We know which pup will be ours for the next year and a half. The gigantic pup on top of the heap! For now, his name is Axel. We may be changing it once he arrives and we get an idea of his personality.
We're busy preparing for his arrival. Here are the things we're thinking about:
- where will he sleep at night (definitely crated, probably in our bedroom)
- where will he stay during the day when I'm out (definitely crated, possibly in bedroom crate)
- what toys do we need to get (interactive, food-stuffable toys)
- where will we take him to socialize, but not overwhelm him (downtown Frederick at off-hours, farmer's market, soccer games [we'll have to "adopt" a neighborhood child since we don't have any ourselves!]
- what skills will we teach first (shaping, self control, polite walking, sit to greet).
It's really important for this pup to have as many different experiences as possible - he's going to be a big dog and will need to be rock-steady as a service dog. He'll need to get used to as many different sights, sounds, surfaces, and environments as possible. All of that, however, must be done in a systematic, non-threatening way -- we'll make it as fun as possible using food, toys, and praise. And we'll be sure to watch him for signs of stress (averting his eyes, lip licking, tail and ear position, etc.).
Keep an eye on this blog, we'll update it as soon as we know more about our pup's arrival!