Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rummy, Atari and Yahtzee Visit the Mall

The Game puppies went to the mall, but not to shop. They were there for their first public outing!

Rummy, Atari and Yahtzee are seven weeks old and they got their shots on Tuesday, which means that they can now go out in public. They visited the Colonial Park Mall this morning and were quite a hit! As soon as they walked into the mall, people came over to see them.

Normally, when you see a dog wearing a service dog harness, you should not go up and pet them. You should always ask first, and if the dog's owner says no, you should respect their wishes. The dog is working and should not be distracted. For the Game puppies' first outing, however, we encouraged people to pet them if they asked. When the puppies are this young, they need to learn that people are friendly and not something to be afraid of.

Rummy, Atari and Yahtzee had a great time running around in the mall! At first, all of the puppies were running and prancing all over the place, exploring their new environment. Look at Rummy go!

Did you notice the leash? Watch Rummy run again, and pay careful attention to the leash. Even though Rummy is moving as fast as she can, her handler is careful to keep the leash loose so Rummy doesn't learn to pull. Loose leash walking is one of the most important skills a service dog can have, and we start training it right from the start because it's also one of the most difficult skills a dog learns.

Already the puppies are learning that if they come when called, they'll get some tasty treats! Look at how eagerly they follow one of their handlers!

Atari picked up on this concept right away. She scampered to her handler when called, even though she's looking at something interesting. Listen to how her handler gives her lots of verbal praise in addition to treats. This is a great way to let Atari know that she did good job!

After getting a few treats, Yahtzee started giving his handler nice attention. He focused on her instead of all the interesting things in his environment. He's still a little puppy, and his focus didn't last a long time, but he's already off to a great start!

Soon, though, Rummy and Yahtzee started to slow down, and by the end of the outing, they were stretched out on the floor. Atari, on the other hand, still had lots of energy, even after 30-45 minutes of romping around the mall!

These puppies will be going to the kennel on March 28, along with the Civil War puppies. They'll spend a week at the kennel, and then they'll go to their puppy raisers.


  1. :) Kara said the same thing I said the first time I saw Yahtzee! "Crystal, I love this one!"

    Way to go Games, looks like you had a very good first outing!

  2. Great job handlers and puppies! Looks like the pups already have the basics down pat - it's all about the treats.