We are on a steady training diet of classroom obedience, tracking at the park, and public indoor tracking. All of us in the class, AND the dogs, are EXHAUSTED! We are hanging in there for graduation, which is Friday, 4/11! Today, Alec had a very behavioral/meltdown kind of day and we couldn't practice outdoor tracking at the park. However, we did well in the morning with indoor tracking at Wal-Mart in their Health & Beauty department :)
We have come to the conclusion that the tethering feature (which allows us to connect Alec to his dog) is not going to be practical in many of the situations we hoped for, due to Alec's size/strength and determination to pull Rafi so much that it's counterproductive. For things like a walk in the park, where everyone is pretty much going in the same direction, it should work just fine. For public places like the mall, where Alec is overstimulated by the environment, it's not going to work. These are times I wish I had done this service dog thing when he was 4 years old instead of 9. Hindsight is definitely 20/20...
The great news? Here's what Rafi CAN do, and it's worth a million bucks to our family: search and rescue (tracking by scent), behavior disruption, calming techniques, and (newly added) seizure alert.
Here are some photos from the past few days: