We have been raising an Assistance dog for the last 2 years; and to be honest, it has been hard work. Not just the commitment to 100% adherence to the rules of training engagement. But also, our dog’s inability to do what she is supposed to do across the whole spectrum of skills. She is 90% there, but that lagging 10% never seems to improve.
Namely, getting on the counter to see if there is food; sniffing the floor likewise; and a bit of prey drive that overwhelms her self-control when it comes to things like balls.
I had forlornly given into the idea that she would eventually be cut from the program (once they saw her in action outside of video and zoom calls). Then, an enterprising trainer suggested we train her to find the ball. Instead of assistance to a person – where she seemed uninterested – she could help by finding stuff – a sniffer dog.
Her work ethic plus her food obsession seems to be a great combination. She is being assessed to leave the program and go and live her best life as a trainee sniffer dog, possibly uncovering bacteria in hospitals.
Life is simple, folks. Harness your innate orientation in pursuit of common purpose with the right others. Doggo may be about to find hers, to unleash her unique genius on the world, for good. Note to self.
This Much We Know.