Meet Fonzie, an 8-year-old, Shih-tzu mix who’s working towards becoming a personal therapy dog for his human. Fonzie is a sweet-tempered fellow who needs some help with his basics and his task work so that he can do the best job for his person. We’ve been working together for the past few weeks, and while some of his progress has been a bit slow, he’s been doing a great job of working hard to earn his rewards.
Fonzie received some obedience training previously, but unfortunately, all of his lessons took place indoors, where he didn’t have to deal with the kinds of distractions he’ll be facing on a daily basis when he’s out and about with his human. As a result, when he’s outside, his person struggles to keep him focused on her. He’s so distracted by all the sounds, sights, and smells of the world outside that he doesn’t focus on her at all. So, although his test will be done indoors, we’re also working him outdoors when the weather allows, to help him learn to ignore the distractions.
Fonzie’s test is two-pronged: The first test – four days from today – is for his temperament, where he’ll be assessed on such things as his ability to perform his basic commands, his responses to being petted, and more. The second test will be the final evaluation; he will be judged on everything from his responses to medical equipment and how well he performs specific tasks, to dog-to-dog interactions, and more.
Currently, Fonzie is having some trouble staying focused on his handler around distractions, holding a sit or down position until released, as well as some problems with his obedience basics. However, after three lessons so far, he’s doing much better. He still has a ways to go before he’s considered to be reliable, but he’s learning very quickly and he’s working really hard to do what we’re asking of him.
Because of his age, it takes Fonzie a little longer to do things younger dogs can do, but as long as he continues to be excited about working, we’ll continue working to make him the best dog he can be.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.