Today I took Felix to Pet Supplies Plus for the second time. This is only the second store he’s been to since I brought him home. It’s the same store we went to last time, as I thought that would boost his confidence more.
This time I did not let him mark outside the pet store. I don’t want him to think marking is okay anywhere if/when we’re out in the world as a service dog team, because then it becomes harder to specifically get him not to mark inside new places. He did a good job of keeping on moving past the peed-on columns in front of the store!
He was not afraid at all to walk right through the automatic doors! Inside the store he was more confident than last time, but he wouldn’t take treats. I think this is because I fed him lunch about 30 min before we went to the store. Next time I’ll know to wait to feed him until after we’ve done our training!
We walked up and down a few aisles and around the perimeter inside the store.
The things he did well on were not being afraid of the freezers, not being afraid of other dogs, walking in narrow spaces, and being confident.
Opportunities for improvement were that he did try to mark once but I caught it before it happened, he was at the end of the leash a lot, and he wouldn’t take treats.
We walked through several really narrow sections that Alice would never have been able to do! Once we had to walk past a woman stocking crickets in a cart in the aquarium section, which meant that Felix had to walk right next to the noisy aquarium machines.
As to the walking issue, I decided when I realized that he was wanting to walk faster than me and get out in front of me that this was purely an exposure outing. He hasn’t worked on leash skills (and is great staying with me in the neighborhood, so I hadn’t even started working on a heel yet as there are so many other more important things to get done first). Plus he wasn’t taking treats, so it would have been really hard to work on it. So instead I increased my pace and just followed his lead. Sometimes the ideal can’t happen, and we have to decide what’s important to focus on in that time and place. Today, it was more important to focus on the exposures than it was to have perfect leash skills.
We didn’t stay long, about 5 minutes. I was hoping for about 3–5 more minutes, but the store was really crowded. I thought 2:15 on a Wednesday would be pretty dead, but it wasn’t. Twice when we walked past aisles, dogs popped out and surprised us and tried to say hi to Felix. I didn’t let him say hi, and he wasn’t bothered by the dogs. I did get one picture of him watching as one of the dogs who had popped out in front of us left the store. Then as we were walking down the sidewalk back to our car, a lab nearly pulled its owner over trying to get to Felix! Again he handled it like a champ.
I got a 4-second video of him exiting the door (I should have started recording sooner, sorry!), and pictures of him in the freezer section, watching a dog pass, in the bone aisle, seeing his reflection in an empty aquarium, walking in a narrow space between two displays, and a couple of selfies with me. Felix is a small sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple plaid harness. I have my brown hair half up and am wearing a pink and white dress with ruffle sleeves.