ATLANTA - Max the puppy has moved into the FOX 5 Newsroom and he's making himself feel right at home.
The future service dog is currently working with Digital Producer Katie Muse and staying with her at her home in Brookhaven. He made the move to the newsroom after spending his first two weeks in the sales department with Account Executive Donna Bell.
LEARN MORE: Operation Max
"Operation Max" is well underway, and the 14-week-old Golden Retriever has already learned a lot. A small team of FOX 5 employees have worked closely with Canine Assistants Instructor Kristen LaFevers to ensure Max receives the best possible education to help prepare him to serve a veteran in need.
Max is currently learning how to answer "yes" and "no" questions by tapping his nose to a person's palm. He's also spending a lot of time learning to be in synch with the person he's with. For example, if Katie is sitting at her desk in the Digital Center, she uses the phrase "like me," asking the pup to kindly do what she's doing.
In addition to synchronization, Max is being socialized to a number of items, including elevators and wheelchairs. He's also socializing with people, too! Max is learning how to greet strangers by going out into the community with one of his designated fosters. He's already been to a number of places, including the Cheesecake Factory, the Georgia Dome and the mall!
He's still a young puppy, so, of course, it's crucial he gets to enjoy just being a dog. That involves a lot of exercise and love with his FOX 5 foster family.
Max is also learning to trust his person. We use words like "Ick" to teach him, socially, that picking up or eating an inappropriate object isn’t a good idea rather than simply telling him not to do it. When he trusts our input, he will exhibit model behavior out of willingness, not out of fear. Other words include: “gentle,” “relax,” “settle,” and “patience.” As he learns to respond to our social feedback, he will feel both secure and confident, ready to take on the world.
Since Max is currently working with Katie, he's spending a lot of time in the FOX 5 Digital Center, monitoring his Twitter account @FOX5Max very closely. Follow him on Twitter to learn more about his journey.