SSD Eva has been living in her new home with her new family in State College for a little over a week, after spending time with other puppy sitters. She will be staying with them for a while, and then she’ll move into her whelping home closer to Harrisburg.
Eva is definitely settling in well. She has excellent manners and house behavior. At first, she was a little hesitant, but now she’s getting used to her sitters. She’s still quite a “velcro” dog, but after a week of adjusting to the apartment, she has stopped waking up to follow her sitters whenever they leave the room. She loves to cuddle and will curl up at her sitters’ feet or anywhere close to them.
During her first few days, she thought she was supposed to sleep in bed with her sitters. Now, however, she knows the bedtime drill. They have a crate for her with a soft bed made out of a sheet stuffed with old clothes. Eva is very comfortable in her new bed—and she’s as reliable as an alarm clock in the morning. She wakes up her sitters every morning at 7 a.m. with a funny whine-grunt noise.
Living in an apartment usually involves some adjustment for dogs. They need to get used to hearing the other occupants of the building. Right now, Eva barks at the dogs she sees out the window. She also barks when she hears the neighbors through the walls. Her puppy sitters are working with her on it.
Monday through Friday, Eva’s puppy sitter Daisy takes her to work on campus. Eva is great at sleeping in her crate or under the desk. She seems to like the snow, but she doesn’t go crazy in it.
Eva came from Guide Dogs of Queensland, and she was fully trained as a guide dog. Service dog training is different than guide dog training, so Eva has some new things to learn. When she was walking with Daisy, she would scan ahead for obstacles, just like a guide dog is supposed to do. As a service dog, however, we want her to be checking in with her handler every so often. She’s learning quickly that she should watch the person with the treats. She and Daisy can usually walk all the way across the Penn State campus with the leash nice and loose.
They’ve also been practicing walking up and down the stairs. Entering, exiting, and riding in an elevator is an important skill, too, so they’ve also been practicing that.
Her sitters are getting her acquainted with clicker training and the cues that SSD uses. So far, she’s learning “go to bed,” “stand,” and “leave it.” She’s almost ready to put these behaviors on cue.
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