Chili with the Sodapup Key to My Heart nylon toy
Chili’s training continues! He has been on an official outing to Target with another Freedom Service dog-in-training. Because he accompanies Dawn and Tom on many of their personal outings and errands, he’s also been to the movies, to coffee shops and stores, and to the Apple Store. It’s important for service dogs in training to be exposed to lots of environments so they are comfortable going into a variety of places when they are in service.
Chili did great at the movies, comfortably laying on the floor at their feet. The Apple Store was a little overwhelming. It was busy and noisy! Chili felt distracted while there. But that’s okay. An important part of the training process is for Dawn and Tom to be aware when it’s too much. It just means he needs more practice in less busy places first. Being a seven month old puppy is a lot like being a small child. If you’ve had kids, you’ve probably had the experience of going into a busy store or a public place with loud music. Maybe you don’t notice it until your kids starts melting down or jumping to and fro. Just like you have to help your child manage the stimulation, Chili has to learn how to manage it too. He'll do that over time with gradually increased exposure to busy place, comfort and encouragement from his trainers, and more experience.
One interesting thing about his training is how important it is to practice even basic skills in different settings. Often a dog, especially a young one, will have a skill well learned in a familiar and/or low stimulation environment. But take them somewhere they’ve never been, or outside where there are lots of new smells, or into a busy store with lots of distractions, and it can seem like they’ve never heard the command “sit” before. It’s important for them not only to go to these novel locations but also to practice their skills while there.
Chili is a champ though. And so are Dawn and Tom. They are patient, thorough trainers. The three of them make a great team.
Stay tuned! Chili hits the road next and travels both by car and plane!
#chili #servicedogs #FreedomServiceDogs #keytomyheart