Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blog Carnival Drawing Winners!

Using the Random Number generator at, I assigned each entry a number in the order that they were posted.  The number generator came up with #2 and then #3; I am excluding myself since I already have both of these items.

So Carrie and khills, you are the winners of the contest!  Carrie gets first choice of the item she would like, and then khills.  There's the Partner Link leash or a treat bag from Cody's Creations or a collar with tag changer from Terri; see the original call for posts for the links.

Please let me know which item you select in comments here, and then when you get a chance to further decide, please email me at fridawrites at gmail com with your color/design and size for the collar, if applicable, as well as your address.

Congratulations, and thanks for participating!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eleventh Assistance Dog Blog Carnival: Resources and Tools

Welcome, readers!  Please enjoy this tour of service dog blogs and explore some of the resources and ideas mentioned. Please give some feedback to the writers if your energies permit; you may wish to visit past ADBC collections if you haven't had the chance to do so.

Thank you to each writer for your blog post--they are all thoughtful, wonderful, and detailed. I for one will be using them; I know others will as well.    

I've categorized the posts by topic; this means some posts are listed in more than one place if they cover multiple topics. Sharon has graced us with two posts, so make sure you don't miss one of them.

I want to make sure I haven't missed anyone before I do the drawing--I plan to do that tomorrow evening!

Friendship and Community

In "If It Weren't for the Internet," Brooke of Ruled by Paws tells us how meeting other guide and service dog teams online has helped benefit her training of Cessna and Rogue.  Whether we self-train or reinforce an organization's work with our dog, the encouragement and tips provided by others help build our confidence and help us feel connected.  Indeed, community may be the most important building block for what we do.

Carrie, awaiting her first service dog, tells us in "Diane Sawyer Arranged for My Service Dog" how an ABC program helped her find Canine Partners for Life (CPL). CPL provides medical alert dogs among other kinds of service dogs. In the meantime, Carrie's family goldendoodle has begun alerting at home. Her story reminds us of the importance of public awareness of service dogs, so that someone who can benefit knows to apply; there's a link to the ABC video so you can watch.

Flo of A Mutt and His Pack has recently had the difficult experience of having to return Strider to his breeder since he was protective in public.  She shows that breeders who care about the needs of service dog owners are important both in selecting a good puppy candidate and for help and placement of the dog if the match doesn't work for public access.

We all know how what enthusiastic workers our dogs can be--sometimes we may feel like a human treat dispenser!  Dogs can start manipulating us for rewards, and we wonder who is training whom.  In "Yes, he can," Patti B of Plays with Puppies describes how another dog trainer helped her to reward at the right time, making public access much easier.   

Nothing is better than seeing our dogs romp and play.  Sometimes we may have the energy to join them, but at other times we need some toys to occupy them while we have more difficulty being active. In "A Spoonie's Guide to Dog Toys," Sharon shows us some food-based toys that will help engage our dogs and also writes about meaty bones and antlers, giving us safety tips. She also provides good information about kibble and what works well in the toys. 

Flo covers additional toys, such as bully sticks, Air Kongs, Chuck Its, and hunting bumpers (great idea!).

Those of us with atypical breed service dogs often experience some grooming challenges complicated by our physical disabilities. Our bloggers give some suggestions that cover basic grooming, doggy stress management, and more complex grooming such as dematting and getting paws trimmed closely.

Khills shares photographs of her beautiful creme golden retriever, Shai, in her impressive post "Grooming My Service Dog Without the Groomer: Using Choice Grooming."  Shai has long, wavy curls requiring attentiveness to keep her looking sharp for public access, especially as she likes to go mud-splashing.  Khills includes videos that show us how to keep your dog calm and stress-free during grooming. If you have someone else help with grooming, you will want to have him or her read this post as well--it's definitely one to revisit for instructions. Her photos are quite a treat!  

Sharon wrote "A Spoonie's Guide to Dog Grooming Tools and Tips," which describes shears, clippers, blades, and de-matters that you will want to know about if you have a heavy-coated or curly-coated dog. Her instructions for these tools are invaluable. She also has a not-to-be- missed video showing many of the tools and what they do, including the Andis Pro-Clipper and TDQ blade. And she gives more tips to help keep your dog relaxed and unstressed.   

In my post, "A Few of My Favorite Things," I've described the Andis Pro and the TDQ blade and how, thanks to Sharon's advice, they have saved us all many hours of misery, stress, and pain.  If you have a dog you need to clip, these are for you!  (You can use a different blade with the Andis if you want your dog's coat longer.)

Flo recommends the Furminator, as does Khills--apparently that is a must-have to look into!

Working Equipment
Karyn of Through a Guide's Eyes has a border collie rather than a golden retriever or a lab.  Border collies' smaller frames make finding equipment that really fits difficult, so she has altered some equipment and made her own. "Essential Creativity" gives us some favorite finds from various companies, including a clicker leash she modified (what a great idea!). Karyn lists a number of sellers whose supplies work well for multiple chemical sensitivity.  If you can dream it, you can make it, or get help making it.

Flo lists a lot of vests, backpacks, and harnesses--there are some cool ones that I've never seen before (I'd like that Combi if I go back to teaching).  Like Karyn, she has had to modify some of the equipment because of her dog's stature. She's also found handles that will work with other brands of backpacks.

In my blog post, I write about a number of leashes that are useful for different purposes.  I also found out about a new one just a few days ago, the Just Ducky leash.  It's a bungee-style leash that also absorbs energy and is water resistant. I didn't notice any strong off-gassing from it--and I am bothered a lot by stronger plastics. Wheelchair users will need a huge carabiner for the ergonomic handle.


These are definitely posts to revisit over time!  Thanks again to Sharon for the opportunity to host; ADBC has helped me start writing again after several years of being unable to.

Please let me know if I've accidentally left out your post or anyone else's or if you have one to include; any oversights are unintentional. Feel free to add other ideas/links to other blog posts in the comments section over time. There are more resources/tools we could cover over time--dog foods, trainers (books and web video), more ideas for challenging behaviors or unusual situations.

ADBC makes Mondays fun! I'm already looking forward to the next one, hosted by Karyn at Through a Guide's Eyes in July.