Friends make training better 2

Today Alice and I went to TJ Maxx with Sabrina and Indy, and Alice was SO GOOD!!! There are a few pics at the end.

I walked with Alice for the first 10 minutes. She had zero problems going into TJ Maxx and walking around right away. Usually when she goes in a store she likes to stop once she’s entered and look around for a while. But today she was ready to go!

We walked down the main aisle, and Alice only briefly paused when someone passed us going the other way. We reached the food section of the store, and walked down that aisle as a challenge. Alice did SO well! She didn’t try to sniff anything. At the end of the food aisle, there was a display hanging out into the aisle a little so it was narrow. At first Alice hesitated and didn’t seem to want to continue through the narrow bit. But with a little bit of verbal encouragement (I didn’t even have to drop any treats on the floor!), she walked through like a champ! She even walked back through in the other direction a little later on!

We went up and down a few aisles, and I asked a woman if I could practice walking past her. Alice did fantastically! She didn’t even hesitate to walk past the woman twice! The woman was so nice and happy to help with training.

By then my 10 minutes were up and my hips were starting to get pretty sore, so I headed out to the car to get my wheelchair. On the way out, we passed two more people and Alice didn’t even give them a second look! I was SO SO proud! At this point I would have given her an A+ in her behavior in the store!

I got my wheelchair and headed back in. Alice was happy to chill out in my lap while Sabrina trained Indy and we shopped. At one point there was a store employee chatting with a customer and they tried to pet Indy. Sabrina educated them not to pet a service dog without permission. Since the employee and customer were standing in the aisle, I thought it might be a good opportunity to practice walking past a group of people instead of an individual. So I parked my chair and got out to walk past them.

On the harder way past them (where Alice was right next to them), Alice didn’t miss a beat and walked past super confidently. But on the way back, for some reason she suddenly got worried. I had to drop a few treats on the ground to build up her confidence to walk past them. This was the only time today that Alice was anything less than nearly perfect.

Then we found the dog Halloween section! Boy oh boy did we have fun there! They had so many fun costumes and toys that we spent forever looking at them. Indy was so good and just lay down and took a nap—even when people the next aisle over were squeaking all the squeaky toys!

Sabrina very kindly put harnesses with black wings for Alice and Hestia into her cart! Alice and I were overjoyed! These harnesses have leash attachments on them, so the girls can go for walks decked out in Halloween gear regularly. I think they’ll be doing so tomorrow! It’ll be perfect because we and others in our neighborhood have started putting up decorations.

We got to talking about my wheelchair, and since Sabrina has a manual chair, I let her try out my power one. She loved it! It was so fun seeing her and and her Golden Retriever zoom around!

We hung out and talked for a while longer in the store, but eventually were all shopped out. So we headed to checkout where we got a very kind checkout lady who joked with us about which of the tiny Halloween costumes was for which dog!

After TJ Maxx, we wanted to get something to eat. We were thinking of eating at the little restaurant area near TJ Maxx, but it was really sunny out so I was worried we’d get overheated. So we drove about 5 minutes away to McAllister’s. They have a nice covered patio.

I went in my wheelchair because on the PAT, I’ll be using my wheelchair when we’re eating and Alice needs to get used to being in my wheelchair while eating. Today was the first time we tried it. When they brought out our food, I pulled up close to the table, but there was no room for Alice under the table. The table barely had enough room for my legs underneath it. So I put Alice in a down on my lap, then realized there might be a problem.

Normally when I eat, I need to keep one hand resting on Alice so she remembers to stay lying down. But I got a sandwich that really required two hands to eat it! So I lifted up my hands… and Alice stayed in her down! I picked up the sandwich, and she stayed in her down! It turns out that I was able to eat my entire meal without touching her and she stayed in a totally perfect down on my lap the whole time!!! I was so so so proud of her! That’s a first for her! She’s finally getting the hang of things.

I did kinda scarf down my food so that I would be setting her up for success, and then as soon as I was done, I pulled away from the table and she stood back up again. So she really knows the difference between me just sitting somewhere and me actually eating!

Sabrina and I had the best time chatting while and after we ate. It was a really really awesome time. The pups were great, and the clouds rolled in so it was a perfect temperature for sitting out there and chatting.

Eventually it was time to go, though. It started sprinkling just as we headed out to our cars. So we got our wheelchairs in and headed to our respective homes. Not more than 10 minutes after I got home, it started to rain for real, so it really was perfect timing.

Below are four pictures that we got in TJ Maxx. Brad was too tired to come today, so unfortunately you only get a few pics from my camera. The first one is of Sabrina wearing a straw hat in her manual wheelchair with Indy the Golden Retriever in a pink vest next to her. The second shows me in my galaxy dress in my power wheelchair with little sable and white Japanese Chin Alice on my lap. The last two pics are of Indy and Alice sitting alone in front of a display of fall themed decorative pillows. Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Friends make training better

  • Tami

    Sounds like a great day. Little Alice is like a little pro. She should be ready by April for the pat don’t you think. I will take it with River then probably. I really enjoy your blogs!

    • Doctor V

      Thank you! I hope she’ll be ready in April for the PAT! If you want to register for the PAT at the convention, you might want to register quickly. Currently all the PAT spots are filled and there’s one person on the waitlist. Some people who have registered for a PAT might drop out, and if they do, we’ll let new people take it in order from the waitlist. We already have 15 people registered!