Building a Rapport with Your (Service) Dog
VSEPR was invited to attend a disability advocacy certification class with me today! I didn’t expect him to last the entire 4 hour class so I was prepared to leave after an hour but he handled himself beautifully and settled right in the whole time. During lunch, I took his vest off so he could greet some people (his favorite thing!) and after I put his vest back on, he returned to focusing right away and not responding to people cooing and trying to pet him.
One of the more common questions I get is about my “biggest advice” to owner trainers. Aside from establishing a strong support system, the most valuable thing to any team is having an excellent rapport with your pup in my experience. Knowing when VSEPR has had enough and when he needs something (and what that thing is) means I can set him up for success most of the time. This rapport is established through everything- from trips to the park, cuddling, playing, walks, meal time, training, to outings and more… and it can be exhausting and it takes hours a day but it’s worth every minute in the end.