Every month brings learning new commands, doing lots of public work, and also having fun! 🙂
Sometimes people will ask if I get to be a “normal dog” and have fun in addition to doing my special job. Last I checked, I am a normal dog, and oh yes, I do get to have fun. We tell people that I get to go for tons of walks, I play with the other Hero Dogs (as well as some other doggie friends I have), go swimming, go hiking, chase my tennis balls and Frisbees, and most importantly, I manage to get Becca and her family to give me loads of belly rubs. While it looks all business when I’m wearing my vest and working, people don’t realize I also find it quite fun to be working. Many people stop to ask about me and my job, which means I get petted from different people while Becca educates them all about Hero Dogs. What dog wouldn’t like that?
Lucky for me, Becca’s mom attended puppy program orientation last summer with her, so when Becca went to New York City for a long weekend this month, I got to stay home with her puppy sitter mom! Usually she has to work, but she had time off, so she was able to watch me because she had way more free time. When my human mom came home from her trip, I greeted her in my typical Lab fashion – by trying to jump on her shoulders when she knelt down to give hugs, wiggling, and bringing her a bunch of my toys.
Oh, and how could I forget to share about my playdate? Becca’s mom works with someone who has a black Lab mix about my age, so we went to a friend’s house who has a HUGE backyard to run and run. We chased each other and played with toys. We both even ran across the pool cover a few times, which made our humans nervous, but they were told it can hold the weight of an elephant, so two Labs is nothing! All this play meant a long nap afterwards.
This month also meant starting Big Dog class! In my class is usually HD “Molly,” “Robbie,” and “Chief,” along with some of the older dogs. It’s nice to see familiar doggie friends, but also fun to see new ones! I am learning so many new things and as they say, “practice makes perfect,” so Becca and I work hard together both in class and outside of it.
One thing we learned is that when I “GO THROUGH” a doorway or any small space where the two of us may not fit together, I walk through first, turn around, sit, and wait for Becca. Also, “BACK” means just what you may think it does – to back up. “UNDER” can be used where I lay under Becca’s legs while she is sitting; I lay under a bench or seat, go under a booth, etc. “PUSH” is something that is being transitioned from just pushing the ‘easy’ button or box light switch, to now working on closing cabinets and doors. “LEASH” tells me that I need to pick up my leash when it is dropped, and give it back to Becca. “STEP” means that I take steps one at a time… my future veteran might need to ‘brace’ on me to go up stairs and it wouldn’t be very good if I went at whatever pace I please!
This month has brought on lots of new experiences and commands for me. Being a service dog takes a lot of hard work, but is also quite exciting! Happy April to everyone! 🙂