Gypsy, Service Dog In Training, First Week

Rich and I flew from Orlando to Atlanta to pick out Gypsy. She had a lot of firsts that first day with us.

  • away from littermates and mom
  • crated
  • car trip, in Atlanta traffic no less
  • elevators (at the airports)
  • trains/trams (at the airports)
  • flight (in the cabin, of course)

And that was just the first day!

 

Training
We had soft treats for Gypsy at first, because it took a while to crunch the kibble. However, about a week later and she was doing better with the kibble. Make sure you use small treats, and stop early. If you find yourself losing your puppy’s attention, STOP! It is better to do 5 reps 5 times a day than 25 reps at once. Especially with puppies.

First we started with the marker words:

“Good”

“Break”

“No” or “Nope” or “Uh-uh”

And we started adding in the basics:

Her name, “Gypsy”

“Sit”

“Touch”

“Come” and “Here”

“Focus”

Next week our goal is to start “Heel,” “Look,” “Down” and continue with what we have started, upping duration and distractions.

 

Mealtimes
We do mealtime twice a day for Gypsy. At least one is training, where we put her food into her bowl and she works for it. She is offered the rest after training, and can eat if she is still hungry. I prefer to give her a little more at this point, so she walks away with a few kibbles – or more – left in her bowl. We also feed her when she is in a calm state of mind, not crazy and wild.

Her breeder warned us against using “Puppy” food – so she is on our regular food. We add our “veggie slop” along with Young Living supplements – NingXia Red, Longevity EO, OmegaGize, MultiGreens, AgilEase, ParaFree, ParaGize, and others – and top it all off with yogurt and water.

 

Service Dog/Socialization
Gypsy has already gone to Tractor Supply, McAlister’s Deli (outdoor dining), Sam’s Club, the dentist (we stayed outside and trained), and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We kept these outings short and sweet, gave her potty time before, during, and after, and brought training rewards to work her. Rich and I both went, so I can work Gypsy, and he can get done what needed doing.

She has a bandana she wears for her outings, which says “Do Not Touch” and people still ask if they can pet her. No. You cannot. She is working. She has a big job ahead of her and she needs to learn to ignore people, dogs, and other distractions now.

We want her to be used to all the “everyday life” distractions – the dishwasher, vacuum, etc. And we do not want her to think that we are always nearby and close, so she gets crate time away from us.

We are also working her on a 2.25mm herm sprenger prong collar. We initially brought a slip lead to pick her up, and a flat collar, and she pulled and pulled on them. Horking and coughing. So we fit her for the chiropractially sound prong collar, where she is learning to respond to light pressure. Prong collars are not for “naughty dogs,” but can be used with ANY dog or puppy, as long as they are used appropriately.

One of the big things Gypsy is learning is that she can potty while on leash or while off leash. While this may not seem like anything big, it is. We have had dogs come to us who do not understand they can potty while on leash, which service dogs will do.