Kvelling: I Can Haz Service Dog!

I’m writing a short post because I have a lot of other stuff I need to do before my brain shuts down for the day. (Yeah, I’ve been awake two hours, and already I’m at low brain. Oh well.)

This is a celebratory post!

I can see my way forward with Barnum as my best service dog yet! He now can open my bedroom door on cue (with much enthusiasm) and the refrigerator door (with less enthusiasm), neatly retrieve most things I point to, and is well on his way to pulling shut (much harder than nudging shut) my bedroom door and bathroom door — two very important skills for me — and going to a named person for help after opening the door to the room we are in. I also, so far, am managing to prevent him from realizing that he has the power to open doors for his own means; so far I’m making it worth his while to only do it on cue.

Yes, we still have a long way to go before all established skills are really solid, and we have a buttload of obedience and public access to work, and various service skills he has not been introduced to. But we are now at the point where he is helping me in small ways, every day!

I give tremendous thanks and acknowledgement to Sue Ailsby and everyone on the Training Levels list who has provided tips and encouragement. You have made me a much, much better trainer and also helped me realize that I wanted a much higher standard of training for Barnum than I had for Gadget (let alone for Jersey).

Barnum just shut the bathroom door behind me for the first time, which is a tricky door because the latch sticks. He is now chomping on a well-earned knuckle bone. Meanwhile, I need to apply myself to an essay that is due soon.

I just wanted to share my joy and my thanks with everyone who has helped me along this journey. I do feel a tinge of sadness that Barnum is truly stepping into Gadget’s footsteps for the first time. I still miss my Gadgamonster, but I am so happy to have my Barnum, too.

My heart is full of love.

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SD/SDiT

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