In August, Foley entered professional training and he’s been a busy guy learning all that he can in his first month. He’s settled into his new routine and enjoys his time with his trainer. It’s been a lot of hard work but a ton of fun too!

The first few weeks of professional training started with basic evaluations. First, a medical evaluation to make sure he was in tip-top shape for his potential future as an assistance dog. Foley was then evaluated on his responses to environmental stimuli such as other dogs, people, toys, sounds and novel items. He even got to meet the campus cat, Johnny! These evaluations provide his trainer with a first glimpse at Foley’s temperament, including reactivity, distractibility, and confidence

After the initial evaluations are over, the fun stuff begins! Foley’s trainer has been reviewing and building upon familiar commands, which his puppy raisers introduced him to, such as “wait,” “bed” and “jump.” In addition to refining the basics, Foley is learning the foundation for new commands like “push” and “hold”. These new commands will be very helpful to a person with a disability who might need Foley to use a push plate to open a door or hold on to an item he’s picked up.

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It’s not all work all of the time for Foley. He gets plenty of time fetching balls (his favorite), playing with dog pals, and splashing in the bone-shaped dog pool (a must in sunny San Diego)! Even play time can be a learning opportunity: As an important part of play, his trainer is working with the dogs on appropriate interactions, recalls, and impulse control.

Foley has had a great first month in professional training and is ready to learn what it really takes to become an assistance dog.

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