Service dog training involves exposing the dogs to as many different situations as possible, in a safe and fun way. When Talos was only 12 weeks old (and his house training was reliable), I started taking him to public places so he could see the world.
Once a week, I try to get out to lunch with my husband where I can expose Talos to some of the neatest socialization experiences. We've done this freight elevator a couple times before, but today I had the camera with me to capture just how noisy and large a freight elevator can be!
There are a few things to pay attention to in the video:
- I'm feeding Talos a relatively high value treat. He takes the treats most of the time. However, take note of when he refuses the treat I offer – that's a great way to gauge how much stress a dog is experiencing. If he won't take a treat, he's probably a little stressed.
- Watch how he's able to perform the behavior "touch" (touch my hand with his nose), but cannot sit when I ask him. The situation is simply too distracting for him. That's a training issue, not an obedience issue. In other words, that's my problem, not Talos' – I need to work with him more in distracting environments.
- Notice the position of his tail and his ears. The tail and ears can tell you a lot about what your dog is thinking and/or feeling. His tail is down, but not tucked, indicating that he may feel a little stress, but isn't terrified.
- After we exit the elevator and we're walking away, you'll hear the (very loud) buzzer and the clanking of metal. Notice the absence of any fear reaction from Talos. That's a good indicator that he was not wigged out by the entire experience. He just lopes along, happily beside me, waiting for the next adventure.