Much improved at Michaels

Today I took Alice to Michaels. When we went there last week it was at night time, and she’d never been out at night before. She was horrible! She would hardly walk even with bribing and stopped dead and refused to move past a display of scented candles. We ended up giving up and picking her up and leaving. It felt like such a disaster.

Well today she did SO much better! She walked through the doors with a minimum of sniffing the carpet between the doors. She did want to spend a minute just hanging out near the entrance to get her bearings, then happily walked around the store with a minimum of stopping.

She did hesitate when I asked her to go down aisles she’s not been down before, but I never once during the whole store had to bribe/lure her into walking forward. I was always able to get her to take at least one step and then reward her for it (I reward by either giving her some chicken from my hand or dropping some chicken on the floor—the displacement behavior of eating off the floor helps to reassure her).

We walked around several aisles in the store, greeted someone, and even worked on a little of the obedience exercises for the Manners Evaluation. Sit was no problem, but I was worried about walking past a treat on the ground. So far we’ve only practiced that a handful of times out in our neighborhood. She did great on it at the store today! So great that I even got a couple of pictures of her next to the treat on the floor! It is a tiny kibble (she loves these, but they are more of a mid-value treat than the chicken I use when doing public access training).

The only thing she wouldn’t do that’s on the Manners Evaluation is come on command. That’s one she’s been struggling with at home. She’ll do it fine if I’m sitting on the floor, but if I’m standing for some reason that’s totally different. So that’s the thing we need to work the most on before our Manners Evaluation mid-December.

As we were getting near the end of the store we passed right next to the scented candle display. She hesitated at it, but I was able to get her to walk past it. And this was even with someone walking along behind us (one of my fears is that we will slow people down and they will get annoyed with me).

Luckily the person behind us was happy to see Alice and friendly with me and told me to take my time. So I got to work on my hangup about slowing people down while Alice worked on walking past the candles.

Yay, I’m SO proud of Alice!

Below are two pictures of Alice, a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin in a purple harness. In the first one she is sitting and looking at the treat on the floor. In the second she is standing up and looking at the camera while licking her lips as the treat stays on the floor.

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