Because it is my job to rehabilitate patients when i am on the clock. My company does not pay me to train my dog.
For me this is a no brainer. Training a dog is a very focused activity. You have to tune into the way in which your animal is thinking….their motivating factors, their payoffs…the pack dynamic and where your dog is figuring it fits and why. You have to always be paying attention and outsmarting an aussie is not easy. I cant train her up properly and toilet and bathe patients at the same time. To take a dog to work to do self care with the elderly, that dog needs to be bomb proof. Cashew is far from bomb proof. Will she ever be bomb proof? I dont know. She would need to be older and i would have to put the time and work in to train her, and beyond that she would have to have the frequent recurrent opportunity to put to use what she had learned. Cashew is a companion for my dog Sili, a guard dog for the property, and protector of the chickens while i am gone. That is Cashew’s life right now. My coworkers who have herding dogs tell me frequently that she could be such an obedient, at your heel always, type dog if only i took her with me everywhere. Yes, and what would be the motivation to do that? To train her constantly. If you are Cashew’s 24/7 consistent master, giver of jobs, and dispenser of praise…she will be at your beck and call. Also, no one is getting any better or heading towards discharge home, because im busy training a dog. No, i straddle two worlds and for me, i must keep them separate. Cashew stays at home. I get a finite amount of time with these patients and im not going to waste any of it. Cashew has a few jobs but for the most part, she is a companion for my mutt Sili and she keeps the coyotes off her. Sili is not a very dominant personality and when it was just her and i, the coyotes took a lot of liberties coming into the yard around nightfall and stalking her like prey. With Cashew here, she’s not easy pickings any more. That is her main job. She holds down the fort while im gone and for the most part that does give her a big head. She thinks she’s in charge even after i return at times. However, that’s what you get when you straddle two worlds. It is a problem i deal with weekly and it just has to keep being addressed. As long as im not a full time homesteader Cashew is always going to have a big head at times and i cant fault her for that. I wont tolerate it, but i cant be angry about it either. No, cashew holds the space for other dogs in the future. When im fifty and the property is paid off i can work less, homestead more, and train a dog properly and continuously. Cashew is a companion, not a finely tuned working animal. The answer is not to throw her wild and unpredictable self into a toileting activity with a 90 year old suffering a pelvic fracture. She stays with the property.