Pup'prentice Project - FAQ
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What do I do if someone wants to pet my dog?
Should my puppy/dog approach people?
How do I tell people "NO" you canít pet my puppy/dog?
Find your sense of humor!

What do I do if someone wants to pet my dog?
You can say "yes" and practice having your puppy/dog "sit to greet" or just stay by your side, allowing the petter to approach while you keep your puppy/dog as calm as you can. Dogs will react differently to different energy. Excited children may amp up your dog so keep the petting session short and move on. You can also practice saying "NO" -- indeed, that is an option. If everyone you meet pets your dog he begins to have a sense of entitlement. Your dog needs to learn that sometimes it's just conversation and they are not a part of it. Not all people want to pet a dog and having "conversations" with your dog at your side, patiently waiting is appropriate and often the best option. It's a great lesson!

Should my puppy/dog approach people?
A good therapy dog loves interacting with people. They "seek and enjoy" human company. But impulse control is important. When you want your puppy/dog to go forward to "say hi", invite them to do so. First say "Wait" and follow up with a pointing motion toward the visiting person and say the words, "say hi" and allow the puppy/dog to go forward, ahead of you. THIS is important: keep the experience short and use the opportunity to call the puppy/dog back to your side after a short visit. So it's "say hi" followed up with "right here" or "by me", a command that means come back to me and be by my side. If a greeting went poorly, ask that person if they will approach your puppy/dog again and give you another shot at getting it right.

How do I tell people "NO" you canít pet my puppy/dog?
We know this can be awkward but it's necessary, sometimes the puppy has to sit and not be petted. You can either say "I'm sorry but he's having a lesson right now and we are working on holding still with people passing by." Or you can say "No, she is working right now. She can't get a pet, but maybe later." Most people are very accepting of a vested dog's goals and will respect their mission. That said, you can also say, "Sorry, you can't pet her but would you like to help me?" Then you can ask that person to ask your puppy to "Sit" and IF she does, that person can offer her a treat or pet her. Take advantage of a person who is willing to help. Your puppy/dog needs to learn to respond to other people's wishes so sitting for strangers or lying "down" is great practice. Treats from strangers are okay if it is for an obedient act.

Find your sense of humor!
This is mandatory. Your puppy/dog will most likely be a part of your most embarrassing moments but enjoy it! Laugh, they are dogs, they will be silly and they and you will make mistakes, itís normal. Part of volunteering with your dog is to make others feel better. So you should be feeling good also as you are on this journey.

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