Hayden II

Posted on: in [ Service Dogs in Training ]

Sponsor Announcement

I am named in honor of Bob and Barb Hayden. I feel so honored to represent their name and I hope to make them proud throughout my training!

Hayden's Journey

Stage 1 Introduction

Hello! My name is Hayden. I am proud to have been selected to enter into the Retrieving Freedom training program. My parents are Greta from RidgeView Labradors and Romeo from Clearwater Labradors. During this stage of training I will be spending approximately 8-10 months with my new volunteer foster, Sue.

Throughout Stage 1, I will learn the basics obedience, public behavior, and a lot of socialization. I understand that it takes a very special dog to complete the program as there is a high standard to become a Service Dog. I am aware that I may be one of the dogs whose purpose is outside of service work so I will be updating my profile on a monthly basis for all that would like to follow my journey through the program. 

September 2020 - 7 weeks old


I transitioned into my foster home this month! Sue and her family will guide me over the next several months, giving me the best foundation for my training. First, we will work on learning my name, potty training, crate training, and walking on a leash!

October 2020 - 2 months old


At the beginning of this month, I had the pleasure of being the (cutest) center of attention at a banquet. I was able to meet my sponsors, the Hayden's. I'm doing great at potty training and have been getting used to my vest! I take trips into public 2-3 times per week. I tend to show a little hesitation at first, but eventually I warm up to the idea of going inside and do great!

November 2020 - 3 months old


I have been going to the office with my foster, Sue. I'm working on staying close to her when I'm not crated in the office. This is difficult because I love to be social and interact with the other adults! I play with various toys to keep busy throughout the day. Even as a puppy, I take time to snuggle up with a good buddy to listen to him read. It's important that I take time to relax each day, outside of my training sessions and play time!

December 2020 - 4 months old


When I attend monthly puppy classes at the Retrieving Freedom facility, I spend a lot of time working near other people and the dogs they're handling. I tend to take a little bit before I'm comfortable with new people. These classes are a great way to surround myself with new people and dogs, and to try to overcome my shy tendencies. I'm gaining confidence when greeting strangers and working in busy environments, and currently working on holding commands for longer periods of time.

February 2021 - 6 months old


Sue and I continue to attend monthly training classes, where we work on various skills with the trainers at Retrieving Freedom. After the training session, I was able to run around and play with friends my size, Story and Sasha! I have increased duration with my "sit," "down," and "place" commands. While on a public outing at Menards I practiced my "left" and "right" commands, which I performed well along with an appropriate heel next to my handler. I am working on behaving better through a church service.

March 2021 - 7 months old

I traveled to Menards again and am working on not being startled by strangers. I barked at the very beginning of the trip, but ended on a positive note of staying calm and confident!

April 2021 - 8 months old

Sue and I have gone on public training outings to her work, Menards, Home Depot, Target, and HyVee. I still tend to vocalize at strangers, but I've shown improvements and overall do quite well.

May 2021 - 9 months old

I have increased the duration for performing commands. I continue to let out a few barks at the office with Sue, so we are working on fixing this as soon as possible. I do overall very well at stores and other public places, and surprised Sue by behaving perfectly at a baseball game.

June 2021 - 10 months old


July 2021 - 11 months old


I spent my first weekend at the training facility this month! Sue called it a simulated turn in, which should help me transition into formal training next month. I did pretty good, but am still working on a barking issue.