Puppy on deck

On Monday we had puppy class! This class we met on the top level of the parking deck instead of in the pavilion.

Puppy Alice sits on a blanket and looks at the camera as Veronica looks down the parking deck to the other participants.

We spent a large part of class talking about what our puppies had been doing in the past week, and on the importance and theory of recalls. We were supposed to do restrained recalls this class.

With a wheelchair in the background, Veronica sits on a blanket and smiles down at Alice who is looking back up at her.

However, for the week before class, I’d been using the manual wheelchair and Alice was not doing well with it. I had been just sitting outside in it, clicking and treating for her looking at me. It hadn’t been going well, in large part because I was using the wrong treats.

Seen through the metal tubes of the wheelchair, Alice looks resolutely ahead.

I was trying to use the peanut butter squeeze tube, which Alice suddenly and inexplicably was afraid of. So then I used kibble, which was too low value.

Erin came over to talk with me at the start of restrained recall work, which it was clear I could not do from my wheelchair as I can hardly push myself—especially on the super wavy ground of the parking deck (Brad had to tow me from the car to my spot).

Erin stands next to Veronica in the wheelchair, as Veronica gives Alice a treat.

We talked about it, and Brad and Erin said it sounded like Alice might be in a fear period, which makes a lot of sense. We decided I should continue working on watches from the wheelchair, trying to get Alice more comfortable approaching it to take treats.

Veronica smiles as she bends over to give Alice a treat.

So that’s what I did for the rest of class, and it went really well! She was looking at me quite a bit, and taking treats. The secret was chicken breast! That’s the treat I was using in class.

From the side, Alice is in front of Veronica and has her mouth open as if she’s talking.

About 10 minutes before class ended, Alice had to use the bathroom, but there was no way I could get across the parking lot to the elevator, down, potty Alice, and back up. So I watched everyone as Brad took her. By then Alice was pretty much done with training, so we just hung out and watched and listened for the rest of class.

Alice sticks her tongue out as she reaches for the treat.

For others it might not have seemed like we did much, just sitting there, but it was a big breakthrough to us. Since that time, Alice has gotten loads better, but Monday’s class was the first time Alice started to get comfortable around the manual wheelchair (she’s totally fine if I go in Brad’s power wheelchair!).

Alice stands in the parking deck and looks at the camera with her head slightly cocked.

Brad brought a bigger light on a light stand and got a lot of pictures this time! In them, I have my hair in a ponytail and I’m wearing my old glasses. I have a purple shirt and blue leggings with paw prints on them. Alice is a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin puppy wearing pink striped PJs at first, and then a purple coat.

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