Service dog training: It’s harder than I thought it would be.

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. Here goes nothing….

Service dog training, it seems easy right? You train the dog, take them out into public, and they slowly grow into a good service dog. WRONG. It’s really hard, harder than I ever imagined. There will always be problems with public access such as people not knowing the laws under the ADA, things such as “It will be too long of a car ride” or “She’ll be a distraction to everyone”. Also you can have big fails too. In my last class Nikki got up during art. So now I can’t bring her back, at least not for a while.

There is also behaviour issues such as barking, chewing, whining, and other things that I did not expect. In public Nikki is usually very well behaved. In her first trip to Walmart she had NO accidents and no barking or whining! But at home it’s a different story. I’m trying a Kong toy and some other things to help mentally stimulate her more so that she will hopefully do this behaviours less.

There are many tasks to train also, and you cannot just “skip” a week of doing them. They need to be practiced every day at the most, and every other day at the least. And sometimes your service dog “forgets” a task and you have to re-teach it to him or her. Nikki forgot her “touch” when I fake startle during training, and I had to re-teach it to her. You may have to repeat a task 10-15 times just to get it right. You have to be consistent and persistent, but in a nice way. I clicker train Nikki, because that is how she was trained to do some things through the center before I got her.

Some day I hope that Nikki becomes a well-behaved Service dog. Both at home and in public. And I hope that I won’t fail again, but I’m pretty sure we will have fails along the way. I just have to press through the good and the bad, the beautiful and ugly, the successes and failures. One day we will be a Pawsome team. For now I gotta keep my head up, even if there are tears and bad days.

Note: My Instagram account is private now. This is for personal reasons. I’m sorry if this offends anyone. 

 

 

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My new service dog in training.

On July the 8th 2017, I got my first dog. I adopted a border collie/lab mix named “Nikki”. That day was so exciting!

 

We are in the car. I am rocking back and forth because I am so excited, I am going to meet Nikki! This is soooo exciting! After waiting for what seemed like eternity to get to our destination, we finally pulled into the parking lot. I see a small black dog with a woman outside the building. We walk up, and it turns out to be Nikki! Nikki wags her tail excitedly. We decide to go inside, the woman, whose name is Liz, demonstrates some of the service dog tasks she has learned such as deep pressure therapy, block, and watch my back. I am hoping with all my heart that that I can take this sweet girl home. My mom asks about taking Nikki home. My heart flutters with excitement as the papers are filled out, and then we were out of the door and on the way home with Nikki. Later on that evening after a trip to PetSmart and Orange leaf, in which Nikki got a small amount of vanilla froyo, we headed home. That night she jumped onto my bed, she looked at me like “I am going to sleep on your bed with you, right??” So I let her sleep on my bed. At one point she came up beside me and licked my face, such a sweet dog. I think she is going to be a great service dog with more training.

 That was an exciting day. Nikki is learning how to sit, lay, and I am going to be teaching her come, stay, anxiety alert, and guiding through a crowd. Her vest, which we ordered today, is supposed to come on Wednesday. I am excited to start the process of training Nikki to be a service dog.