Canine Companions dog and South Central Region namesake, Kinkeade, has been a busy guy at the Baylor Scott & White Health Kinkeade Campus these last couple of months. From getting settled in, to beginning his training, there has been lots of hard work and lots of fun.
During the first few weeks of professional training Kinkeade began settling in and went through some evaluations. First was a check to be sure he is completely healthy – a very important attribute of a future assistance dog.
Next, the trainers walked Kinkeade through different tests to evaluate his responses to things like a stuffed animal running by, new dogs and people, and fun toys. This allowed them to see how focused he can remain in distracting environments. Kinkeade was also evaluated on things such as what he finds motivating and exciting.
After the initial evaluations are done, the fun begins! Kinkeade’s puppy raiser taught him around 30 basic commands that the trainers will build on to teach the more advanced commands. All of the basic commands will also be generalized around campus and in different public areas, and eventually around a wide variety of equipment. This is one of the many reasons the hard work of volunteer puppy raisers in those first 18 months is so important.
Kinkeade has already learned many commands in professional training, including ‘push’ and ‘get.’ Kinkeade might use these commands to help someone shut a door or drawer, or pick up a dropped item and hold it in his mouth. As you can see, he is already on the right track to perfecting these commands.
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