Monday, April 29, 2013

SSD Hamlet: One Busy, Yet Relaxed Pup

SSD Hamlet is a very mellow puppy. He often begins napping as soon as he wakes up, and sometimes he doesn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning! He usually sleeps on his back, and sometimes wakes himself up from sleep-wagging his tail. Although he loves his naps, he can be quite goofy and energetic when he plays, so much so that he sometimes trips over his own feet!

Hamlet is part of the Shakespearean litter, and he’s currently 10 months old. He’s a big, pale yellow lab. His dad, from Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, weighs about 95 pounds, and at 7 months, Hamlet already weighed 70 pounds, and he’s still growing!

When he’s playing, he loves stuffed animals. His puppy raisers gave him one when he was four months old, and he carried it around and chewed on it for weeks without hurting it. Now he has a whole assortment of stuffed animals. Some he plays tug with, some he sleeps with, and some he pulls the stuffing out of when he’s in the mood.  

Hamlet’s puppy raiser Daisy is a graduate student at Penn State, where she takes classes, teaches classes, and does office work, and Hamlet accompanies her. Because he’s working throughout the day and getting treats, he gets most of his food one kibble at a time rather than eating most of his food at breakfast and dinner. This is a great weight management technique for busy dogs who are getting lots of clicks and treats during the day.

Hamlet has learned the cues “lap,” where he lays his front lets in his puppy raiser’s lap. He loves this cue! Any cue that requires him to lie down for treats quickly becomes his favorite, especially if it involves lying down in a person’s lap. He has also been perfecting “stay” and working on “fix,” where he lifts his paws to untangle them from the leash. Some dogs automatically lift their paws when the leash touches them, but Hamlet is so comfortable having his paws handled that he doesn’t seem to mind when the leash touches them. That just means that Daisy has to get creative when she works with him on “fix.”

Hamlet typically works for kibble, but when they’re practicing recalls or hiking in the woods, he gets hotdogs, and when they’re working on nail clipping, he gets pieces of cheese. These are his power treats.

Hamlet is well-known on the Penn State campus. He goes to the libraries and cafeterias on campus nearly every day, where there are often crowds of students cooing at him. He goes to the movies on campus every week, and amazingly, he sleeps through the whole movie, even the loud scenes. In addition, he has gone to an on-campus computer auction, folk dances, and all sorts of restaurants. He even went to a soccer game in the fall, where he watched the ball go back and forth on the field. Over winter break, he went to a video arcade and mini golfing. He’s quite the busy dog!

Daisy takes him hiking every chance she gets. Hamlet loves to find the biggest stick he can carry and drag it down the trail. He also loves climbing on things. If there’s a log or a boulder within reach, he’ll hop up and walk along the top.

He’s a sweet, fun dog with a laid back personality who’s busy learning to become a service dog.

1 comment:

  1. Hamlet is quite the well behaved pup. Daisy's excellent training is shown when Hamlet has visited our home.