Zipper the service dog’s training right on course

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DENVER -- At 19 weeks old, Zipper the service dog-in-training is a teenager.

And like any teenager, he can be defiant. But at this point in Zipper's training, dog trainer Mike Connors likes what he's seeing from his pupil.

"I'm very pleased with his progress. He is, for 19 weeks, very far advanced of where I would expect a puppy to be," Connors said.

At this stage in Zipper's training, he's still learning the basics.

"Zipper has pretty much figured out 'sit,' 'down,' 'leave it' and 'touch.' Those are four of his biggest tasks," Connors said.

Total classroom time for this canine is about five hours a week, which is pretty average for a pup his age.

"Dogs typically have a mental shutdown if they work too long. So a puppy can typically only go about 15 to 20 minutes, and then they need a break," Connors said.

The rest of Zipper's time is spent socializing, having play time, sleeping and still working on the potty training.

At this point, Connors gives his student a B-plus.

"He has some things he has to work on, like the whining we're seeing now, but as a puppy, I wouldn't expect anything less. I think he's very close to where he should be," Connors said.

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