Hawk made his first official visit to the grocery store today. As usual, it took us extra long to accomplish our shopping because lots of people wanted to talk about and pet this cute pup. We do not say that as a complaint; part of puppy raising a service dog means talking to the public and answering their questions. We also often hear great stories about their own dogs or people they know who have a service dog. We give out information cards on Custom Canines Service Dog Academy and just have a great time talking about our little handsome boy!
Jeff took Hawk while I did the shopping. Hawk had been for a walk right before the grocery store outing, and all of the activity proved just too much for him. Hawk would lay down in the aisle and did not want to move, so Jeff ended up sitting on a bench near the checkouts until I finished up shopping. I found him chatting to someone and Hawk sound asleep under the bench. I ended up scooping Hawk up, still asleep, and Jeff loaded the groceries in the car. It is always a team effort!
We use these outings as a learning experience, gauging where the puppy is in his development. At least there were no accidents in the store, no food was touched by the curious pup, he was not spooked by the sounds and smells in the store or parking lot, and all in all, it was a successful first outing. Hawk actually slept on the floor of the car on the way home; usually he has not liked doing this with the movement of the car and the noises, but he was so tired, it did not matter this time. Again, this is good for him to have a good experience to overcome his dislike of riding on the floorboard; it will make it easier next time he is in the car. It is really not safe for him to get in the habit of riding on the seat or on someone's lap. He would become a flying missile in the event of an accident, so it is for his own good to become accustomed to sitting or lying on the floor of the car.
We are still working on house
training, but Hawk is able to go slightly longer between times he needs
to go outside. He has even run to the door a few times, and we immediately let him out to reinforce the outside potty cue, so that is a good sign. He has still had accidents in the house, but we acknowledge those are our own fault.
All training books I have read say that it is good to
teach a default cue early on, and Hawk picked up "Sit" extremely
easily. At 10 weeks, he is doing it on a verbal cue, and it is so handy
to have in lots of training situations.
We are starting to learn more about his likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, from day 1 he
has had a penchant for electrical cords, he will actually seek them
out. It obviously scares the daylights out of me that he may
potentially bite into a cord and get shocked, so we have tried our best
to "baby proof" all outlets, blocking him off from being able to get
behind the couch or TV.
He also loves to be under something, so he is
still small enough to shimmy under the recliner, behind the curtains,
under the dining table and under the beds. This will be a self-limiting problem since in the blink
of an eye he will become too big to be able to get into these tiny
Hawk hates the sunlight, he seems to heat up easily with his black fur. On walks, he will run to the next shady area he finds and lay down in the cool grass. Even if it is just a few feet between shade trees, he will do this, which makes us laugh and again reinforces how smart he is. We bring water on walks with us to give him drinks, and with the longer days of summer, we take him out later in the day. This has a two-fold advantage, it is cooler and more enjoyable for him and Monte and gets him some exercise shortly before he goes to bed so he is tired out and ready to sleep. He still wakes up, but it is more like 3-4 hours after he goes to bed for the night, still a bit interruptive for our sleep cycles, but he is headed in the right direction and you cannot expect much more from a 10-week-old pup. If he cries in his crate now, it is to alert us he wants to go potty.
For a young pup, we wish he was more cuddly. He really prefers most times, even if we are sitting on the floor with him, to lay slightly away from us, not crawling onto our laps like most pups do. However, I have noticed that if I am more animated or one night I laughed so hard I sounded like I was crying, he actually came over to me and licked me! I have faked cried a couple of times to gauge his reaction, and every time he has come toward me. I think this is a great sign for a potential PTSD service dog, so we give him a treat bomb and lots of praise whenever he does this to reinforce it.
So, we will just note these personality traits and try to hone what we consider valuable and discourage others. He has made great progress in 2 weeks and just still getting to know him and show him that humans are kind and trustworthy. Consistency and patience are key to this!