This month I made an effort to take Alpine out in public more. She has had limited exposure to a number of public places since I started raising her due COVID lockdown. Alpine went to her first restaurant and maintained a down for a couple of hours with only a couple of breaks. She quickly settled and seemed to enjoy watching the other patrons. I was surprised at how well she took everything in stride as this was far removed from our normal routine.

Additionally, she accompanied me to my second COVID vaccine which involved us taking public transit and walking with several dozen people. Alpine loves people and a couple months ago she would have pulled to go see everyone that we passed. Although she is not perfect, the improvement that she has made is tremendous. I have been working on having her check in when she encounters a situation she is unsure of. This can be when we are walking by people or other dogs or when she hears a strange noise. She still gets a little skip in her step when someone tells her how cute she is but I am pleased with how she is progressing.

This month was also our first in person training class since Alpine was about 10 weeks old. Although she did struggle to maintain her focus at time with so many other fun dogs around her, it was a great opportunity for her to learn to ignore her surrounds and focus on her handler. It was also wonderful to get some feedback from our puppy trainer and we both learned areas we have to improve on.

Our life isn’t all training and work as we did take a day trip to the mountains this month. The water was flowing a little too fast to get too close to the water but there were lots of new sights and smells for her to take in. It also involved one of our longest car tips to date.

This month was the start to introducing Alpine to what service dog life is, should she choose that as her career path. In an effort to set her up for success and not overwhelm her too much, I will continue to introduce her to new situations slowly while paying attention to the signs that she is giving. Alpine has been a joy to raise and train and I’m looking forward to the next month with this mini girl.

Submitted by: Stephanie