Day 42
This morning the puppies ate breakfast in the cold, pouring rain. Creating Positive Conditioned Emotional Responses (+CER =happy feelings) to rain and standing water is essential for assistance dogs who may be placed on the “Wet Coast”.
Some of our dogs struggle with going out in the rain or stepping in puddles. This is problematic for a client, as their assistance dog needs to be ready to get up and go despite the weather, and a service dog who tries to dart around a puddle can injure a client. Creating +CERs to water now helps to avoid these problems later on.
The puppies didn’t bat an eye, which is an interesting factor of +CERs – the puppies don’t have to – in fact, they shouldn’t – experience any fear or discomfort in order to create those automatic happy feelings. So this morning’s activity was a success.
We’ll repeat an exposure to rain if possible once more (or possibly use a sprinkler if not), and do a couple repetitions of a “puddle” (likely water in a cookie sheet, which also creates a +CER to walking on metal), and because of how rapidly the puppies are learning, hopefully they’ll have lifelong happy rain feelings.