SSD Irwin is a six-month old puppy who is hopping right along with his service dog training, both literally and figuratively. Not only is he making nice progress in his training, but he sometimes adds little puppy hops when he’s excited.
Irwin is part of the Down Under litter, born on September 10, 2012. He is his puppy raisers’ second SSD dog. They also raised SSD Judge, who is currently in advanced training. “It seems easier for us the second time around,” says Donna. “We are more confident in training and look forward to taking him places with us, even if he’s having a challenging day.”
Irwin a very loving dog who enjoys being held and petted, and he loves puppy massage and belly rubs! At night, he sleeps in his own crate, but during the day, he loves to be snuggled up against another dog or his puppy raisers.
At some puppy classes, we hand out homework for our raisers and dogs to work on, and with the help of these homework sheets, Irwin has developed some fantastic down-stays. One of his favorite cues is “visit,” where he puts his head in his puppy raiser’s hand or lap. His puppy raiser Donna’s favorite is the “go to bed” cue, where Irwin goes to a designated blanket and lays down. He does a little hop onto the blanket!
To make sure Irwin is successful, Donna takes the blanket with her to restaurants and has Irwin lay on that. He does a great job staying on the blanket. Irwin also rides in elevators well and knows to wait to be told to “go on through” before getting on and off. Waiting for the “go on through” cue at elevators is so important. The person holding the leash must block the elevator door to keep it from closing before letting the dog get on or off the elevator. That way, the dog doesn’t end up on one side of the elevator while the person is on the other.
Donna is working on stairs with Irwin. He likes to hop up them, so Donna is working to get him to take the stairs one at a time.
Irwin goes on lots of outings, such as grocery shopping, outlet shopping, and even to the beach in Cape May! At the beach, he got his feet wet, but he much preferred digging in the sand! Being a handsome puppy, Irwin gets lots of attention, but he’s very good about having people greet him, although he will take a few steps back if people get into his space.
Loud noises don’t really bother him. His puppy raisers have an orchard, and Irwin has been in the tractor and around loud machinery with no problems. He can ride in the car for long distances, crated and uncrated, and he has gone to the bank, post office, hardware store, and Christmas parties. He even accompanied the family dog to the vet!
We’re looking forward to seeing the dog that Irwin becomes!