Today I took Alice to Ross for the first time. It was quite a complicated store, even though we did go first thing in the morning!
They did not have sliding doors, which are the type of door Alice prefers. They had regular doors that you have to pull open. Alice handled them like a champ and walked in confidently!
When we were about 4 feet into the store, there was a giant crash from behind one of the registers. Like maybe a cart smashing into something or something being dropped. This startled Alice! She wanted to stand where she was and observe instead of moving forward. So we stood there in the entrance, with me feeling like a fool, for about a minute while Alice got her bearings.
Then we headed further into the store. We walked down one of the main aisles, and heard children shrieking. This caused Alice to pause, but then she walked along.
Throughout the store, Alice walked fairly well when there was no one around us, but she did pause a fair bit. She looked at me a ton, which is great, so I’m now rewarding every other time she looks at me instead of every single time she looks at me.
We saw a woman who appeared nice in the dress section, so I asked if we could practice walking past her—explaining that it might take us a while to do so. The woman said yes, so off we went. And to my surprise, Alice was perfect! She paused once, but then kept right on walking. No need for treats on the ground or anything!
Unfortunately just then two workers with giant tall racks busting full of dresses came around the corner and wanted to go down our aisle. While Alice is used to getting out of the way of shopping carts, these super tall super full racks caused her to just stop and stare. So I had to pick her up so they could pass.
We continued in the store and found an aisle with food items in it. I chose to practice leaving a treat on the floor in that aisle. Alice was PERFECT with it! It was like she hadn’t ever taken time away from working on her leave it with a treat on the floor! Yay!
As we walked along, we came to a kind looking woman with a cart. So I asked if I could practice passing her, too. She was sort of at the end of an aisle and we were in the main aisle. So we walked past her and Alice didn’t need any treats! Then the woman turned the corner and passed us, then stopped, so we had to walk past her again. Again Alice did really well!
But these two people that we passed previously were both on my side of the aisle. So Alice was further away from them. I think that made it easier.
We turned the corner at the end of the store and came across a woman who exclaimed how cute Alice was with her full cart against the left side of the aisle. Since the woman seemed to like Alice so much, I asked if we could practice walking past her. This was harder for Alice, I think because the woman was next to her instead of next to me.
I had to toss two or three treats on the ground to get Alice to walk past the woman with the cart, but she made it!
When we were almost to the end of our loop around the store, I found a side aisle and practiced dropping my wallet. Alice was really good! She was startled when I dropped my wallet, but then was able to walk past it (she gave it a wide berth, though). Next time I will try dropping my keys instead of my wallet.
Alice had no problems walking past the cash registers and out the doors, and then I took her to potty. Overall I am fairly pleased with how she did. I’m very happy with her progress on walking past people, but obviously we need to work on maneuvering around strange objects on wheels. And in general I’d like it if Alice took fewer pauses. I think I’d give her a B- for this outing.
I got a picture of Alice looking in a floor length mirror while we were there. She is a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple harness. My legs are in the shot; I didn’t take my wheelchair because it was a short trip where I wanted to focus on Alice’s walking. It worked out okay, and now I’m at home resting my joints!