Saturday, 23 March 2013

Trainer Fears

One thing that puppy raisers and service dog trainers have to do is socialize the pup they are working with to many different people and situations. It's fun to take a pup out and experience the world through their eyes, but it can be a bit stressful and worrisome for the trainer at times. No situation with a dog is 100% predictable. You don't know who you will meet or what you will see when you are out and especially when the outing is a "first" it can create some trainer anxiety. I don't often experience anxiety when working with dogs but I was a bit concerned when I took Jedi out to the pool the other day. Here I was with a 6 month old lab, a water dog. She LOVES water and she was going to be challenged right in front of more water than she has ever seen. She was expected to sit and stay or lie down and stay and wait for the splashing children to play in the water. I played it over in my head and decided what I would do if she barked, if she pulled towards the pool, or if she *gasp* pee'd on the floor. (since the sound of water can be a trigger for that kind of thing) I went prepared. Ready to deal with any situation. I knew she was ready but there is always that tiny bit of concern that things might not go as planned. I knew that Queen's University was large and that once we were at the pool that it would take some time to get out of the building for Jedi to pee if needed. I hoped that if she did need to go that we wouldn't get lost trying to leave the building. LOL Well, this outing really went as perfect as it could. There were no accidents, no pulling, absolutely no barking or whining. Jedi was perfect and I won't have an ounce of anxiety taking her to the pool again. She lay in a down-stay most of the time and even ignored the chocolate lab service dog that was also there. I couldn't be prouder of little Jedi. She conquered a pool, the sounds, the smells, the elevator, the stairs, whistles that the lifeguard blew, and balls from the dodgeball game that was going on. Everything was very interesting to her but the most important thing to her was pleasing me. She made sure to keep me at her side and her eyes were kept on Sienna. Jedi is true service dog worthy. She is doing a fabulous job with her training and takes away all of my trainer worries. It is such a pleasure to work with such a smart pup.

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