Oh my, what a month it’s been! I’m just shy of 6 months old, it’s springtime, the world is full of new things to explore, and I’m learning a lot.
April was a full-on training month. Learning to quietly walk beside Cathy or Chris while keeping my nose off the ground (a service dog skill) has been a big challenge, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’m still a puppy but
I’m figuring out that when I have my service vest on, it’s time to work, and I have to be especially good and focused. I’m also working on coming when called (bits of hot dogs as a reward are helping with this), but Chris says I’ve got “sit” and “bed” completely nailed. I’m also learning to be quiet and chill out when Cathy or Chris are busy – another hard, but very important, service dog behavior to master. Cathy was so proud of me when I rested quietly on my bed while she was visiting a friend in the hospital. Everyone there was very surprised to see a 6-month-old puppy so quiet and well behaved. I have my moments 🙂
It’s important, as a service dog in training, that I can adjust to new surroundings without stressing out. So, I spent a few days on a “working holiday” with other puppy-raisers this past month. One had a lovely Vizsla named Ruby, and the other had a PADS stud dog named Zegen. I loved it. It was like having a big sister and a big brother to horse around with.
Speaking of horsing around, one of the highlights of April was seeing (and smelling!) horses for the first time. Cathy’s always looking for new things to introduce me to. The horses seemed to like me, but Cathy said I had to keep my distance for now. If you check out the photo, you’ll see that she had me wear a gentle leader on that particular walk. The bridle path was covered with fresh horse poop, and I simply could not keep my nose out of it. You might think that’s gross, but I’m a dog. I think it’s divine!
It may seem rather un-lab-like, but I have an aversion to walking through puddles. Why get your feet wet when you can just walk around? Cathy says that’s a no-go for a service dog. Turns out, playing with other dogs at the beach has me running through the tidepools so fast I hardly notice they are really big puddles. Peer pressure works.
Life is good…keep smiling!
Submitted by: Cathy Demers & Chris Wright