Seva got her backpack! She has been getting accustomed to it at home. Service dogs even learn to dress themselves.
1. Seva has to show interest in the pack, e.g. by nosing it. I click and treat.
2. I hold up the pack and hold the kibble out in front of it.
3. To receive her reward, Seva has to walk through the pack so the chest strap is in its proper position.
We’ve been working with the pack for a few weeks now, and Seva will walk into it before I click. It’s as though she got bored with the intermediate step of nosing it. I hold it, she puts it on. She keeps it simple and expedites her reward!
Eventually, she’ll be able to find her pack and bring it to me. The dogs do as much of the work as possible. To get them to that point the pack has to be a wonderful thing. The other day, I was going to remove her pack and gentle leader before putting the rest of her kibble in the bowl, but she got so excited when I took out a packet of Fortiflora (digestive enzymes for dogs) that I left her gear on. Never miss an opportunity to form a positive association.
Now, if you see us out and about, Seva will be dressed in her Helping Paws pack. She carries her own business cards–please ask for one!