As part of the application process for a service dog, applicants come to the training center for an interview and that is followed by a home visit and an office visit if the dog will be going to work with the applicant. We always take a service dog in training to these visits and we wonder what they must think about the experience.
Mobi accompanied us to northern Virginia for home visits recently. He met three ferrets in an impressive cage at one home. Mobi had never seen ferrets before and he was understandably curious and remarkably calm and gentle when introduced to one up close. But what was he thinking? Was it what in the world am I looking at? Or maybe, these are the best toys ever!
At the next home, Mobi, who doesn’t get to play with many toys, discovered the toy box of the family pet. He was over the moon! Each toy made him happier than the one before. He brought them to us to share in his absolute delight. There was a big soft hamburger, a pelican, a flamingo! He couldn’t believe the selection. When it was time to leave, he made no fuss about the toys being put away. While he does have excellent manners, after meeting ferrets and then having access to so many toys, maybe he was thinking where are we going next? It’s going to be great because this has been the best day ever so far!
It is important to put the dogs in training in a variety of situations to see how they respond. Home visits are a good place to assess a dog’s comfort level in a brand new environment with a surprise or two in wait. Our dogs willingly and trustingly hop in the van and tolerate long drives without complaint. For that, we give them an enormous amount of credit.
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