Yesterday I wrote about how having a service dog is not just about holding the leash. Today I met a couple friends at Panera for lunch and I counted the number of commands I issued. Lunch lasted less than one hour and from the time we got into the car at our house until the time we got into the car after lunch, I issued 14 commands to Isaac. So much for the idea of just holding the leash and issuing a couple of commands in an entire day.
I paid attention to what else I had to do in order to care for and properly handle my service dog while in the restaurant, as well. I realized that I had to pay close attention to where Isaac was at all times. For instance, when I told him to go under the table and lie down, he did, and he did it the first time I told him. But I had to look under the table to make sure he was in a good spot, that he wasn't hogging the foot room so that my friends had room to put their feet down.
Later on I could tell he was wiggling under there and I had to look again to see what he was doing. Turned out he wanted to smell my friend's shoe, which is fine, but I had to make sure he wasn't trying to lick something, to eat something he found under there, to put his head in my friend's lap, to get my friend to pet him, etc.
And before we even got to the table, while we were waiting in line to order our food, Isaac lay down on the floor to wait. I had to check to make sure he was in a good spot, not taking up too much room, not in the way.
And when I went to get my iced tea, I had to pay attention to what Isaac was doing while I was filling my glass.
There was a lot more to it than just holding the leash.
Oh, and when we were leaving, a little kid about six or seven asked if he could pet my dog. I had to decided whether or not to let him, give him my answer, and handle that situation.
A lot more than just holding the leash.