This morning at 9:30 AM we had the first meeting of Felix’s Out on the Town class! This is a class that works on appropriate behavior in pet-friendly environments. So it involves a lot of things like hanging out and heeling and ignoring distractions.
There was a lot of traffic on my way to class, so I was almost late! The class is pretty small, with only 6 dogs in it! My friend Joseph missed class today, so today there were only 5 people there. But my friend Sabrina was there with her dog Indy!
We had class in a park and started out working on mat work. As we were going around introducing ourselves and talking about mat work, we had a lot of distractions! First there were two riding lawnmowers in the vicinity. Those were fairly distracting.
Then a huge freight train with engines at both ends came by right next to the park! That got all the dogs’ attention! Felix did SO well with the train. He’s only heard one train before in his life, and he was pretty nervous about that one. With this train, he was able to take treats the whole time it was going past. We played the engage/disengage game with the train. At first I was clicking for calm observation of the train and then rewarding. After a while, he was able to look at me for the click and treat! I was so proud!
A few minutes after the freight train passed, the two riding lawnmowers came right next to our group’s area in the parking lot and spent about 10 minutes mowing all around us! Felix did really well!
In fact, Felix did so well that the trainer Kelly kept pointing him out saying how well he was doing! I was so proud!
We worked on what I call the watches game, but Kelly calls the up and down game. This is when your dog looks at you, you give them a treat. I love this because it creates a dog that automatically looks at you for everything.
We also worked on getting onto the mat on cue, which Felix got to be the demo dog for! He did a pretty good job working for Kelly, though he was a little worried about it.
Indy showed us all how she knows the mat command already!
At the end of class, I had Kelly hold Felix while one of the dogs who was shy of wheelchairs came over to sniff mine. Felix didn’t like that too much LOL! He was just very squirmy!
Then Kelly watched Felix heel next to my wheelchair a bit. She had some very good pointers—namely that I was waiting too long to click and treat (which is usually the opposite of my problem LOL!). I guess I just want to get moving further so I delay the click and treat until Felix is already losing interest. I need to not be worried about stopping a lot and click and treat more frequently for being in heel position.
I haven’t really been working on wheelchair heeling much lately, so I’ve decided that from now on, on days that I don’t take Felix out to train, I’ll take him on a short 5 min jaunt in the neighborhood in my wheelchair to work on heeling and heeling only. We’ll walk in the middle of the least busy stretch of our street so that he doesn’t get distracted trying to sniff grass and go pee.
After class, Sabrina asked me if I wanted to go out for lunch. I said sure! So we headed over to Carolina Place mall where there’s a McAlister’s with outdoor seating. First we took a quick trip inside the mall. I didn’t realize until we were already there and shopping that Felix had never been to a mall before! I didn’t have him on the ground because he had just had an hour of class already, so he was just chilling out in my lap. He had no problems in the mall.
We went into Torrid, which I’ve only ever seen online before. It’s a plus size clothing store. I found a super cute dress that is pink and green plaid, but I didn’t have the money for it. Sabrina tried to surprise me with buying the dress for me, but then when I saw it in her hand, I said if she was getting it, maybe I should get it and we could match! So then her jig was up and she had to tell me she was getting it for me LOLOLOL.
I did try the dress on, which was Felix’s first experience in a dressing room! He did great! We just did like I do in bathrooms and I put him on my wheelchair seat while I changed clothes. Super easy! He’s such a rock star and was totally unfazed.
After that, we grabbed lunch from McAlister’s. They had a really difficult door to get outside to their patio area, and boy did we have an interesting time getting through it with wheelchairs, dogs, and drinks! I ended up going first holding Felix and two drinks, pushing the door open with my foot and hand and then zooming through, scraping along as I went. Then I put down the drinks and was able to hold the door for Sabrina, because you can’t do my method when you’ve got a dog to protect from swinging doors!
We had a great time chatting, and wonderful food as usual.
Then we headed home. It was a really fun morning! I am looking forward to class next week!
And sorry, no pictures, I was too busy being in class and having fun with Sabrina! Brad will come to a class or two later on, so you’ll get pictures some time!