Friday, January 7, 2011

SSD Nubble's Travels

Nubble joined us in Harrisburg for puppy class on Wednesday! We were very happy to have him in class. It gave him the chance to be around other dogs that he isn't familiar with. If you'd like to read about our puppy class and see some videos of Nubble, check out Fun and Games at Puppy Class.

In the Northeast group's puppy classes, they're learning musical canine freestyle or dancing with dogs! Nubble loves it! He loves to learn new things. Right now, he, Donna and Lindsey are in the very beginning stages of learning freestyle. Donna and Nubble have been watching videos of musical freestyle. At first, Nubble just barked at the dogs on the screen, so Donna turned it into a training opportunity. Now he just rests his head on Donna's lap and watches the screen.

They also practiced "stand stay," where the dog stays in a standing position while you walk away. This can be very difficult for dogs because it's very easy for them to simply follow you since they're already in a standing position. Nubble, however, was a pro. Donna and Lindsey realized that they had actually been working on this behavior for a while now because they always make him wait at doorways.

As well, they worked on walking around an object. For example, if the dog gets his leash tangled or walks around a street sign on one side while you walk on the other side, he'll be able to untangle himself.

The week after Christmas, his puppy raisers took Nubble back to the mall. They practiced steps and just walked around. We always give our dogs the opportunity to potty before we enter a building, but that doesn't mean they will always use that opportunity. Nubble didn't go before he and Donna went inside the mall, so Donna watched his body language closely, and as soon as he started acting like he needed to go out, they headed straight for the nearest exit. Nicely done! Nubble did his business on the sidewalk, which is also a good thing. Service dogs need to be able to potty on all surfaces. When they're placed with a partner, they may not live near a grassy area, so they'll need to be comfortable with whatever surface is available to them. And even if a service dog does live in an area where he has a yard, he and his partner may visit places that do not have grass and bushes available. For example, if they fly, the dog will need to be able to go on concrete before getting on the plane. Once on the plane, it could be hours before the dog has another opportunity. Great job, Nubble.

A few other puppy raisers recommended that Donna and Lindsey take Nubble to the Canine Spa in Dillsburg, PA. Nubble had a blast! Donna was a little concerned about taking Nubble into a strange place where there are lots of strange dogs off leash, but Nubble took it all in stride. A three-year-old Saint Bernard dashed right over to him, and the two dogs romped and played. Nubble also had fun with a young black lab and an older yellow lab. He was very sweet with the older lab.

Then SSD Cabo and SSD Pearl came in! All of the dogs got along well until Nubble and Cabo wanted to same toy. However, once they got the dogs calmed down again, they gave Nubble and Cabo some time to get to know each other, and soon they were able to co-exist. Nubble tended to avoid Cabo's toys, and Donna and Crystal always made sure to toss two toys if both dogs were in the water.

At one point, Lindsey tossed a toy more that halfway across the pool. Nubble swam to get it, but then he couldn't figure out what to grab, so he grabbed the foam pool noodle that covers the metal rack for the dock at the other end of the pool. He then swam all the way back to Lindsey with it!

They used the Canine Spa to practice recalls, and Nubble did very well considering all the distractions. He also showed good self control by sitting and waiting until a toy was thrown for him. It was a wonderful trip, and needless to say, Nubble slept very well that night!

On Sunday, Donna and Lindsey took Nubble to Cracker Barrel. Six months ago, Nubble would have had a very difficult time, but now, he did great! Donna called ahead to let Cracker Barrel know that she would be bringing a service dog in training. (Although this isn't necessary for places that cater to the public, it sometimes helps.) When Donna put their names on the list, she said two people and a service dog, and when their table was ready, the hostess announced, "Party of three!" Nubble did great walking through the busy dining room. Once they were settled at the table, he just rested beneath the table and did the occasional visit on Donna's lap.

At one point, the waitress came over to pull down the blind at their window. She had to reach over Nubble, but he didn't even move! He just looked at her. Great job, Nubble! When their food arrived, it became a little more challenging for Nubble. He smelled the bacon and that's all he could think about. It took a little while for Donna and Lindsey to help him realize that he was not going to get any bacon, but he eventually did settle back down under the table. When they left the restaurant, he strolled through the dining room on a nice loose leash, and while they were paying, he waited patiently without even trying to sniff any of the tempting items at the counter! What a successful outing!

We're looking forward to more stories of Nubble's success!

Nubble loves belly rubs! Look at that smile!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great class with lots of fun and Nubble is doing better with other dogs. The canine spa looks great!!! Thanks for bring Nubble all this way.

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