Apparently, the first 16 weeks of a dog's life, who is to be a Medical Alert Service Dog, are crucial in the dog becoming in tuned to their person. As part of Eli's training, he is to be held close to my chest as much as possible. This is rather pleasant training ~ for both of us. However, it can be difficult. I would like to get one of those baby slings.
It is also a little tough to have to take Eli everywhere. This is like having an infant. He needs to get dressed in his special "Service Dog In Training" sweater, which I crocheted for him and applied the patch I was given. He gets packed into his carrier with the blanket I crocheted for him, and I have to pack up my tote bag with my purse, his leash, clicker, treats, and doggy "mess" bags (just incase). Nevermind that I need to carry these things while using my cane for balance. I was hesitant to leave the house before! Having all this in tow makes outings extra hard, but it's important in Eli's training to make sure he's with me and gets socialization.
When I say "with me", I mean WITH ME. Service dogs must be trained to never leave their handler's side. Eli's doing pretty well with this. He shows that he wants to be near me and definitely looks for me if I leave the room without him. When I take a shower, he's in the bathroom with me and he does not like that he can't see me behind the curtain. His whimpering will hopefully subside once he gets used to the idea. This is a very positive note for his training, though. And showers are not positive experiences for me. My symptoms become exacerbated by the heat.
My decision to create a blog about training Eli came about because his achievement milestones and areas that need strengthening should be journaled. Blogging is the easiest way for me to do that. I also hope this may help someone else who has the need for mighty-but-tiny helper.