When I picked Teddy up from Hero Dogs, I was told the vet discovered a heart murmur earlier that morning. This came as a bit of a surprise, as both his parents had cardiac clearances (they'd been checked and were free of cardiac problems).
I didn't realize that some pups have heart murmurs as puppies and actually outgrow them as they grow. Teddy had an appointment yesterday with a cardiologist to have an echo cardiogram. The vet was looking to see if Teddy's heart had a physical defect or if this was something that Teddy would likely outgrow.
I don't know the particulars, but I do know this: the cardiologist found no problems with the heart, so there's a good chance he'll outgrow the murmur. He'll have to have another exam when he's six months old, but he's got the green light to continue his service dog training.
He had his first puppy class last night with Hero Dogs. Puppy training for a service dog is very similar to pet dog training. All puppies – service pups and pets – need to have good manners. Puppy class teaches all the pups how to greet nicely, how to have some self control, how to play nicely, and of course, the general good manners.
He had a few "time-outs" in puppy play for getting a bit rough, but we'll continue to encourage play with appropriate puppies and adult dogs. Over time, he'll hopefully learn to match his play-time enthusiasm to that of his playmates. If he doesn't, inappropriate behavior with other dogs is enough for a dismissal from the program. He's a long way from that happening, but it's something all service dog trainers and organizations have to keep an eye on. (And everyone else with a dog, for that matter!)
Our dogs here at home are really good at setting boundaries for Teddy. They'll give him a warning growl if he gets too close to them, a snarl if he ignores the growl, and finally an up-close, in-your-face, loud BARK! if he continues. That usually gets the message across and he appropriately modifies his behavior!
Stay tuned, there's always something going on when a new pup comes to live with us…