ATLANTA - Max has been one busy puppy, making lots of progress and learning a number of things as he works to become a service dog. One thing in particular includes learning the phrase "like me."
"Dogs naturally mimic behaviors," Max's Canine Assistants instructor Kristen LaFevers said on Good Day Atlanta Thursday morning. "So, we try to tap into that."
The Golden Retriever is constantly working with his small team of fosters to understand what "like me" means, in addition to many other words and phrases. This week, "like me" was used to help Max learn how to push an elevator button.
Kristen put her hands on the wall below an elevator button located inside FOX 5 and asked Max to "like me." He then mimicked her behavior, jumping up and putting his paws on the wall.
"He's just following a treat now, but he's learning to put his paws up on the wall," Kristen explained. "Normally we wouldn't want him to jump up on people, but here we would want him to jump to be able to push the button."
Max's current foster, Neil, then practiced with Max at the elevator, and the pup jumped up toward the button right away.
Max will eventually be matched with a veteran in need, and Kristen said his recipient will one day be able to ask him, "Max, can you push that for me?"
LEARN MORE: Operation Max
This week, Max has also been working on learning the word "touch," as well as being in public, staying focused while walking with his foster and opening drawers by tugging on a bandana. He stays very busy!
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