Outings are Adventures with a Service Dog Puppy in Training
Every day we take some sort of outing. They range from a trip to the grocery store, walk downtown, visit to the park, a baseball game (at a distance), farmers market, the library, or wherever might be a positive public experience. These trips are all part of the learning process for a service puppy. The puppy gains exposure to different people, sights, sounds, smells, etc...
Today we headed out for a walk along the greenway that runs parallel to the river. I chose the greenway because she needs to be comfortable around bikers, runners, and walkers. It is a highly stimulating environment with all the activity. We started along the path and worked on loose leash walking for about half a mile. We then came to a spot with a canoe loading ramp into the river, so we walked down the ramp. She has always showed indifference to water, not scared of it but also never wanting to enter. As a side note, swimming is great exercise for dogs because it is low impact and really works their muscles. Service dog puppies in training are allowed to swim but there are rules: 1) they must be given permission to enter the water, 2) they must walk in the water (no jumping), 3) they must be on a leash/long-line, 4) they must be supervised, and 5) they need to be taught how to get out of the water on their own. The pictures on the right are from today. The image in the upper right, standing looking down, shows you how she normally is around water. Well, I gave her permission to go in the water never thinking she would. Today she surprised me and I am very proud of her (middle picture). She calmly walked in the water, even swam a few strokes, and exited on her own (lower right picture). I gave her permission to go in a few more times and she did. This is a big day.
I will tell you why I think she went in the water today....she had a really nice bath yesterday.