Routine may be deadly for some people, but routine is what it takes to train a service dog along with its human.
Trooper and I have settled into a daily schedule that varies very little. It goes this way:
6 a.m. Up and outside for a whiz.
6:15 a.m. Breakfast.
|Service dog team power nap.|
7:30 to 8 a.m. Sound work training with the call of my name, with the door knock, and with the phone ringing.
8:45 to 9:15 a.m. Poop walk up the alley off Central Park Avenue. That alley is a boulevard for neighborhood dogs, therefore full of encouraging scents.
9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. A mile to a mile-and-a-half hike around the square hallway at the Levy Senior Center, paying especial attention to heeling. At about Lap 10 Trooper starts to lag back in boredom. Nothing interesting to smell, I guess, except geezers. But he does not seem to realize that in 5 degree weather, outdoor sports are inadvisable.
10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. We enjoy our various options—shopping, visiting, sightseeing, maybe lunching somewhere—and do so together, paying especial attention to Trooper’s behavior in public. In restaurants his deportment is very good, except that he chooses to stand for the first ten minutes or so instead of lie on the floor. He needs to learn to stay closer to me behind the shopping cart so that he doesn’t get run over by supermarket road rage.
Somewhere in that busy day, both Trooper and I take a power nap for 20 minutes or so.
3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Whiz.
4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. More sound work training. By this time Trooper is getting hungry, so he puts more oomph into running and jumping.
4:30 or 5 p.m. Trooper’s dinner.
6 p.m. Humans’ dinner, with Trooper lying quietly on the floor at my feet.
7:15 to 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays only: Beginning Obedience class at Unleashed Evanston.
9 p.m. Whiz, then bedtime. Trooper sleeps in a round doggy bed at my side.
Thanks to the added exercise, I’ve lost several pounds, and am sleeping more soundly. Routine becomes me as well as it does Trooper.