Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Day 82

First off there was a consultation to do on a biting dog. Once again, Sanity is sent to the dog bed just outside the office doorway and told to do a down/stay. Unlike yesterday, today she only needs one reminder. When we reach the 45 minute mark I explain to the client that I will now be bringing a dog into the room as an added "wrinkle" to the training we are doing. With that I get up, move the gate, clip a leash to Sanity's collar and call her into the office. Once there I tell her to "Up" onto the loveseat. It takes a couple of tries, some guidance on my part and finally a correction for lack of compliance before she ever so carefully half jumps, half climbs onto the loveseat and then once there is more than willing to do a down/stay again.

Meanwhile, the other dog is barking, lunging, screaming and I am coaching the owner to continue to "do nothing". Since she is already doing my "sit on the dog" exercise and since each and every lunge is causing a correction, I really don't see the need for anything else.

Sure enough, within 5 minutes of the time Sanity came into the room and settled on the loveseat the other dog had stopped lunging and was quiet. After 10 minutes of being totally ignored by two humans and one young pup, this recalcitrant rover finally got the hint and laid down beside his owner. EUREKA! Now we have the dog doing what it is supposed to do and the owner gets to see that it is possible. Thanks to Sanity, we sign up another student. So it would seem that this pup is truly in the outstanding and special category. She has actually gone to work at five months of age. WOW! Even I am impressed.

Went to the drug store for the first time today. I really need to figure out a way to get some pictures of how Sanity looks when she goes into a new kind of store for the first time. All big eyes, nose twitching, ears going in six directions at once. She actually seems relieved when I halt to look at something and tell her to sit.

This was one of those annoying times when as we are coming around the end of a row a store employee is coming the other way. We start to pass one another and this fool screams like a girl, leaps back, yells DOG and flees in the opposite direction. I make no response externally other than to tell Sanity she is a good girl. Internally I wonder if I am in for another fight. Sanity is properly and clearly identified by her vest. I am well versed in state law, but this is the same drug store that tried to toss Wrap and I out a couple of years ago. With a deep breath on my part we continue to shop.

Sure enough, not two minutes later here comes the screamer trailing along behind a supervisor. Thank goodness, wonder of wonders, the time spent with the earlier incident pays off. The supervisor sees Sanity's vest, reads OUT LOUD what it says and then tells me she sure is a pretty little thing and do I need any help finding things or lifting things? "No I don't, but thank you for asking and yes, I think she is pretty myself. Yes you are correct. She is working now and no you can't pet her. Thank you for asking." As we continue to shop I can still hear the lecture about service dogs being given to the screamer. So it really does pay to know your rights and stand your ground and then insist the parent company do a better job with employee education.

In the check out line, Sanity moves forward each time the cart inches forward. Sometimes she remembers to sit when we halt and sometimes I remind her. Once she reaches the age where she will start to wear a shoulder pack and carry my "stuff" for me I will have her stand or lie down during times like this as an energy conservation move, but for right now sitting is a good move. Everyone in the line and in the next line over starts talking about her. One man recognizes that she is only a puppy and he starts a rather loud conversation about how when he was younger all dogs behaved "just as good as that pup". He and I are of about the same age and I am forced to agree with him. After checking out, we head back to the car and home.

In the retrieve department, we were pretty lax today. Only did a couple of arm's length reaches BUT the hold is coming along nicely. She carried her dumbbell out the door, down the ramp and then oops! dropped it at the bottom of the ramp where the footing changes. Back in her mouth for a brisk walk around the parking lot. Dropped it once and then carried it all the way back in the house and sat to give it to me. Guess that marks some progress.

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