Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meet SSD Taz

Meet Taz! Taz is one of the Gemstones, born on July 4, 2010. As a puppy, he was just a little pale yellow ball of fur, but he sure is growing up. He weights well over 30 pounds already!

He has learned several cues, including sit, stay and down. He also walks nicely on a loose leash most of the time.

Although Taz is growing up, he is still a puppy. He loves to eat paper, and he likes to be up on the furniture. His puppy raiser, Kelly, is working with him to teach him that he can only be on the furniture when he's invited up.

Taz loves his puppy raisers, Kelly and Nicole. He loves them so much, that he has started to bark and get a little aggressive when other people or dogs approach Kelly. She had been avoiding other dogs because Taz would start to get so upset. For example, if she saw another dog when they were taking a walk, she would take Taz in the opposite direction and they would go around. However, service dogs need to be calm and controlled around other people and dogs, so his puppy raisers talked to our trainers. Now when they go for walks, Kelly is going to try just moving Taz to the other side of the street so that he can see the other dogs and know that they aren't going to do anything to him or his puppy raiser.

He has gone on several public outings, including Zoo America, Pumpkinfest, the Ghosts of Gettysburg tour, Target and Olive Garden. In restaurants, they are working on laying quietly on the floor and not trying to get at the table. Taz also went to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Harrisburg. On the Walk, he had to go across the Walnut Street walking bridge. The bridge has a concrete sidewalk down one side and the other side is a grate. Taz walked on the grate for a little while, but his paws go through the holes, so they moved to the sidewalk. There were other dogs on the Walk, but Taz did great and ignored them! Great job, Taz!

When they went to Rutters, Kelly only took him inside for a few minutes so he could get used to the idea that he needs to pay attention to her and not sniff the food on the shelves or eat anything on the floor. This is a challenging place, and the short outings help set him up for success.

Taz went Trick or Treating! He and Nicole both dressed as devils. Trick or treating is a great time to work on "leave it," because of all the candy, especially candy in the street. However, Taz wasn't interested in the candy. No, he kept trying to eat cigarette butts. Kelly has been working with him so he realizes that he can't have them. She's using the same technique that we use to train "leave it" with kibble. She holds the cigarette butt in a closed fist, and when Taz stops trying to get it and looks at her, she clicks and treats with food from her treat pouch. It's going well so far.

He enjoys retrieving, especially socks. He has a non stuffed toy that he chase and bring back. However, when he gets something he knows he shouldn't have, he plays keep away and runs behind Kelly's big red chair.

Taz is still a puppy, but he's learning fast. We can't wait to watch him grow and learn to become a service dog!

No comments:

Post a Comment