In November, Buddy and Pal had to do the hardest thing and drop me off at K-9 college, aka Hero Dogs kennel. Even though I miss them dearly, they did a great job preparing me for my dream of becoming a service dog for a veteran in need. I hope I make you proud Buddy and Pal.
Being one of the youngsters in the kennel, I get picked more often to go on outings to work on numerous skills important for all service dogs in training to master. Some of the commands I’m currently working on is maintaining my attention on my handler while we are out in public. I’m still a little puppy-ish, so it may take me a couple more of times out rock this command. I am constantly working on basic commands, such as sit, stay, come, heel, and side. As a service dog, you need to have instant willingness to all commands given without any hesitation or pointing where I need to go all the time.
I’m trying really hard to retrieve random objects without destroying them, such as cardboard. Obviously a service dog isn’t supposed to be a shredder of paper…they have a machine for that! Since I’m a little on the tall and lengthy side (and not to mention ruggedly handsome), I’ve been learning how to brace a human without flattening out like a pup-cake! Apparently trying to be the first pup up the stairs without my human, is frowned upon! I guess if my veteran needs help going up and down the stairs, I need to be by their side taking it one step at a time.
I’ve been able to perfect my some of my skills during my numerous outings. Where better to practice skills at than Home Depot. It’s a huge store with loads of things to pick up off the floor, place in the cart, and finally on the counter for the cashier to scan. Plus there were thousands and thousands of new smells around the store ready to be discovered, but my focus was on my handler…well most of the time.
I have also ventured out to the grocery store, the mall, and pet store. The hardest place for me was the pet store. So many yummy dog treats within a snouts grab, but I managed to “leave it” when told to. I found the birds in the store far more challenging than the delicious smells throughout the store. I swear they were mocking me with every tweet!
I love being chosen to represent Hero Dogs for home visits and fundraising events. Home visits for potential volunteers and veterans is exciting because it means I get to meet new friends that might give me extra scratches behind my ears (hint hint new friends). Speaking of friends, our pals at VeRUS presented Hero Dogs with a check for $10,000 and Barbara picked me as her date to receive it! I can buy a lot of toys and treats with all that money; however, I’m positive Jennifer already has a better plan for the money.
Well I better get back to counting down the days until I see Buddy and Pal again for Monday morning classes.