Thursday, 30 March 2017

To Toy or Not To Toy

With only a few days left, we're putting together a list of things which we want to bring with us to parent training for the service dog.  The people at NSD have said not to buy or bring anything, that they will provide what we need, but we're also going to be responsible for the dog starting Sunday evening.  There are a few things that I want on hand because I don't want to be improvising:

- a towel which we've been using in Alex's bed, so that the dog will have something that smells of him
- a shallow container for water
- plastic bags for waste disposal

There are other things which I know I want the dog to have, but will wait.  For example: a dog bed.  By defining the place where the dog sleeps, that will make it easier to transition to Alex's room when it's appropriate, not to mention providing something consistent during travel.  I'd like to have it right away so that we can start consistently but I'm trusting NSD's process on this.

But the big one I'm having trouble resisting is getting the dog a toy.

In the documentary, Paws for Autism, the families getting the dogs have a toy ready to go on leash day.  It seems like a nice welcoming gesture, a way to show the dog that the family cares and an opportunity for some positive pairing.  But NSD has specifically asked us not to purchase a toy.  Each dog has a preferred reward-toy and getting the wrong one could cause problems.

So I am resisting the urge to get a Kong, or a tug of rope.  I have done some research about local parks near the hotel so that we can take the dog for a walk that first night and first morning.  (Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to drive to get to them but maybe NSD will have more specific suggestions.)

It's hard to believe it's nearly here.  In four more days, we're going to be responsible for yet another member of the family.  


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