Our dogs in advanced training were sporting orange bandannas today while they worked on their service dog skills at Giant.
The orange was part of CBS21’s Orange Out today to support Owen’s Foundation, which raises awareness about the consequences of distracted driving. The foundation was started after 8-year-old Owen Brezitski was killed by a distracted driver as he was crossing the road with his family.
Two of our dogs in advanced training—SSD Oboe and SSD Olympia—are part of Owen’s Litter, the puppies named by Owen’s family. Oboe and Olympia both wore the orange bandanna as they trotted through Giant.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, our dogs in advanced training leave the kennel to practice their skills in public at places like Giant, the Colonial Park Mall, the Harrisburg Mall, and Target. We have a great group of volunteers who work with the dogs in public. (Check back next week during National Volunteer Week for a blog post about our public volunteers!)
Today, we went to Giant on Linglestown Road, and the dogs spent two hours walking around. Check out these photos of the dogs at work.
|SSD Olympia practices "under" beneath a table of baked goods.|
|SSD Hank keeps his attention on his handler. Just before this, he was working on the cue "lap," where he rests his front legs in his handler's lap.|
|SSD Cove rests while her handler looks at produce.|
|SSD Beaker (front) and SSD Cove relax in down-stays while their handlers shop.|
|SSD Brickle practices working beside a shopping cart.|
|SSD Oboe sits in the food court/lounge area and ignores the activity around him.|
|SSD Nola also practices working beside a shopping cart.|
|SSD Mali stays under the table.|
|SSD Bridge chills out in his balance harness after practicing walking next to his handler.|
|SSD Mint sits and ignores the food behind her.|
Working in public is an important part of the dogs’ training. Once they’re placed with their person, they will accompany them almost everywhere. The dogs will need to be comfortable working in any environment so they can continue to assist their partners no matter what situation arises.
Grocery stores can be especially challenging for dogs in training. In the produce aisle, there may be small pieces of vegetables or fruit on the floor that they have to ignore. They need to ignore the other shoppers, as well as the products on the shelves. No free sniffs!
The dogs in advanced training did very well working at Giant!