It's been a whole week since we started Sparky's "board & train" program. In that week, he's started peeing and pooping outside (hurray!) instead of in my house on my new area rugs. He's barking and baying a great deal less to get attention or to get what he wants. He's learned an amazing number of skills and has proven to be "off the chart" smart.
Most importantly, he's started to play with other dogs. Now, I can't tell you all how important it is to have the ability to like, get along with and play with other dogs. As I told his owner today, it will help him to be able to know he's a dog and not a four-legged human. Getting the canine interaction, learning to give and receive cues and just getting to play like a dog will help him to better assimilate into the human household as well. He's getting his needs met - play biting on other pups will alleviate his urge to bite on his owners. It will tire him out and satiate his need for play and interaction.
The biggest improvement of all is his attention and focus. Those of you who are not familiar with Beagles will not know this, but they are low to the ground and their noses and sense of smell dominate their behavior. To get Sparky to lift his nose off the ground and pay attention, especially on a walk is a huge feat. Slowly, we are accomplishing this goal. Like I told his owner, it's a labor of love. I want to give back to this military vet for all that he gave us in his three tours. I want to help him have the service animal he needs and deserves. For now, he's fast asleep and, hopefully, I will be too very soon. Keeping up with a young pup is exhausting!