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November Roomba Update!
Roomba has had an eventful and active fourth month and is rapidly absorbing the training necessary to make him a quality service dog. As part of puppy raising, we try to expose our youngsters to all sorts of distractions so that life is a bit less surprising for them as adults in service. Our new experiences and exposures this past month have included elevators, medical offices, wheelchairs, horses & buffet lines but our favorite and most challenging outing was Wal-Mart. A big department store is always full of interesting sights, sounds and people, even for a person, but hundreds of times more distracting for a five month old puppy. He was up for the challenge!
The big command that we have introduced this month is “down & under”, which is given to express desire to have him go under a chair, desk, table, etc. and lay quietly. It has become very important as our twelve pound baby puppy has grown into a forty- three pound big dog. It isn't nearly as easy to navigate around him in the office, home or restaurant anymore and so he needs to learn to “make himself small”.
We have experienced some changes in how Roomba is perceived in public, no longer as a “puppy”, but now with more respect as a working dog. My favorite “Roomba Moment” of the past month occurred in a ladies' restroom. A little girl caught a glimpse of four blonde paws go by her stall and loudly announced, “MOMMY! THERE IS A DOG IN HERE!” Of course, her mother dismissed her with a hush and I thought that nothing more would be said until a tiny pair of sneakers appeared at our door and she peered under our stall. Much to her excitement, she was immediately rewarded by a warm little brown nose and a thumping tail. As she was leaving, I heard her say very seriously, “There REALLY is a dog in here, Mom.” I can only imagine the conversation on the way out. I hope her mom believed her.