I’m 11 months old now, and I weigh 75 lbs. I’m the “tall kid” in class, and most people think I’m older than I am. But Chris says, “he’s still just a big puppy. “

It seemed like the nice fall weather was never going to end. Which meant some extra special trips and training opportunities for me this month.

It started with a camping trip with friends – two-legged and four-legged ones. While I wasn’t too crazy about being on a leash or being tethered to a tree the entire time…Cathy said, “rules are rules.” That’s ok. As a service dog in training, I do get to go to a lot of places where no other dogs are allowed. It’s a big part of my training because I need to be able to behave calmly and stay focused on the person holding my leash in all kinds of situations – no matter what’s going on around me. Cathy and Chris continue to amaze me with how many fun places they take me.

On the way home from camping, we stopped at the Adams River to watch the annual salmon spawning run. The local volunteers make it very educational, and kids are bussed in from all over, so there were about a million kids running through the forest there. I love kids and was really hoping for some pets, but the teachers explained to them why they were not allowed to pet the cute service dog in training. Bummer.

Since more of my puppy classes were in person (I should say “in dog” really) this month…PADS organized one of my puppy classes to be at the Vancouver Aquarium. So I and a bunch of other PADS puppies and their raisers met up there to practice staying focused around unusual distractions. It was really hard (so many kids!), but I think I did ok. What I don’t understand is why the seals got to focus on ME, but I had to ignore them. Didn’t seem fair somehow.

Cathy gave a presentation called “What it’s Really Like to Raise a Service Dog Puppy” to a local group. Chris came to help out too, but I may be bragging about myself a bit. I was the star of the show. I rested quietly on my bed for most of the time…unless Cathy was showing off the “service dog” behaviours I know. Cathy gave me lots of praise, and I overheard her say to Chris as we were driving home, “Whew! He didn’t pee on the floor!”. Um, I think I’m past that!

And we had a pre-Halloween class! The trainers and most of the dogs dressed up, and we played games like “bobbing for dog treats.” An important part of the class was getting us puppies prepared for trick-or-treaters coming to our homes…and fireworks and firecrackers. So…class was crazy fun…and LOUD! When it comes to loud noises, Cathy says I’m “bombproof,” and fireworks don’t bother me one bit. That is a good thing too. Halloween was super noisy and busy at our house.

I’ve been working hard learning patience, calmness, focus and some of the special skills services dogs need to know….but it’s sure been a lot of fun too. I hope you are looking forward to November as much as I am!

Submitted by: Cathy Demers and Chris Wright