The first class in March was held at the Briargate YMCA in Colorado Springs. Fortunately, we didn’t have too many puppies show up for class. A number of areas we visited didn’t have much room for puppies and handlers.
After meeting in the lobby, Jayme (our instructor) had everyone move into a near by meeting room. She went over how we should move from one facility to another and behave while watching the activities. She also reminded our people that they should stay out-of-the-way of people exercising as well.
Our first stop was the swimming pool Most of us puppies, and some of our people too, thought that the swimming pool area didn’t smell too good. Blech! All the puppies enjoyed watching people in the pool. After watching for a few minutes we walked around the pool to the top of a slide that goes into the pool.
Our next stop was the basketball courts. All the puppies were very interested in watching people toss basketballs around.
After watching basketball for a few minutes, we headed over the racquetball courts. These people were playing with puppy sized balls! Woohoo! We all loved watching them run around chasing after the balls.
Our last stop was the fitness facility. The fitness area is a large and very busy area. Lots of people and lots of equipment moving around and making noise. Jayme had the handlers walk the puppies around the free weights area, keeping the puppies out of everyone’s way. Afterwards, the puppies walked around the treadmills and stationary bicycles. The puppies enjoyed watching people on the equipment. None of the puppies were bothered by any of the equipment.
Our first puppy class in February was canceled because of bad weather. Our next class was held at California Casualty (Karen and Kodi’s workplace). Everyone met in the lobby and then headed back to the cafeteria.
We had a surprise instructor this time, Sandy. Normally, we have Jayme whipping (no actual whips involved in any of our classes) the puppies into shape. This time Sandy had the puppies work with different people. Some puppies weren’t too happy about working with another handler while their “mom” or “dad” was still in the area.
Sandy had the puppies all do a “heel” next to our handlers and tried to distract the puppies by rolling a ball passed them. Most of puppies sat and watched the ball roll on by. No one jumped to chase after the ball.
We had a fun class at an American Medical Responsible facility. AMR was nice enough to allow Paw Pals puppies and their people to ride in an ambulance.
Our puppy raisers got on the gurney while the puppies watched the AMR staff strap-in the handlers. All the puppies did very well and didn’t become problem for AMR. After the raisers were loaded in the ambulance, the AMR staff loaded the puppies in the ambulance. Most puppies didn’t have a problem getting in the cramped ambulance. There’s not a lot of space left in the ambulance after the gurney and attendant are inside. The puppies that didn’t want to get in the ambulance probably didn’t like the non-slip bumper and step.
Jayme, our instructor, held this week’s puppy class at Bass Pro in Colorado Springs. Jayme had us go around the store and do all sorts of different commands. The raisers worked the puppies on the right side (normally, most doggies work on the left side, but service puppies in training have to work on both sides). The puppies practiced doing “up” on some window sills, “under” beneath some display tables. Jayme had the raisers work with different puppies. This gets the puppy used to receiving commands from people other than “mom” or “dad.”
For our September 15th class we went to Rampart Range High School to attend the Volunteer Day Fair the school was having.
We set a table with information about Paw Pals and our need of volunteer puppy sitters. We kept a couple of puppies by the information table, while the rest of the puppies were in the space behind the table having class. We rotated the puppies between class and the table. All the puppies did very well in a high distraction environment.