Monday, February 1, 2010

Practicing Skills at the Broad Street Market

Several of our dogs in advanced training had a real challenge on Thursday. They had to ignore the smells of fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and desserts as they practiced their skills.

We went to the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg, PA - a farmers' market with a smorgasbord of smells to challenge the dogs as they practiced their skills. When the dogs are in advanced training, we go to different public places to practice. Because the dogs will be going everywhere with their partner, they need to be able to give behaviors no matter what environment they're in. With the help of a wonderful group of volunteers, we take the dogs out in public once or twice a week. The Broad Street Market was one of our most challenging outings for the dogs, but they did very well!

We worked on skills such as loose leash walking, go on through at doors, leave it, greeting people, retrieves and basic obedience. Some of the dogs worked on their skills around wheelchairs, such as opening doors and pulling the wheelchair.

Here are a few videos from Thursday's outing:

In this video, SSD Natalie practices recalls. It's particularly challenging to give this behavior in a strange environment where there are so many smells to investigate and new people to meet. Natalie does a great job ignoring all the distractions.

SSD Gnat opens a door for a person who uses a wheelchair. Doors, especially heavy doors, can be challenging for a person who uses a wheelchair to open by themselves. A service dog can be trained to open the door and hold it open. The new environment made this skill a little more challenging for Gnat, but that's what practice is for. He soon focused and opened the door like a champ.

Gnat and SSD Sonora are learning how to pull a manual wheelchair. Look for a blog post next week about how these two dogs are learning this skill.

Our public outing to the Broad Street Market was a great success! Thank you to the Broad Street Market for being so understanding about service dogs!

1 comment:

  1. What great fun! Working a dog from a wheelchair has got to be one of the most humbling ones to train! Good job, guys! And the dogs all look fantastic :-D Keep up the good work SSD!