Felix is ready to be an SDIT!

Today we met up with Joseph with Lady and Sabrina with Indy. Lady is a red English Cocker Spaniel. Indy is a cream Golden Retriever. Felix was AMAZING!!!!!!

We had planned to meet up at the NAMI building for their coffee and pastries conversation time. But when we got there, they were closed! So instead we went to Starbucks. Sabrina was running late, so it was just Joseph and me. We had a great time exposing our dogs to busy street noises! There were loud cars and trucks, sirens, car alarms, and pretty much any type of street noise you could think of! The pups did really well! They handled all the noises with interest but not worry.

Lady didn’t have any SDIT (service dog in training) gear, so I brought her a vest from the convention donation table pile that I thought would fit her, and it does! She looks snazzy in her new harness. This way she can get used to it before the convention starts.

After coffee, we headed over to Ace hardware to meet up with Sabrina and Indy. Sabrina just got a power wheelchair, and it was her first solo outing with it! We were very excited to see the chair and the lift on the back of her SUV that carries it.

My hips are doing well today in the nice weather, so I decided to walk in Ace hardware. They also have chairs by the entrance, so I knew I could rest when I needed to.

As we were getting ready to head in, I realized that Indy had her SD gear on, Lady had on her new SDIT harness, and Felix had a regular pet harness on. I know he can pass an SDIT Manners Evaluation. The only thing preventing him from passing it was that I was too worried to try him without a belly band. So I challenged myself to put an SDIT harness on him and leave the belly band off. I figured Ace hardware is pet friendly anyway, so what he was wearing didn’t really matter that much if he wasn’t perfect.

But we headed in and Felix was PERFECT!!!!!! He was heeling beautifully and so attentive to me. He was doing his sits and downs like a champ, too.

We went to the back of the store in an open area and Sabrina had us do all the test items from the SDIT Manners Evaluation. Felix did them all SO well! I was super super proud of him! He really rocked it! Sabrina got a video of us heeling and it’s at the bottom of this entry. If you look at the differences we’ve made since our last heeling in a store video just a couple weeks ago, you’ll be amazed!

I’m still going to do an official Manners Evaluation with Katie before the convention starts, but him rocking all the test items so well on this run through made me realize I am comfortable and ready to start calling him a service dog in training (SDIT)!

I was getting a bit sore after we were standing and walking around for about 20 minutes, so we went up to the front of the store and I was able to sit in their chair. We practiced the “visit” command with some helpful store employees while Sabrina went looking for something for her trailer hitch.

Then Sabrina needed to pop into Tuesday Morning, so Joseph and I sat on a bench outside with our dogs and practiced stay. Oh, and as soon as we exited the store and passed a bush, Felix peed. So I know he had to pee while in the store, but held it until he got outside!!!

Finally we headed to Showmar’s for lunch. Felix totally knocked my socks off during lunch! He wasn’t perfect—Joseph’s toes and a few stray leaves kept catching his interest, but he was pretty danged good at lying there while I ate and we talked.

At one point, I noticed Felix notice someone come onto the patio behind us and sit a couple tables behind us. Felix was looking at them, but stayed lying down and behaving very well. It wasn’t until the person left about 15 minutes later that we realized he had a service dog with him, too! So Felix had been lying two tables away from a strange dog with zero issues for 15 whole minutes!!!!

We had a great time talking with Joseph and Sabrina. But eventually Lady started to get tired of training, so she and Joseph headed home. Sabrina and I stayed and talked some more until Brad texted me that I shouldn’t train too long and wear out Felix!

Sabrina had sent a picture of the trailer hitch thing she was looking at in the hardware store to her husband when we were at Ace and he hadn’t replied. But he replied when we were at lunch and said he wanted the thing. But it takes a lot to get Sabrina’s wheelchair down off the back of her car and everything. So we headed back to Ace and I took the picture of the item in to get it. Since Felix had been working a lot, I just carried him. We got the item, gave it to Sabrina, and headed home. Boy we are pooped!

I am SO proud of my boy today! It’s official, he’s now a service dog in training!!!! Wahoooooo!!!!!!

Below is the video and a few pictures I snapped today. I am wearing a red dress with pink flowers, and Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple SDIT harness. Joseph is wearing khaki clothing. Lady is a red English Cocker Spaniel wearing a khaki SDIT harness. Sabrina is in a power wheelchair wearing a blue top. Indy is a cream Golden Retriever wearing a blue service dog harness.

In the video, Felix and I do heeling exercises and a sit and a down. The pictures are mostly of the dogs sitting or downing next to each other. There is one selfie of Felix and me in front of Ace. And we got a server to take a picture of all of us at the restaurant.

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