The highs and lows of training in public

We had a wonderful training outing on Friday! So you might be wondering why this post is called “the highs and lows”? Well it’s because Brad put his camera on a monopod and had his camera either down on the floor getting dog-level shots, or up high above his head. So high and low camera angles!

We went to TJ Maxx with our friend Sabrina and her Golden Retriever SD Indy. Sabrina’s daughter Faith came along with her SDIT Brida who is a German Shepherd mix. We had not met Brida before. And in case you didn’t know, it’s pronounced “breed-uh”.

It was cold and rainy, so Sabrina and Faith didn’t wait for us outside as we unloaded out of the car and got Brad’s camera set up. I brought my wheelchair, since I knew we’d be in the store a long time and I’d need to sit, but I also got up out of my chair a lot for training purposes.

While we were outside the store, I practiced doorways with Felix for a bit. He was extremely good!!! He had no hesitation walking through automatic doors and into the store, or back out again. The pictures show him heeling wonderfully!

Next we went and found Sabrina and Faith, and decided to try hanging out a little while and training in a different aisle than normal because it was wider than most of the other aisles.

At first Brida was a little distracted by Felix. But Faith did a good job of working her so that she paid attention to Faith and not Felix. Felix did get a little distracted by Brida, but calmed down in about 5 minutes, so that was great.

Sabrina took my phone with a list of all the Manners Evaluation activities on it, and Faith and I started practicing them with our dogs. We were being careful not to take up too much room so that others could shop around us, but unfortunately there was a crabby store employee stocking nearby and she was not happy with us! She told us twice that we needed to leave room for people to shop, even though we were being careful to do that! People were happily shopping around us.

Once when I walked past her, she was muttering to herself about how she didn’t understand why people thought it was OK to train their dogs in TJ Maxx. I don’t think she wanted to understand!

Pictures below include the dogs hanging out near each other, walking around, and ignoring things like dropped items.

So we decided to move over to the bedding section where crabby employee couldn’t see us. We got to finish all the Manners Evaluation activities there, and the pups did a good job. Felix did almost perfectly on everything! The only thing he wasn’t perfect on was greeting a friendly stranger. The stranger knelt down to be closer to him, and he did a paws up on her leg. It wasn’t undesired and it wasn’t dangerous since he’s so small. But it isn’t polite for him to put his paws on the person. So I think I would have scored him as a low pass (a 3 on a 5 point scale) for that.

Pictures show dogs sitting, coming, heeling, and greeting a friendly stranger.

Once we had completed all the parts of the Manners Evaluation, we had fun shopping! Of course mixed in with the shopping, I kept getting out of my chair to work on heeling for short stretches and greeting friendly strangers.

I found an allergy pillow case cover for my Queen sized pillow at half the cost that we found them on Amazon! And Faith found a pretty dress and blanket. Sabrina supervised us shopping and gave important feedback 🙂

Pictures include dogs hanging around, dogs heeling, and people shopping.

When we left the store, it was still super cold out, so we decided not to go out to get lunch together. We’ll do that when it’s warmer! We did hang out outside the store a bit like in the Manners Evaluation, and talked about how training went. It was very fun to be out with Sabrina and Faith and their dogs! I know we’ll all have fun at the convention coming up!

Pictures include us hanging out in front of the store and some beauty shots of Brida.

After Sabrina and Faith went home, Brad and I decided to do a fun photo shoot in front of some brick columns to the side of the store. We had a lot of fun posing interestingly for each other and the camera! Brad especially had fun looking mysterious, like he was being hunted, and happy!

I can’t wait to get together with them again!!!

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