When a service dog in training meets a human-sized Pluto, he's not at all sure how he should react.
Service dogs are trained to deal with all sorts of situations that a typical dog might never encounter. They are trained to stay calm in chaotic situations, to ignore distractions and stay focused on their owners, and to resist temptations like sniffing the ground or eating while they're working. But this service dog probably never imagined that he would encounter a human-sized dog like Pluto.
Pluto might seem spry, but he's older than many of grandparents and great-grandparents, having first emerged on the Disney canvas in 1930 an an unnamed character. Initially named Rover in his second debut, he was finally dubbed Pluto in 1931, after the oft-misunderstood and recently downgraded dwarf planet. Unlike the Planet, Pluto the dog's notoriety has only continued to grow as he was animated in the 1990s and beyond.
Pluto is considered one of the "sensational six" of Disney stardom, sharing the title with blockbuster characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse themselves. He is officially considered Mickey Mouse's pet dog, though during one of his earlier debuts he was considered Minnie Mouse's pet instead. Though often identified as a bloodhound of some sort, Pluto's official designation is that of a mixed breed dog.
While the jury is still out on why Goofy is a talking dog but Pluto sticks to typical dog behavior, it's clear that both Disney fans and service dogs alike are over the moon for this Planet-inspired pup. Videos abound of service dogs meeting Pluto for the first time, usually with their owner, and while most would consider meeting Pluto an out of this world experience, this service dog in training wasn't quite sure how to react.
Service Dog Meets Pluto
That's when things get interesting. The person playing Pluto certainly has fun with the situation, and even tries their best to "play" with the service dog in training. And while this service dog definitely gets excited and is interested in the strange animals that he's encountered, he actually contains his excitement quite well, a testament to the training that he's received so far.
See for yourself!
Training a service dog is a long, involved process. Because service dogs must be able to work in public safely, and because their owners' safety may depend on their obedience and focus, most service dogs train for more than a year before becoming official service dogs. While in training, service dogs are exposed to many stimuli and varied situations, such as this dog meeting Pluto.
During their training, service dogs must learn how to behave appropriately, even when situations may be overwhelming. They cannot jump up on people in excitement, and can't pull at their leashes in order to try to get to an object. Service dogs also can't bark or otherwise be distracting. And all of this training is in addition to the training that a dog needs in order to learn how to perform his specific duties.
Service dogs are trained to perform tasks like retrieving items, helping their owners to balance and walk, alerting their owners to impending medical issues, and more. It's no wonder that service dogs require so much training.
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This article was originally published May 19, 2016.
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