Eli's progress this week has been very good. He has definitely gotten used to the "sit" command. He has even executed "sit" with distractions. We're going to move on to practicing "sit" with the addition of "stay".
Eli and I have also been working on "come", both on and off leash. He certainly seems as though he's eager to perform what I am requesting of him. Being on leash is an area we need to do some work on, though.
In order to graduate from "in training", Eli must master the basic obedience skills: "Sit, Stay, Come, Down, Heel" and a dropped leash recall in a store in response to verbal commands and/or hand signals. Of course, there are also standards for manners he must display.
An assistance dog should be given a minimum of one hundred twenty hours of schooling over a period of six months or more. At least thirty hours should be devoted to outings that will prepare the dog to work obediently and unobtrusively in public places. The one hundred twenty hours of schooling includes the time invested in homework training sessions between obedience classes or lessons from an experienced dog trainer. I have researched and contacted professional trainers and am hoping to begin "basic training" on a professional level mid-May.