Weekend Outings with a Service Dog Puppy in Training
In the previous post (below) I wrote that all outings are adventures with a service dog puppy in training. This past weekend's were no different. Friday night we went to a friend's house for dinner. The group included 6 adults and 3 children ages 4, 6, and 10. With permission, and a request, we brought our puppy. She was relatively calm and it was a wonderful learning experience. As always, a new environment, new people, different smells, and kids can raise her excitement level. Truth be told, when we have her with us we may not be the best company as our focus and attention remains on the dog. A really cool thing happened as well. We knew ahead of time that the two youngest kids were afraid of dogs, but that we still should bring her. About 20 minutes into the evening both children came over to observe the puppy. Within 10 minutes they each had petted her. And the best part, within a few more minutes they were feeding her treats from their hands, laughing, and really enjoying the puppy experience. A well behaved puppy made two children smile. JoJo did so well the entire evening that we decided it was time for her first restaurant outing.
We picked a restaurant that we knew, had previously spoken with the staff about bringing a service dog puppy in training, and offered outdoor seating. A service dog in training is not the same as a service dog....they are still learning. We ask permission to bring her inside any establishment. Fortunately, we live in an area where businesses are familiar with the organization and are more than happy to accommodate. As an aside, I encourage you to read the entirerevised ADA requirements for service animals, which is good for everyone to know. We double checked with the hostess that the puppy was okay and then sat on the patio. She immediately settled under the table and put her head down (see image in the upper right). The patio overlooks the street and she occasionally lifted her head when cars or people passed (see image in bottom right). She was perfect. She did not move, squirm, fuss, or make a sound throughout the hour-long lunch. She passed with flying colors.