Hi friends. I’m sorry that I’ve been MIA lately. It’s been tough trying balancing work, family, and time to write these days. But I promise I’ll be more on the ball this week.
… Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to our newest family member. This is Everest. He’s going to be Willys new service dog. This is the second time I’ve gotten to spend some time with him, and he’s just the sweetest little boy you could possibly imagine. I feel like I’m learning a lot about dogs these days, but most importantly… I’m just trying to gear my family up for a new adventure, and that’s not an easy task.
Let me back up a little.
Last week, Everest had his temperament test. It’s a test that all service dogs go through to see what kind of personality they have, and where they fall on the scale of service dog, therapy dog, and house pet. If a dog scores on the low side he/she will make a perfect service dog. If they score in the middle, they’ll make good therapy dog. And if they scored in the high side, they might make a good breeding dog or house pet. Everest scored on the low side, which is fantastic for us! It means that he’s calm and relaxed. He doesn’t expect you to “throw the ball” over and over again, because he really doesn’t care. He’s fine and about every situation, but he’s a little skittish when it comes to loud noises.
That we can work with!
We started our puppy class last night, and let me tell you… it wasn’t easy. The breeder used one of the pups as an example to show us what to do, and how to command the dog with a treat. It’s just like ABA if you ask me. 😉 But when it was my turn to command the dog, I started to sweat. Yes it was hot outside, but because I couldn’t use words, only gestures and treats… it made it doubly hard. It felt like second nature for me to tell Everest to “sit,” but it really wasn’t the words that I was using that made a difference. It was the treat in my hand. Last night, Jason and I got Everest to sit, follow my finger, turn in a circle, and jump off a small step, just by using a treat and no words.
I’ll tell you again… it wasn’t easy.
I go back at least 2 to 3 times more times this week for additional classes and a seminar, but of course that pang of stress hit me like a wall. “Can I do this?” I thought to myself over and over again, because like a baby, puppies are clean blank slate. If you try to overdo it during training, it’ll backfire in your face. But if you don’t do it enough, then how will your puppy learn?
I want this badly for my little boy, and I don’t want to disappoint him or anyone else that have helped us thus far on our journey. I haven’t been a dog owner in years, so this will definitely take some getting used to. I don’t have any doubts that we won’t succeed at this, but it’s all about finding that middle ground and going with it when the time is right. You know what I mean?
LET THE GAMES… BEGIN!