It has been a LONG process training our dog to become a Service Dog. I wish I could go back and redo a lot of it because there were so many mistakes made. But I can not go back and the hard truth is, Raven has a long way to go before she can be considered “service” worthy. We have not given up on her training.
For a while, it seemed as though it was not going to work at all between these two. Their bond did not come easily and was not second nature at all to either of them. I refused to “force” them to bond. I am not even sure if that would be possible. Somewhere over the last couple of months, these two have created their own bond. It is becoming a strong one.
If Reine is gearing up for a meltdown, Raven will do everything she can to lay on top of Reine to hep calm her. She will not leave her side until she knows she is calm again. If Reine gets sick or has a CVS flare up, Raven will NOT leave her side until she completely feeling better or over the flare up. Reine has started calling Raven to everywhere she is in the house. I often find them together Raven keeping a protective stance or eye on her.
Reine has begun to tell her she loves her and to hug and kiss her. This is completely new treatment towards Raven.
Reine has a very large and hefty fear of doctor’s appointments. If she has to have blood work or a vaccine, it is almost crippling. Anxiety will set in, to the point that she experiences panic attacks and causes herself to vomit, have loose stools, and even shake uncontrollably. This is something we have been working through together for almost 2 years now. It has been a slow process. But we have it down to a science now.
I start about 2 weeks before any appointment and begin to talk to her about what they will be doing and what she can expect from this appointment. We decide who else will be coming with her to the appointment besides myself (sometimes her oldest sister has to be there for extra moral support).
We spend the week before the appointment going over everything several times a day until the day of the appointment. By everything, I mean everything. From who will be with her that day, to how we will be checking in, to who she see that appointment. If she is seeing a nurse first, then she is prepped for the intake and everything the nurse will do. If the doctor is seeing her as well, she is prepped for what the doctor will be doing. If she needs blood work or a vaccine, BUZZY is with us and she knows exactly what is going to happen step by step.
- What time we will get up that day.
- What outfit she will wear.
- Who will be with her that day other than Mommy?
- What time we will be leaving for the appointment.
- Where the doctor’s office is located.
- What this particular appointment is for.
- How we will be checking into the office.who she see that appointment. I
- Who she see at that appointment, doctor, nurse, both.
- If she is seeing a nurse only, then she is prepped for the intake and everything the nurse will do. Taking her height measurements, weighing her, checking her body temp, checking her blood pressure and pulse ox. Asking her and I questions.
- If she is seeing the nurse for intake and the doctor after, she is prepped for what the doctor will be doing. Asking her questions, pushing on her tummy, listening to her heart, listening to her lungs, shining the light into her eyes, nose, and ears.
- If she needs blood work or a vaccine, BUZZY is with us and she knows exactly what is going to happen step by step before we get there.
Letting her know what is going to happen is crucial for Reine. She needs to have her million and one questions answered and her fears validated and calmed before we even enter the doctor’s offices. It is how she is learning that these appointments are needed to help keep her healthy and that together, we can conquer her fears together.