Ace the Yellow Labrador is in training to become a guide dog with Guide Dogs of America. Recently he had the amazing opportunity to visit Disneyland and meet with Pluto, one of Ace’s heroes. Ace’s visit to Disneyland was a socialization experiment, a part of his training. His trainer, Sandy Steinblums, says that the objective of this experiment was for Ace to be calm and stay down, while Pluto tries to break his stay.
Ace is an adorable and hard-working Labrador Retriever who loves treats, hanging out with his buddies, and wearing cute costumes. In 2016, Ace began training to become a guide dog for the blind. Ace’s trainer, Sandy Steinblums, took him to tons of fun places to help him learn how to socialize. She took him and her other guide dogs-in-training to lots of different parks… …and she also took Ace to see Guys and Dolls at a local theater. Ace loved the show, and the cast loved meeting him!
One day, Sandy decided to take him to Disneyland for a socialization exercise. While there, sweet Ace got to meet one of his heroes: Pluto! Ace couldn’t contain his excitement when he saw Pluto. The pup’s tail didn’t stop wagging, and he tried his hardest to give Pluto a kiss on the nose. After saying hello to Pluto, Ace’s guide dog training kicked in. The pup laid down on his belly, facing Pluto. Pluto tried to get him to move, but he wouldn’t budge. The only part of his body that kept moving was his tail—it never stopped wagging! Sandy shared this adorable video of Ace on her Facebook page. It quickly went viral, receiving over 25 million views.
Everyone loved seeing how happy Ace was to meet Pluto. The dog’s joy is infectious! In the comments of the Facebook video, some people said that service dogs like Ace shouldn’t be pulling on the leash or jumping. Some commenters wondered why Ace was going against his training. Sandy quickly answered these commenters, explaining that Ace was still in training and still learning how to be a service dog.
She wrote: “We went to Disneyland for a few hours as a socialization experience — what you didn’t see AFTER the 14-15 seconds video where he settled in a DOWN was his DOWN/STAY for a few minutes while Pluto tried to break his stay… This was a training outing and I was too far back to correct him, but golly-be….he responded anyway. Yep! That is my boy and I am proud of him and love the Disney characters for being so kind and helpful! It will be 6-9 months of extensive training with licensed trainers before Ace has the opportunity to graduate as a guide dog and has the right match in a human partner.”