One of the many benefits of being the TODAY Show puppy is that Wrangler has the opportunity to be exposed to many novel objects and to meet unusual strangers in Studio 1A. As a guide dog, Wrangler will come across any number of foreign and distracting objects, but needs to know how to stay focused and keep his handler safe despite what may be in his path. The exposure he receives now as a young pup allows Wrangler to practice staying calm and unafraid in exceptional situations.
On Wrangler Wednesday, our puppy made three very interesting friends on the TODAY Plaza: Bob, Stuart and Kevin. These three were big, yellow characters from the new movie Minions. Of course, we know these were just regular people dressed in Minions costumes, but to Wrangler, they were entirely new creatures who were able to move, walk and even talk. When Wrangler and I approached Bob, Stuart and Kevin, Wrangler showed no fear or hesitation. When I allowed Wrangler to say “hello” to these new beings, he approached them, wagged his tail, accepted petting from all three, and even bestowed some puppy kisses upon them. Even though something may be different or unlike anything he has ever seen before, it is important Wrangler learns there is no reason to fear it . These positive experiences with strange objects will allow Wrangler to stay relaxed and focused when he comes across new things as a guide dog. Wrangler’s reaction to the Minions is exactly the sort of unflappable nature we like to see in a future guide dog.
While the Minions’ time in Studio 1A may have come to an end, Wrangler will be attending the movie next week. This will be another socialization experience for him to add to his growing library – a chance to practice staying calm and settled throughout the duration of the movie. Thank you, Minions, for helping our Puppy with a Purpose on his journey to becoming a guide dog! Support Wrangler’s journey, click here to make a donation.