I Try to be Prepared…

… but sometimes I’m less prepared than others. Like during our Public Access Recertification Test last Saturday. We had practiced and practiced the things we did poorly on last year. But I had the wrong time for our test, and we were late. OMG – I was just mortified!

But I tried to put that behind us, and just concentrate on what we needed to do.

I got her out of the car safely and appropriately. Then we went into the Columbiana Mall, and the first thing I did was not give Emmy enough leash, so when I told her to “Wait,” she was forced to try to crowd in with me. OOPS! I realized it, and gave her more leash. Yikes! I had also forgotten to tell them Emmy had “done business” just before we rushed into the car at the hotel to get there and didn’t need to “go” right then. Yikes! Again!

Well, first was the Recall test – Emmy had to be left in a “Down-Stay” then called from 6 feet, and again from 20 feet, bringing her leash to me each time. She was picture perfect! Whew! I reached into the treat bag – OOPS, again! I had forgotten to put any of the “high value” treats into the pouch!! In fact, I was running a little low on treats in the pouch! So I had to be sparing when giving her treats. Probably just as well in terms of her weight and nutrition status (although I was pleased at out last visit to see she is still, at 58.2 pounds, within 3 pounds of her weight when we became partners).

Then through a store that had an elevator – or two! My daughter-in-law (my “pusher!”) did the elevator bit just fine, and so did Emmy. She “Waited,” then went “Through” and sat down in the elevator, then “Moved” out of the way of my wheelchair! We went up one very small elevator, and came down another, very slightly larger, elevator with a “panorama.” We wandered through the store checking that I controlled Emmy, preventing her from “sniffing the merchandise.”

Later she had to demonstrate how she picks up things for me. She was perfect, again!! In fact, the testers (all 4 of them) were so intrigued, they threw down more things of different sizes, shapes and textures for her to retrieve! But the joke was on them – Emmy retrieved them all, and brought them to ME. So I had to sort out who had tossed out what and deal out the items to the right people!

In the food court we demonstrated how she can restrain herself when tempted and even teased with food (she was shaking and drooling, but she maintained restraint). She went “under” the table (as best she could – small mushroom tables with “X” feet), and stayed there until allowed up. SUCH a good girl!

Emmy did all kinds of things – brought things to people, went “Under” a bench I was sitting on, “Braced” to help me stand, resisted temptation when other people offered her food, remained calm as people stepped over and walked close to her and when not just 1 or 2 but FIVE children all came up at the same time to pet her! Then she absolutely NAILED the “Target” (pushing the button to open the handicapped door). She “did business” a little on command in the grassy plot by the car, and we got her into the car correctly and safely.

All was well!

We went to a high tension lunch, while all the testers gathered at a separate table (along with the head of the PAALS program) and decided our fate. We passed! All of a sudden I had an appetite again!! I have our certificate in hand for 2010-2011! Yea!

Emmy is so smart and so cooperative! How wonderful she is!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanna
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 15:30:39

    Congratulations, Emmy and you, too, Elizabeth!


  2. hearingelmo
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 16:33:22

    Yay for Emmy and Elizabeth!


  3. turtlemom3
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 20:22:06

    Thanks, Ladies! It was an awesome day – And, Denise, I know you know what we were going through. Wonderful pix of you and Chloe on exam day on the Fidos For Freedom website! Despite the expense and the stress (I’m in a full flare at the moment) I’m so glad PAALS (and FFF) recertify regularly for public access! I just heard of one organization (no names!) that doesn’t think it’s important. And I can’t help wondering about the “trained-it-myself” dogs and the dogs trained by individual trainers for people. I’m pretty sure most of them don’t have annual recertification for public access. Some may never have been tested at all! Scary, if you think about it!


  4. Liz
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 15:17:12

    I think most likely the majority of service dogs are not recertified yearly (assuming they even were tested in the first place.) I know guide dogs who never get tested once they are placed with their partners for example.


    • turtlemom3
      Sep 21, 2010 @ 19:40:27

      I know of these, too. But ADI programs are required to recertify their graduates each year.

      I expect this eventually will become the standard for all programs. Those who self-train will probably be required to arrange for certification through an ADI-tester. This is for the protection of the public as well as for our protection. Note the number of people who want to take their snarly little darlings with them wherever they go, and call them service dogs. I predict that IAADP and ADI standards will become universal, and testing will be required. At that point, we will have to show our cards when requested by a store-keeper or restaurant, or bus driver, etc. Or, our dogs will have to wear their certification cards in a special slot on their capes.

      Yes, I know, capes are currently not required by law, but eventually they will be – to carry their certification card, if for no other reason.

      I, personally, believe certification is a good thing, as is wearing a cape. The dogs “know” they are working when their capes are put on – they behave differently – more business-like – when they are wearing them. These dogs are professionals, and like human professionals they will be certified and wear a uniform!

      At least, that is my prediction!


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