Dog Days At Practice: Team Pup Captain Joins Capitals at MedStar Capitals Iceplex

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Since he joined the team in October, “Caps Pup” Captain has developed a special relationship with the players, and in addition to his training to be a service dog, has delighted many in and outside the organization in his interactions with members of the team. On Friday morning, Captain joined the Caps at their practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and NoVa Caps Photographer Joe Noyes (@joe_noyes_photography) was on hand to capture the magic.

While he is nearly six-months old, Captain is still very much a puppy and his curiosity and playfulness was on full display on Friday morning:

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And a visit from Captain wouldn’t be complete without some quality time with best bud Garnet Hathaway, who indulged the young Labrador on MedStar’s ice with some one-on-one time.

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Captain also wished defenseman John Carlson a Happy 30th Birthday!

Captain also showed off how well he does around distractions, such as food and toys, with his handler Deana Stone and Capitals’ staff members, in the upper-level of MedStar. The recently-turned five and a half month old pup was recently given a rating of 14/10 by WeRateDogs and is working on socialization and basic training with the Caps through Winter of 2020, before he begins work to prepare him for life as a service dog for America’s VetDogs. Captain will be joined by a second “Caps Pup” sometime this year, as sponsored by the team.

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5 1/2 month old Captain and his puppy raiser have been training with @capitals staff members who are learning to be puppy raisers. In these videos they practiced handling Captain around distractions. Video 1: Captain did a great job with the weasel ball. Video 2: he walked nicely by a pile of food. Video 3: he did a wonderful job of not going after food dropped on the floor near him. Video 4: he was being distracted by his puppy raiser and another person. This made him a bit excited, but he stayed right with the person who was walking him. These are all tough skills for a 5 1/2 month old, but he did so great!! Way to go buddy!!! The power of positive reinforcement!! ❤️🐾 @capspup

A post shared by America's VetDogs (@americasvetdogs) on

Captain has added so much to the Capitals this season and in turn, they too are adding so much to his development for life with a disabled veteran or first responder. Not only has he grown in size, but the young lab puppy’s development and social skills have grown by leaps, bounds, and some ice skating since he joined the Caps in October.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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