Approximately 2 weeks ago we invited "Boots," our newest service dog in training, into our home to begin his 18 month educational journey for Good Dog! Autism Companions.
If you are interested in following along in his progress, we have set up the following fan pages...
For starters, he is an awesome puppy and credit is definitely due to Jen Carlson with Bunji Doodles - she did an incredible job with giving him an amazing head start! Considering the initial heavy lifting of proper puppy parenting, including but not limited to early neurological stimulation, socialization and foundational manners, obedience and housetraining, Bunji Doodles is a top-tier breeder and if you want to check her out, we would strongly recommend it!
As such, in our excitement to pick up Boots and in wanting for a smooth and seamless transition from his Bunji home into ours, while Jen was investing her final amounts of time, energy and effort into Boots, our family was already properly preparing for his arrival with the PUPPY PREP program!
We reviewed the INTRO Unit, reminding us about the basics of puppy training and establishing a strong pet parenting foundation for successful animal ownership. And, although it is mostly reading, it was nice for us to go through it again immediately prior to meeting Boots, which only increased our excitement for him to finally arrive!
Afterwards, we used the PREP Unit to set up our house accordingly, in addition to helping us with the other important items necessary for our first day home with Boots. In fact, we proactively purchased the recommended shopping list items, printed the helpful charts & checklists and held the suggested family meeting to make sure all of us were on the same page. No joke, we really printed the first couple weeks of potty training charts so we could document his bathroom behaviors as it's much easier to successfully housetrain if we can better predict when he will need to go, and if you follow Boots on social media, you already saw our master list of manners and obedience cues to work on.
After reviewing the initial resources and materials, setting up our house and having everything ready to go, off we went to pick up Boots and it was great to finally meet him. His contagious personality was instantly apparent and his enthusiasm for life was a joy to witness! And although most of our first day together was traveling home, it allowed us to begin to get to know one another better and we couldn't help but appreciate how much he simply wanted to be around people - genuinely having such a special spirit about him.
Since then, we have been extremely busy, spending much of our initial time together at a family reunion and a soccer tournament, which actually worked out well as we concentrated on implementing the items outlined in the SURVIVAL GUIDE, such as C.A.L.M. Pet Parenting, puppy bitting, communication, management, consistency and sit to say please! We also focused on Unit 1 Lesson 1.1 (Building a Bond), Lesson 1.2 (C.A.L.M.), learning what Boots likes for treats and toys, and establishing a hierarchy of his favorites in order to be utilized appropriately throughout his training - needless to say, he loves fetch, belly rubs, is willing to work for his kibble and really enjoys Cheerios, string cheese and turkey treats.
All-in-all, our first weeks together have been a big success as we absolutely love Boots and are super excited to be a part of his service dog journey!
Moving forward, this week we plan to work on really establishing our training routine, including that of focusing on...
- Lesson 1.3 Loading "YES!" and Teaching "OK" (This is where pet parents learn all about marker training and create the beginnings of successful verbal communication.)
- Lesson 1.4 "NO!" and "UH-UH" (Remember "NO!" is for felonies and "UH-UH" is for misdemeanors.)
- FIELD TRIP: Family and Friends (These are included throughout the PUPPY PREP curriculum to concentrate on specific supplemental socialization items for a healthy and happy life together.)
- Lesson 1.5 "GO POTTY" (Special note, for Boots service dog work we are asked to use "Better Hurry" as his cue.)
- Lesson 1.6 Creating Drive & Engagement (Figure out what your puppy likes and what he's willing to work for.)
That's about it for now, thank you for following along with us on his journey. We hope your training in going well as we each work toward "Becoming best friends through love and learning!" and achieving better animal ownership and the very best in canine companionship!
As always, if you have any comments or questions, please contact us online at BAXTER & Bella and we look forward to seeing you soon!