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Monday, March 14, 2022

The Hachi chronicle

We continue to move forward with Hachi's training a teeny bit at a time. Since I last wrote an update about him, he has learned to target our trainer's hand and to play the bucket game in an exam room at the vet hospital.


With our trainer, we took advantage of a gorgeous warm day to work entirely outdoors. We started with a warm up walk on the driveway during which our trainer was handing Hachi treats as he walked behind her. Then, we moved to our deck where our trainer played the treat-retreat game with him. This is a game that they've played many times in the past. Over the past few weeks, our trainer has begun sticking her arm out to the side with her palm towards Hachi just before she tosses him a treat. The goal of this was to get him used to her making extraneous movements and to eventually have him touch his nose to her palm. At a particularly relaxed moment in the game, our trainer interjected the cue "touch" which told Hachi to touch his nose to her hand. He did it, and she gave him a treat. They repeated this several times. Hachi being relaxed enough to touch her hand was a concrete step forward!


In that same week, the Runner and I took Hachi to the vet hospital. We had reserved an exam room so that we could get him comfortable in there without being rushed. After he was acclimated to the outside of the vet hospital while wearing his muzzle, we walked him into the exam room. Unexpectedly, there were a lot of excited and happy high-pitched voices coming from the direction of the waiting room. The voices scared Hachi. He reacted by lunging toward the door and making scary barking sounds. We distracted him from the noises by feeding him almost continuous treats. He quickly calmed down and more thoughtfully listened to the voices. In that phase, we gave him treats whenever he looked toward us. After about seven minutes of simply listening and being rewarded with treats, Hachi was ready for a short bucket game. He did very well to focus on the game rather than the noises of the vet hospital. After that success, we quickly headed for the car so we could end on a good note.


For Hachi, these were big steps forward. I must emphasize that we know that this would be very slow progress for a normal dog. However, for our Hachi, it was cause for celebration. A big part of learning to rehab Hachi has been accepting that we need to move at his pace. I no longer focus on the end goal. Rather, I focus on the process and giving Hachi a good life. The goal of having a vet be able to examine him is important but I drive myself crazy if that is all that I focus on.

Because my right arm is in a sling after shoulder surgery, I dictated this. I tried to catch the mistakes but I seem to miss some funny ones every time. Also, I cannot hold a camera so the photos are from a little while ago. I am doing my best to keep moving forward despite not being able to use my right arm or hand.


  1. we are glad for your hachi... and we wish you a super good recovery...

  2. we can never see enough of Hachi's beautiful face, and the puppy shot at the beginning melted my heart to see him with R... so happy he is progressing and sorry you are still dictating. I dictated a blog post yesterday and had a fit of the giggles at some of the things my southern accent cause to to type

  3. Hari OM
    Well, thank heaven for dictation software, I say, else we wouldn't have had this post telling us positive things! YAM xx

  4. Hachi is handsome and I'm glad he's doing well. You go above and beyond for him. As it should be.

    You just get well. Hopefully you'll be back in full swing shortly.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Scritches to the pups and a healing hug to you. ♥

  5. Oh that picture of Hachi as a wee puppy with Black Dog is so sweet.

    I've never tried dictation typing but I can just imagine what might happen. I use my Google mini to add items to my grocery list and my pronunciation must be off because sometimes I can't even figure out what it was that I wanted. :)

    Continued best wishes are you recover and rehab from the surgery.

  6. That is such great news about Hachi. The dictation seems to be going well and we hope all is going well for your rehab.

  7. The sling must be wearing a bit thin by now ( pardon the pun) and the dictation, it all looked so good to me. Hachi, tiny steps forward are always progress. No need to do a gallop. KB, take care as you slowly progress forward too. The best of all, your daylight sunshine will be increasing and getting warmer days and maybe even the nights too.

  8. You're doing fabulous, Hachi, and we love the photo of puppy you and R♥

  9. Imagine having 6 Hachis! I understand that slow process so well. For us, there were goals, but no end game. It was a constant process and took years and years, but oh, it was so worth it.

    So happy you are all making progress. That is all that matters. Especially like what you encountered at the vet. So awesome! We believe in you and Hachi! Take care of yourself and that beautiful boy!

  10. Hey KB thank you for the update. Well done on your dictation and give sweet Hachi and his beautiful Shyla a hug

  11. Your efforts (and Hachi's progress) are both reasons to celebrate. Well done, both of you!

  12. Wow that is a super report! Hachi, you're coming along so well!!

    It's so hard being a patient patient! Hope you can get to your greenhouse with spring on the horizon.

    Chris from Boise

  13. I know you're all really proud of sweet Hachi, we are too!

  14. Hatchi is amazing. All the hard work really is worth it.

  15. Hachi, you are doing fantastic. We would have been scared by the loud noises at the vet too. I am so glad you didn't take a step back when your mom had her operation.

  16. I think you are doing an excellent job!!! Good job with Hachi! Thoughts & prayers for you
    and healing!
    Take care & stay safe,
    Lucy (Troy, Ohio)


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