Day 2 – Service Dog Training

Whew! Today was much better on many levels. First of all, let me thank God for Claritin D Non-Drowsy so my eyes can stop itching without the sugar and caffeine kick of Mt. Dew. This made a huge difference and gave me a lot more patience. No one else seems to be having any allergy reaction at all.

Last night we decided to jump right in and let Truman spend his first night with us on Sophia’s bed with her. 4 Paws For Ability gives you a crate to take back to the hotel for your entire stay which is great. They leave it up to each family to determine if you are ready to start the sleeping routine or if you just want to go slow, you can use the crate. But we wanted to start his sleeping habits early and keep the bonding going strong. At first I was going to pull the mattress off the hide-a-bed and have Sophia and Truman sleep on that on the floor. But, Truman being like every other child of mine, gave me that look and within minutes they were both in the big comfy bed.

I’m not sure which member of our family got less sleep last night. I know Sophia slept great. She was exhausted from the events of the day and Truman laid next to her which I think was comforting to her. Gresham, my 12 year old started sleep walking, and my husband slept on the hide-a-bed as our bedroom was a bit crowded with four people and a large dog. I slept about as well as the first night home from the hospital with my first baby. I kept sitting up and checking on Truman and Sophia. For some reason I got a bit nervous and thought he would roll over on her, but of course he never did.

I am quite certain that Truman did not sleep all night. Maybe I forgot a command to “FREE” him from his duty! Every time I sat up to check on him, which was often, he turned his head and looked right at me. By morning when we got in the car, he closed his eyes and looked very tired. The trainers said the first night away is tough on the dogs too with new surroundings. The amazing part is that Truman never got off the bed from 10:00 at night to 6:30 in the morning!

I got up at 6:30 and took him outside. We went for a nice walk. I forgot how much I like to wake up early and get outside to breath that 90 degree morning humidity! Yes, it is very, very hot here. It was fun to see all of the other families walking and practicing with their dogs too. It kind of feels like a family camp. I let Sophia sleep for a long time. When we came back from a walk, we woke her up and I got her breakfast at the table. I walked Truman over to her chair, gave the “DOWN” command and he sat there at her feet while she ate. This is something we wanted him to do for her. HUGE success. Almost seemed too easy.

All in all, by the time training started this morning, I had much more confidence. Sophia on the other hand, wrote me a note “Mom I am going to the away.” Excited that one she can write these words, and also excited that she can express this feeling, was at a loss for what to do with her. I asked Jeremy if the children NEEDED to be in the afternoon session and he said not today. So I stayed with Truman to practice walking and dad took Sophia back to the hotel to swim. She was satisfied with Away = Pool.

Today’s big lessons:

- Pack the doggie bag better. This has been the biggest challenge. Every time I need a treat, a bag, a chew toy, a leash, whatever it is, I can’t seemed to find it. I feel like I need to have everything on me at all times. I have a backpack for all of Truman’s things but definitely think a duffel bag would be a bit easier to find things quickly. Can you tell this is my first time having a dog?

- Be prepared to wash your clothes often. Training gets you dirty. Today I had to sit on the floor of the training center to practice the command “LAP.” I really don’t want to sit anywhere else after sitting on that floor. If you are coming for a class, be prepared to wash often.

- I love my 7 year old daughter Cece, but made a decision to keep her at my sisters for the first few days. This was a really, really good decision. Sophia is getting plenty of time bonding to Sophia on Sophia’s pace. This is a worry for some of the parents here, that the dog will bond with a sibling faster than the child the dog is for. Frankly, Cece would have been bored out of her mind and that would have resulted in classic Cece drama which in turn would take the attention off sophia. I miss her like crazy and can’t wait for her to meet Truman but as Martha Stewart would say, “this is a good thing!”

The car rides are also getting a bit easier for all of us.

Tomorrow will be day 3 and we will already be going out in public to practice the teathering. The confidence between day 1 and day 2 is 100% better. And for all of you coming later this year…this is soooooo worth the wait and energy of fundraising! You are going to love this!


  1. Nancy Tally says:

    Emily, love your format and your writing style.
    Will be coming back to check out past blogs. My home is so sensory unfriendly I can use all the help I can get.
    So longing we were still part of August Hot Dogs but so needing the added time coming in Sept will bring us.
    Becca’s ankle seems to be healing well.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the feedback. It is taking me a while to get everything up on my blog so if you have a specific thing you want ideas on, send me a note on my blog and I’ll see what I can help with.

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