Training Tips

Can my dog be a service dog?

Because Kinsey is a service dog, I can take her with me wherever I go, including to work at the library. My middle school students roll around on the floor with her, play fetch with her and scratch her belly. Kinsey enjoys the attention, but if the kids have work to do and I’m busy, she heads to her crate and goes to sleep. Quincy is a different story. I can only take her when school is not in session. I haven’t taken her to the library in a couple years, and until her most recent visit I couldn’t remember why.

Quincy and I arrived to work about seven and went into the office to chat. Within a minute, right in front of myself, a teacher and two secretaries Quincy squatted down and took a pee. I swear to you the dog is house trained. Well, most of the time. If I don’t let her out enough, she does sneak away and pee in the garage. And when I had a roommate she didn’t care for, she would sneak into his room and pee. So, I guess she’s 90% house trained. I blame it on the breed. She’s part terrier and they like to mark their territory. (At least, that’s what I tell myself. She’s a bad little dog.) Anyway, that was accident number one. The secretary helped me clean it up. Then we went into the library, and she peed in there too. Accident number two.

Quincy keeps me humble. I train dogs, bring dogs to work and give advice on dogs, and that bad little girl squats and pees first thing. Ugh.

When one of the secretaries came in to talk to me in the library, Quincy sat in the chair next to me and shivered, stressed out by the unfamiliar. Because she’s so happy and relaxed at home and out on hikes, I forget that she has poor nerve strength and doesn’t much care for new people.

little-dog-petAs the day went on and she became more comfortable/territorial, she barked insistently anytime she heard a sound outside the library. Even worse, if someone opened the door, she charged.

When a former student dropped by to help me out with textbooks and walked too close to her, she lunged at his ankles. This happened more than once. Good thing she’s only nine pounds and doesn’t have many teeth left. (Multiple teeth cleanings, and even more rotten teeth removed.)

If someone told me this story, I would think to myself boy, that dog needs some serious intervention. 🙁

Next time I take her to work I need to:

Let her play out in the grass for ten minutes before I take her into the office. So, if she smells a scent and wants to mark, she has less fuel.

Bring a crate with an old towel. Then when she feels stressed out she has a place to go and relax.

Bring a leash. Not only does a leash keep Quincy close to me, it’s a source of power. When she wears it, she’s more submissive. So, she’s less likely to charge/bark.

Take treats. That way, when a former student comes into the library he can tell her to sit and reward her with food. She’s much less likely to attack when treats are involved.

little-dog-petQuincy. Proof that not every dog can or should be a service dog. But, every morning when we wake up together she rolls around on the bed and woofs hello at me. How cute is that?

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