Narley is an eight-week-old Goldador. A golden retriever and Labrador retriever mix. He is a service puppy/dog in training. I have the privilege of acting as his puppy raiser for the next 14 to 16 months. My job is socializing him. He must learn basic obedience and house breaking. Then he learns specialized skills to aid him in becoming a service dog.
I do no formal training. I expose him to different places, places any person might travel. Restaurants, movies, grocery stores, and doctors’ offices to name a few. These experiences need to be age appropriate. Too much stimulation isn’t good. Envision sending a third grader to middle school.
Spending every day with the puppy and watching them grow and experience new things requires a full-time commitment. Getting attached to the pup is a given. The most common question, “how can you give them up?” It isn’t easy. Loving them comes naturally, letting them go doesn’t. Witnessing the joy and freedom they provide is reward enough. The dogs bless our lives.