challenges I could think of in Adelaide. I sometimes think that the Gods of Old must just laugh and laugh and laugh at me because I have not been short of challenges at all this year. Yesterday’s one was a doozey.

Lisa my partner in crime at the gym suggested to a group of us that we do a 65km row as a team to support Cystic Fibrosis. The challenge was being organized by a lovely lady called Jess and it was called Cure4Cystic Fibrosis. The challenge was held at Luke’s Bootcamp for Fitness gym and that is the gym Jess goes to.

The challenge changed to just Lisa and I doing it and we were going to do the 65km together, so each does 32.5lms. In a tiny portion of my head I thought wouldn’t it be cool to do 65kms each and then I thought just stop that Missy you’ll bloody kill yourself. Lisa says a week before the challenge hey Trish why don’t we do 65kms each. Yeah ok I say.

We didn’t train for it. We never bloody train for these things. I’m training for the next one whether Lisa does or not. This one nearly bloody killed me. We had learnt a little from our previous half marathon row so this time we brought snacks, a cushion and gloves.

When we got there Jess had printed our names up and put them on our rowers I felt very spesh. She had also written the individual participants and the teams up on a white board with 5km increments. She must have set up for hours. Luke the owner of the gym came to say hello and from our first kilometre we were looked after like royalty. Luke did all of his PT and gym classes and then started the challenge! Yowzah!

From the first kilometre I found it difficult. I don’t know why but my legs were as sore as hell and then as the kilometres went up Lisa and I played a game of which body part doesn’t hurt.

Hurting was doable but I got a headache and then I started feeling sick and that’s when I stopped. We were hallucinating by this stage so I don’t know if I did 60 or 58 or 59. I could have possibly finished but I would have limped to the finish and I thought I was having a stroke so I thought I’m a gunna stop there.

How often have you exercised so hard that you have hallucinated? I actually think, (now that I’m back in my safe house and not out there anymore), exercising so hard that you hallucinate is a bit cool. You wouldn’t want to do it every day obviously and you wouldn’t want to do it until you get body failure but talk about test yourself to your limits. That’s what I used to like about long distance running, the mind games that go on and Luke was a very interesting person to talk to about that.

My hallucination, and I’m not even sure that’s the right word, certainly my thinking was altered, was that I could not accept that we had rowed as far as we had. So sixty kilometres kept being six kilometres in my head and I was chuckling to myself thinking that I was so tired and that was fair enough because six kilometres on a rower is ridiculous. We’d never gone that far back in the gym, Normally for a WOD you might do 200 or 400 metres or a kilometre if it was a big one. (We had actually when we did our half marathon but crazy hallucination Trish forgot all about that). So I was proud of doing 6 kilometres! Then sanity would pop in and say Trish you’ve done 53 kilometres not six. You’ve done fifty kilometres 5 and an 0 not just six. I had to tell myself that over and over again.

By the way when you get to 50 kilometres on a rower it goes back to zero, there’s a fun fact for you. Luke said no-one had done 50 kilometres on these rowers and Lisa did it first and I did it second. Now I need to find out if anyone has done it at CFNA and if they haven’t I will have done something that hardly anyone else has done. That has to be worthy of Athlete of the year.

Lisa knows when I’m getting tired or crook because I stop talking. My primary school teachers told me that I could talk under water. I’ve always been kind of proud of that comment. I stopped talking when we walked to Adelaide and it was the last 12 kms and I did it for this row. It’s like talking becomes way too much effort.

On these adventures I get to meet the most interesting people. So there was Jess who came and told me all about Cystic Fibrosis and she went and got me some electrolytes, I loved Jess. Erin came and told me about life in the military and big choices she has made. Luke had a dozen tales of endurance activities that he’s done and I seriously love endurance tales. We were entertained by cheeky children and children who wanted to impress. I saw a baby who was so ridiculously comfortable and serene in her mother’s arms I could have watched that face all day. Her mother very kindly brought her over and she even gave me a smile at one point. Before that I had been watching her brother who chatted away to his mother. The mother wasn’t on a mobile phone while he talked and he wasn’t on an electronic gadget. He also wasn’t going to need speech therapy like a lot of my students when he starts school. I saw beautiful dogs and how their owners obviously adored them and then there was Kelly.

Kelly had a vibe to her that you just knew she was fun. Kelly was seated opposite our rowers on a bike. First she had done a 5km Park Run then just popped in to do 65km on an exercise bike. It took Kelly 90 minutes to ride 65 kms and in all of that time she did not stop smiling, chatting to people or making facebook entries. Kelly was awesome. She kept waving to Lisa and me and cheering us on. I loved Kelly.

Lisa and I talked about going through the ‘wall’ when you exercise and in marathons I used to get one wall. During this conversation Luke was rowing next to us and he said in his 24 hour events he got six walls. I don’t know how many I got during this event it was at least three. The first one made me stumble a bit until I remembered the only way through it was to keep going. I was distraught to get another one and then by the third I was thinking oh really, another wall, please, let’s not waste my time. Lisa said she got a couple too and we got our first ones at roughly the same mileage about 53 kms in.

There’s a mental aspect to all of these challenges for me. Mental does not necessarily mean good or bad it is what it is. So there are two mental aspects to my doing these challenges. One is recent one is a little older. The first concerns my gym.

My gym made me athlete of the year. Ever since I got this award I’ve been trying to be worthy of it. I rock up to training unless I’m pretty well dead. I encourage people. I look after the newbies. I go to the hero wods and I clean up when I can, but always I’m thinking is this enough? I try not to whinge 24/7, I’ve got it down to maybe 12/7. Actually Sam gave me this great quote – No whinge, no whine, no complain: It pretty much means that whatever you do just do it and don’t give your energy to your injuries or your poor health or how you feel on the day just do the workout as best you physically can. It stops you thinking too much of the negative stuff and keeps you focussed. I have found it useful. Ok back to being Athlete of the year. To me this was a very big award to get and I wanted to be worthy of it, so Lisa suggesting these challenges and me doing them makes me think that ok I’m Athlete of the Year material.

The second reason is a little darker. My Government has spent thousands of dollars to make me well when I was sick. I feel obliged now to have a huge life because they gave me a second chance. I don’t want all those nurses and doctors and expensive surgeries and tests going to waste. I can’t repay my medical treatment but perhaps I can show them I was worth the cash. Maybe crazy thinking but that is my thinking.

Ok back to lighter stuff. It’s pretty cool that I can row for seven and a half hours. I didn’t train for it I just rocked up, sat down and started rowing. I brought a cushion and I had snacks. Jess very kindly went and found me electrolytes in the flavour I like. I didn’t even get cramps. My God people is this what Sam the coach calls be ready fitness or ready for anything fitness, it’s something like that.

Doing these challenges makes you feel alive. It stops life being hum drum. I just love them.

 

Thank you for reading, catch you next time.

Blog 14 Buddy Dazzles.

Buddy's training

I have had many dog heroes, Greyfriars Bobby, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Black Bob. Buddy is rapidly becoming one of my heroes and so is Ozcorp K-9. In three lessons he is a different dog and I am a different handler. It is little short of miraculous.

I went into today’s lesson wanting to dazzle Ryan the trainer but we were half way through the lesson and I looked at all that Buddy was doing and I thought I’m dazzled. You clever, clever dog you! Despite my inability to time the praise and the reward or the correction right he is flying through his lessons like nothing else.

So let me tell you about today. I had definitely set this dog up for success. We did our muzzle homework and we did the homework in a number of different settings so he wasn’t used to just having the muzzle on when we were in the kitchen for example. I went to our oval and put the muzzle on there. I went to the vets and put the muzzle on there. So when we got to Ozcorp K-9. I had a fair chance of success but you never know until it’s ShowTime. Put the muzzle on I said to Buddy. He paused, he thought about it, I gave him a moment. Put the muzzle on I said a little more strictly maybe in my tone, I don’t know something was different but blow me down with a feather he put that beautiful face of his in the muzzle. I buckled the muzzle up, not too loosely and we walked around and then I took it off and it was a lovely, lovely feeling. I don’t know if Ryan said he was happy or if he said well done. He said something nice but I couldn’t concentrate because in my head was – BUDDDEEEE you did it!!!! All the while staying calm of course.

There were more miracles. I had two tall blokes walking past us, doing star jumps, yelling hello, jogging past us and while Buddy didn’t like it he looked to me for reassurance and that was it. They have trained him to look to me for reassurance, how clever is that? But wait there’s more.

Now I need a drum roll for this and you better be sitting down. Without Buddy wearing a muzzle both men came up and shook my hand and Buddy stayed in a sit position. They even did it a couple of times. My God people, it was a flipping miracle.

My heart was racing while they did that so I need to work on getting my nerves better. My nerves are a hundred percent better than when we started and because I have been shown what to do if Buddy reacts then I’m cool about it. I feel prepared. It’s a wonderful training system, I just got nervy not knowing whether to watch them or watch Buddy.

We have started to work on Buddy standing on a table for when he goes to the vet. Dog training at this place is just clever. There are tricks and tips to doing everything. Sometimes I slap myself on the forehead and think why didn’t I think of that?

The only thing I have to watch now is not getting complacent. Buddy still has the capacity to do what he used to do but as long as I am vigilant I know what to do. Pretty cool hey?

I want to share one last thing that has made my day and possibly week and possibly year. Ryan said today that he could see Buddy and I coming to group class. So how about that folks? No longer are we pariahs, somebody is willing for us to join them. I am incredibly grateful to Ozcorp K-9.

Thank you for reading, catch you next time.