Training & yes Pixie YES!


This post doesn’t have pics and is just about training – ye have been warned!

This past week I’ve really begun working in earnest with Pixie…recall, look at me, touch, up, off, this way, fast sits, focusing around distractions etc etc etc.

Today we had the best walk EVER!

I decided that Pixie was ready to walk into town, in the day time. She had her Julius K9 with the ‘Don’t Pet Me’ pacthes, an IN TRAINING lead, and two patches which said ‘KEEP YOUR DISTANCE’ and ‘IN TRAINING’. I also had our new carry bag, which is much deeper than the pupoose.

We set off, and at the end of our road there were four big noisy trucks (the main road is closed for 12 weeks so there’s a lot of roadworks going on) half a dozen workmen to go with that, and then about 20ft ahead of that, there was a group of five workmen cutting down a giant tree, noisily.

We walked to about 60ft, me watching Pixie’s body language closely. We got so close without her being anxious, but there was no way I was risking her walking through it all (for starters she’d have to climb through a foot-high heap of branches lying across the road!), so I picked her up and carried her through in her bag.

After passing it all we crossed to the other side of the road and I knelt to let her out. We walked along a narrow pavement all the way into town – I had to pull her right against the wall at one point as a lorry was approaching, and she hadn’t moved in on cue. I felt bad as she hates that, but we bounced back.

Town was teeming with people – people of ages, all ethnicites, people with crutches, shopping, prams. My partner went into Co-op to buy us all some water, and me and Pixie went to the square – a large open square with a dozen benches and lots of room to people watch.

We walked about, practiced cues, walked to heel by people on benches etc. Just to the left of us the fires station was being renovated so lots of noise going on there, workmen etc. AWESOME!

My partner joined us and then this awful gobby woman who we kind-of-but-not-really-at-all know as she works at Co-op, walked past and started cooing at Pixie, then said “‘Don’t pet me’ – what’s that mean?!” UUUUUGH!

I was getting Pixie to focus on me and rewarding her (yaaaay) and immediately moved us away.

My partner told the woman she was nervous and scared of strangers. The person continued to call to Pixie, so me and Pixie moved as far away as possible, which meant having to stand next to the fire station and stand on a narrow road where cars were driving >__<

Eventually the woman buggered off (after still calling to Pixie from 50ft away!!!) and my partner came and joined us. He said the woman was an absolute dick, and had said “well she’s going to need socialisation, why don’t you bring her over so I can say hi?”

Anyway, I digress.

We walked past the GP surgery then I picked Pixie up for the 30 second walk through all the shops, as that was just *too* busy! Picking up is the one thing we really, really need to work on as she still doesn’t like it, and sometimes it needs to happen quickly.

We went into our local pet shop with Pixie still in her bag and checked out the aisles. We chose a small knobbly ball for her, and I knelt to see if she wanted to come out, she did.

She wandered about, my partner went to pay, we explored by the till, and she walked out the door herself!

We followed the roads, passing people and waiting at the roadside until released, and walked down the road to our vets. They were having the carpark leveled so more workmen and noise!

Pixie and I waited outside whilst my partner went in (if the waiting room was quiet we were just going to nip in, give treats, then leave) but there were three upset cats in there AND a receptionist we don’t like, so we just walked back home.

By the train station a train had come in and the narrow pavements towards home were busy, plus Pixie was tired, so I bagged her (hahaha) and carried her the rest the way back.

So that went really really well!! ^__^

Here’s a pic from about ten minutes after we got back haha

Pixie is helping me more than I can ever say – the past two days I’ve gone out on my own to walk her, which is something I normally can’t ever do, but especially when my psychosis / mood is bad 🙂

And her increase in training, confidence, and focus is just immense! So happy!!

My kind-of-maybe-plan is for Pixie to be my emotional support dog. In the UK you can’t get psychiatric service dogs OR emotional support dogs, but a site called Dogs for Depression does give tips on how to have an ‘unofficial’ support dog.

With Pixie I’d love to get one bit further, so she could perform a few tasks when out that would help (nothing much), so she’d be more of a PSD but I wouldn’t take her in anywhere a ‘normal’ dog couldn’t go.

Initially I had plans to do something similar with Raiden, when he was a puppy, but he doesn’t have the right temperament…he’s bombproof, but his impulse control & patience are always a struggle for him, and he wants to make friends with everyone!

Pixie has the advantage that I can pick her up and bag her, meaning we have close contact support, and she has zero interest in people and focuses wonderfully on me.

I’m furious that there is no body in the UK that recognises how helpful dogs can be to people with psychiatric illnesses…today I went into town, as busy as it gets, and I had such little anxiety. I’ve been able to go out alone several days this week. It’s incredible!

Yet Pixie can’t classify as an ESA…

Regardless I have a service-dog-style vest on the way for her from this etsy shop, just like the one below but without those patches.

I have two patches coming from America (why are there no assistance dog patches in the UK?!), one reads “I’m working – do not distract” and the other “working dog in training”. Then on ebay I found two ‘STOP’ patches which will be a nice bonus.

Anything that might stop utter morons from approaching us, talking to me etc, especially if I might eventually be able to go more places on my own, will be a huge help!


4 thoughts on “Training & yes Pixie YES!

  1. Ah this is honestly the best. What an awesome trip out and she done so well 😀 If someone told me when you first got Pixie that she would be able to cope with an outing like that so soon after getting her I would’ve been like no way not a chance but here yous are! Your training and patience and Pixie’s resiliency to her past and her trust in you is just the most awesome combination ❤
    I can't wait to see her all geared up, she will be the most adorable helper dog ever. I totally agree that it's such a shame we don't recognise support dogs over here. I went through some bad periods of depression before Bonnie and some less severe ones with Bonnie and the difference they can make is huge – they give us purpose in our day and unconditional love and company especially when others can sometimes find it hard to be around someone with depression as they don't know what to say or do etc. I'll check out that website you mentioned.
    It's my dream in future to be able to bring Bonnie to my work or else do all my work from home (currently work in both office and home)

    • Ahhh thank you!!

      I think I’ve said to my partner almost a dozen times today either “could you have imagined doing that walk with Pixie a few months ago?” or “did you ever think it’d be Pixie who helps my BP so much?!” he must be so sick of me haha, good to talk to others who also understand 😀

      She is an absolute star. I honestly can’t believe how much she has changed, and it’s like a switch has been flipped this past week…she’s so eager and confident. I swear a week back we still had difficulty walking past people on the other side of the road, and today we were in town on a busy day!!

      Ah I’m sorry to hear that, depression is awful and really takes it’s toll on you and your family ❤ The Dogs for Depression site does have some good info about renting houses and on their FAQ page. The training session is about being a pack leader unfortunately but other than that I've found it helpful.

  2. Pixie’s a marvel! So good she did so well – and good for you that you did so well, too! There will always be morons wherever you go -, although your town seems to be quite full of them! I’m glad you visit went well and you are planning for more – it will help all of you!

  3. It’s such an odd thing we don’t have emotional support dogs over here, obviously we’ve had them for the blind and diabetics etc for years and we’ve known all the scientific studies for years that state animals can help relieve stress. We’ve all been there, I’ve never suffered from any mental illness but just when grieving deaths of family members it has been the chance to cuddle one of my pets that has helped me cope the most. Maybe it will come in the future as mental disorders seem to be getting more and more recognition recently as actually being real and not just an easy way into disability benefits. I’m so glad Pixie is helping you so much (and you her of course)

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