Last week, we met with the state licensed service dog trainer who evaluated Journey, much like the testing that his breeder did before choosing which pup was best suited to my needs. I was a bit concerned because Journey was in a fear period and not too keen about strangers – to be blunt, he did not want anyone outside his family to touch him at all. He would back off if someone reached out to pet him, and really, with a cute fluffy puppy, EVERYONE wants to pet him!
In preparation for our evaluation, we did a lot of quiet socialization. Basically, we would go to a busy place, such as the center of our town, and just people-watch. If anyone approached and asked to pet Journey, I would ask them to please not unless he came up to them on his own. Little by little, Journey got braver and would approach select people and allow them to give him a chin scratch.
The good news is – we passed the evaluation! Journey allowed a number of strangers to pet him without shying away, although he’s still not entirely comfortable with very tall men, very *ahem* large men, or men with beards. But apart from that, he is now happily bounding up to just about everybody, sniffing their hands and checking them out and letting them give him a pat.
Today, Journey got the full spa treatment – good thing too, the boy was dirty with a capital D.I.R.T.Y.!
And to top off the whole day, his training vest was delivered by the instructor today, so that we’re prepared for classes next month!
He’s officially hit the 40 lb mark, now weighing in at 41.3 lbs and 19.8 inches tall (18.75 kg and 50.5 cm) at 17 weeks.