A preliminary match

Paws and hands

J.P. was preliminarily matched with a canine companion first thing Wednesday morning. If all goes well, the dog will return to our dormitory room on Thursday night and eventually graduate with us on May 17.

There was a short ceremony Wednesday morning when the matches were announced, and it appeared there were no big surprises. I think the staff at Canine Companions for Independence have this pretty well worked out from the beginning.

Shortly after the ceremony, we took another walk around campus and actually got to observe our dogs in playtime. That was extremely interesting to see them when they weren’t on the job. Many of us were surprised they can be real dogs.

We learned more commands for the dogs and practiced using them. We also became more involved in the toileting of our dogs and making sure they drank some water. There is also a command for that.

The same command, which is “OK,” is used for eating. The dogs don’t have access to free food and water, so you must give them the “OK” to consume.

Speaking of food and drink, some of the Canine Companions for Independence puppy raisers brought us our lunch today. Thanks so much to them for their hospitality.

During the afternoon session, we learned about resistance, which is the term used when the dog doesn’t follow commands, what causes resistance and how to correct it.

Paige and I both actually missed the memorable moment of the day. During a lecture, our dog was on a mat with J.P. in a down command. It’s a popular command used when the dog isn’t going to be needed for a while.

One of the trainers told us the dog heard J.P. cough and got up to make sure he was OK. She then got back in the down position.

That sounds like a good preliminary match to me. Check back tomorrow for more on the first night in the dorm with the dog.

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