Fiona 12 months- Bon Voyage!

Fiona has moved on with her job in life.  Today she is going to the state prison to be finish up her training.

Close It

I have to say that I have really enjoyed puppy raising her and am afraid I'm going to be disappointed with all the future dogs I puppy raise.  She is bossy, high drive, and loves to work.  She is athletically built and has all the makings to be a great sports dog.  I even taught her an awesome 2o2o on the aframe and dogwalk, although she hasn't done the full obstacle yet!
Unfortunately the drive that I love could make it difficult to place her as a service dog.  The majority of clients on our waiting list want and need a much calmer dog.  The life for most service dogs isn't an active on the go job.  Most public outings consist of the dog doing long stays under a table at a restaurant, a conference table, the pew at church...  While her love to work would be a great use as a mobility dog, most people do not keep dropping pens all day long.  Luckily for her, Fiona has a great nose and a huge love for the scent work games we play for diabetic alert work.  This broadens up her pool of potential clients, giving her the greater potential of finding someone with a more active lifestyle. 

One of the reasons she is going to prison is so she can continue diabetic alert training.  She is doing fantastic with the start I have given her, but now she is ready for the next stage of doing more random "real life" low scents rather than in the context of a training session.  With my schedule I am unable to work on that in the home and prison life can easily provide that next step of training for her.

The next stage for Fiona is not a guarantee that she will make it through the program.  Fiona still has to pass her xrays and CERF tests, as well as behavioral.  While her behavioral issues of being a submissive wuss has continued to improve  and there are no longer any episodes of self doubt occurring at home, the issue still lurks.  Currently, Fiona will only cower if she has to go to the bathroom.  At those times, any command given other than walking nicely and waiting at a door has the potential to cause her to flatten herself and then pee if pushed.  The issue is non existent if I simply potty her before any training session or just keep an eye on the clock.

Vito won't miss her.  But he does a great job of tolerating her, and if stuck in a close space with her, such as the car or cubicle, he even lets her do a tiny bit of cuddling.  Lance seems to like her but doesn't play with her much anymore.  He definitely hates how rough she plays.

I was organizing her videos and came across this one from January when she was 9 months.  What a nut!

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( April 6, 2012 at 8:48 AM )  

Good luck to Fiona! If she didn't make the program for whatever reason (CERF or something small; one of the seeing eye dogs didn't make it for being half an inch too tall) do you get the option of keeping her? I hope she finds a happy partnership with lots of action.

Dawn  – ( April 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM )  

Laura, someday I would love to hear about what work you do to start training for a diabetic alert dog. Magic has twice tried to tell me when I was low, I would like to figure out how to encourage that, sadly when I AM low I am too out of it to reinforce it at the time. The first time he did it I think I yelled at him because I didnt know what he was doing, the second time I wasnt as badly confused and understood. Is there a way to encourage this?

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( April 6, 2012 at 5:50 PM )  

Amy- If she fails I do have the option of keeping her. In some ways it would be very tempting as I can totally see doing dog sports with her. But she still has that lab personality I'm not the biggest fan of, and I know 3 dogs is my current limit at this point in my life. so keeping Fiona would mean the end of fostering and delaying my future toller puppy even further. Obviously I've thought about it, I just don't see myself actually signing the papers.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( April 6, 2012 at 5:51 PM )  

Dawn- I'll send you an email, and if I forget then hound me at the trial next weekend! Actually hound me either way so I can talk to you more in depth about it!

Mango  – ( April 7, 2012 at 6:15 AM )  

I swear that labs have extra springs in their legs. They seem uniquely skilled at doing a vertical from a dead stop. Good luck to Fiona in her new life.

Mango Momma

achieve1dream  – ( April 14, 2012 at 7:07 AM )  

I hope she makes it!! She definitely sounds like a dog who needs a job. She will calm down as she gets older I'm sure. :D

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