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It’s no secret being a service dog can be a lot of work. Even though you guys see a lot of working pictures and videos of Nala, I want you to know how much fun she gets to have on the job! I believe balance is extremely important in a service dogs’ life! Nala is such a hard worker, and I 100% believe in high value rewards on duty that doesn’t just include treats. • Nala spends a lot of her time helping me at Disney. It truly is my happy place! When we’re at Disney, I ALWAYS let Nala interact with the characters. She LOVES people but does not let that get in the way of her job. That being said, I also don’t want to deprive her from something she enjoys so much. Generally, I don’t let any guests pet her. Why? When one person sees someone petting a dog, we get very bombarded. Having autism makes it very hard for me to be surrounded by people and I don’t like it when people touch Nala without permission. As a way to let Nala get the love she deserves, I let the characters interact with her. So how is that different from letting guests interact? When we go up to meet characters, it’s a controlled situation. Only 1 party is allowed up at a time and I know we won’t be bombarded. A question you might ask is, “How does Nala know it’s okay to visit with someone verses keep her focus on me and work?” Nala has a 4 very important commands. The 1st one is, “watch me!” This means she’s supposed to make eye contact. The 2nd command is, “heel!” When I say “heel,” she knows she is working and supposed to ignore any distractions. The 3rd is, “go say hi!” This means that she is free to approach whoever is standing in front of us. The 4th command is, “free!” which means she can go be a normal dog. At the end of the day, Nala has a job to do. Even when she’s off duty or visiting characters, she responds to signals and is ready to help at any time. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get to have fun too 💜 • What are some ways you reward your service dog on duty besides food?