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Assistance Dogs Getting my groove back Journey

A Mobility Harness for Journey

Now that Journey has been officially cleared by the orthopedic veterinarian to begin mobility training, it is clear that the equipment we currently have is woefully inadequate for the job. When I was partnered with Karma, I had no need for special harnesses or gear because she was tall enough and strong enough to simply use her body for bracing and counterbalance and to help steady me as I walk. Journey however is half her size and several inches shorter. The current equipment that he has is fine for light counterbalance, but will not serve for any bracing which I need with my bad hip (I am currently walking with assistance of a cane) and since it has a floppy handle, it will not help with any balancing when I get dizzy and have difficultly walking straight and upright.

We have done our research into the various harnesses on the market and the only one developed with help of an orthopedic vet and guaranteed to be safe for longterm use by the dog and disabled handler is the Bold Lead Designs Mobility Support Harness. The harness is light enough for Journey to wear all day while working, and stable enough to provide all the support I need. The harness is built to last for decades, so this will not only be Journey’s harness, but any successor dog that comes after him will also be able to use this harness, so while the original purchase price is steep, I will have many years of use out of it and it is the best option for us in the longterm.

You can see the harness and how it works in the video above.

Our new harness should arrive around the first week of September – we’re excited to begin training with it!

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Assistance Dogs Journey Training Journal

We’re slaying dragons, one day at a time!

PROGRESS – the kiosk that spooked Journey last week has been conquered! After he spooked the other night, we sat on the sidewalk in front of it, and I had him practice STEP UP on the little step in front of the kiosk. Every time he did, even if he was clearly afraid, I gave him lots of praise and yummy treats. We did that for about 15 minutes or so. Today we passed by that kiosk on the way to the bank, and instead of veering wide to avoid it, which is what he usually does, he ran right over (almost tipped me in the process) and plopped his feet up on that step and turned and looked at me like “Did I do good mom, huh huh? CHEESE??” – So proud ♥

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Assistance Dogs Journey Training Journal

Out On The Town

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Journey was AMAZING today! He laid down and settled nicely at the post office (last time he was there, he was too nervous to even do a down – too much activity and noise for him) and then he was FABULOUS in the big busy supermarket that he did poorly in a week ago, and then he was great in the kiosk. Beautiful calm heeling all the way everywhere today. Even when there were distractions he recovered focus quickly and was on the ball today! He’s shaping up to be a wonderful assistance dog someday!