Monday 10 April 2017

Service Dog Training: Day 6

Today was our last full day of instruction.  Tomorrow we have a review of the Public Access Test, a farewell luncheon and then that's it, we are on our own.  (Well, not really on our own.  The NSD staff is still only an email or phone call away.)

It's more than a little surreal.  As I write this, I'm packing up our things.  For a week, we've been living in this hotel.  As far as Icon knows, this is home.

Tomorrow he'll see our real home.  And Sunday, he'll get to meet Alex for the first time.

I'm fully expecting Alex's immediate reaction to be "no dog" and possibly refuse to enter the house.  I don't think he'll resist for long, but he'll probably want to keep his distance for awhile.

We've got a plan for encouraging Alex and Icon to become friends:

- Icon will be staying in Alex's room (Dave and I will take turns sleeping there as well until we know both Alex and Icon are comfortable).  We'll bring Icon in after Alex is asleep and then be waking up with Alex to take Icon out.

- Alex will have to participate in feeding and grooming Icon.  We may still have to do some grooming to keep Icon in good coat, but as much as possible, we'll have Alex do it.  Even if we have to bribe him with gummies to do it.

- Speaking of bribes, we're also going to bribe him with extra screen time (specifically 30 extra minutes of watching the Weather Network), if Alex is willing to sit on the couch with Icon beside him.

- Alex will be participating in Icon's daily playtime after school (again, expecting to need gummy bribes)

This whole experience hinges on Alex and Icon developing a close bond.  Fingers crossed that it goes well.  We'll take it slow to make sure it is solid before we try and build on it.  But starting Sunday, it's going to be the beginning of a whole new way of working in our household.

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