February 2011
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Yepa’s progress

Это письмо Каролайн написала для тех, кто помогает мне с Йипой. Так как всех помогающих “охватить” не очень легко, — это письмо размещаю здесь тоже.

На английском.

Anton and I wanted to let you know about Yepa’s progress. She has passed
some significant milestones recently, thanks in large part to Anton’s steady
work with her in between our sessions.

Best of all, Yepa seems to be very well and happy these days. Her bond with
Anton is evident – she stays close and keeps an eye out for him wherever she
is. Her ear infections have cleared up, she eats well, her digestion is
healthy, and she is active, playful, and enthusiastic about learning. She
loves to go out with Anton wherever he goes, but she is also happy to lie
around and snooze when there is nothing better to do. She very rarely barks,
and is able to tolerate Anton’s absence, without whining or barking, on the
rare occasions that he has to leave her at home. She has a remarkable
temperament, very calm and accommodating, but she also has a mind of her
own, is intelligent, and appears to have a sense of humor, all of which are
becoming more evident as she becomes more fluent in operant learning
procedures. She loves training, which to her is simply play and a form of
puzzle solving. She often comes to Anton to invite him to get in the game
and teach her something more!

Yepa has now achieved almost all of the training goals we set out for her
when she came to live with Anton. She is most definitely providing
companionship, accompanying Anton wherever he goes, staying close when he is
unwell, nudging him for cuddles, and generally being a great canine friend.
She is well behaved in public, walking nicely on leash next to Anton’s
wheelchair, riding the MAX and taking elevators with no problem. She
understands and enjoys the training process now. It is a joy to see her eyes
light up and the enthusiasm with which she tackling a learning task, where
before she struggled to understand and take risks. As a result, she picks up
new skills more quickly. She can turn on a light switch, press the panel
that opens the front door, and pick up fallen objects and hand them to
Anton. She sits and lies down on cue, comes when called, and offers a paw
whenever she is asked (and even when she isn’t – but that’s another story —
now that she has learned how to do it, it is her favorite trick).

Some of these skills are still in their early stages, for example, she can
pick up soft objects but not objects that are heavy or made of hard
materials. She needs to work on pulling, so she can help with opening doors.
She is working on going to a mat or bed and lying down on cue. She still
gets distracted when she is out and about, so she needs more practice in
performing basic skills in outdoor settings, such as restaurants, stores,
and other places. We are working to build on all of these skills, as well
as prepare Yepa for her Public Access Test.

At the recent rose City Classic Dog Show, Anton and Yepa were guests of the
Standard Poodle Club, and participated in a Meet the Breed event where
people could ask about poodles and learn about the different types of work
they do. This was arranged by Deb Phillips, Yepa’s former owner. Yepa was
very excited to see Deb and one of the dogs she used to live with, but she
was just as happy to leave them and come home with Anton. She clearly knows
this is where she belongs now. Anton and I both felt that her life as a
service dog is bringing out her intelligence more than her old life as a
show dog, and we sense that this is much more satisfying to her.

As always, it continues to be a pleasure for me to work with Yepa and Anton.
I am looking forward to giving you more news of their progress as a working
team in the future.

With best wishes from the three of us, and many thanks for the support you
have given and made possible through fundraising.


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