The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bo Meets Other Service Dogs in Training

We've got a boy and his pup who love the snow.
The recent snow has provided the perfect winter wonderland for walks in the woods. On our most recent trek, we encountered two women with three Labrador Retrievers who are training to be service dogs.

I had briefly met one of the woman during a socialization outing with Bo at Lowe's, so it was a serendipitous event to run into her again on our walk. Bo, the smallest of the four, romped and played with the larger pups, while we talked with these two lovely woman about their work with Guiding Eyes for the Blind dogs.

One of the woman observed Bo relieving himself and commented on how it was good that he didn't lift his leg. She told us that Guiding Eyes dogs must not lift their legs when relieving themselves. I also learned that their pups earn their service dogs vests at six months and at that time they start more intense socialization training. Our encounter came at the end of the trail, so our walk together was brief but we will likely meet up again with the pups for more walks in the future.

Following our outing, I took Bo to puppy play group for more exercise and play. The play group provides a safe environment for young dogs to interact with other pups and learn how to listen to and respond appropriately to dog feedback. I take Bo to this one hour session twice a week and it has been fascinating to watch his development.

After puppy play group, we went over to Home Depot where we practiced loose leash walking with the distractions of strangers and unusual sounds and sights. Bo was tired at this point and I found this was a plus when it came to the loose leash walking. It was an extremely positive experience in terms of people respecting his working status. Many people walked by and commented to each other he was working. There was one HD employee who did ask me if I had permission to be in the store with a dog. I confidently answered him yes and then he proceeded to ask me who gave me permission. I cited NH RSA 167:D (trainers of service animals). He then told me (in a question like way) that I was going to pick up any mess the dog had. My answer to him was a strong "absolutely." That seemed to satisfy him and he stopped asking questions.

I really wanted to tell him that by speaking to me, he was interrupting the training session and thus prolonging our time in the store but I didn't. We were on our way after about 10 minutes in the store and when we got home, Bo was ready for a long nap.

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