Dogs can learn at the library, too

Today I had to return two DVDs to the library. When I picked them up the other day, I had Felix in my lap since it was after class and we weren’t up for more training. So this was his first time walking in the library. I was using my wheelchair, and he was walking next to it.

Overall I’d give him a B-. He did OK, and even bordering on fairly well for most of the library.

The hardest part for him was returning the DVDs. He walked into the library through the automatic doors just fine, which incidentally is I think the first time he’s walked through automatic doors with me in my wheelchair! We rolled up to the return desk, and everything was fine until I bent over to get the DVDs out of my wheelchair basket. For some reason this really got to him and he went to the end of the leash and was insistent he should be backing up! I realized afterwards that I don’t think I’ve gotten things out of my basket before with him on the ground. I’ve only done it while holding him. So that is a big thing to work on! I’ll definitely work on it in Out on the Town class I think! I foresee a lot of getting my water bottle out and putting it back.

The minute I backed away from the desk where I turned in the DVDs, he was totally fine again. I explained to the people around him who were worried about him that it was his first time in the library and obviously we needed to work on that!

Then we started walking around the library. We took a right and unknowingly went right into the kids section! Felix got very distracted when we walked past the rug with all the kids on it, so I turned around and got us out of there.

I picked him up on my lap to use the elevator to the second floor. When we got off, I put him down and we walked around the second floor for a while. He did pull sometimes, but I’d say about 80–85% of the time stayed with me. It was hard to get his attention as he was very distracted by the people doing library things instead of store things like he’s used to. I was also super nervous worrying that the library people would kick me out for using treats in the library. So that didn’t help anything!

We went up and down several shelves of books, and he did extremely well in these very narrow aisles! I was super proud of him! There was barely enough room for my wheelchair and him to walk next to each other. If I had a dog any larger, they wouldn’t have fit—that’s how tight the aisles were! I couldn’t have turned around in an aisle, and there would have been no room for me to pass another person in the aisle, either. They were narrow! I did get a picture of him doing a paws up on my footplate in an aisle.

He got better and better the more we walked around the library, though the people doing library things like sitting there reading were still very distracting for him.

He was very good about the huge clock out front chiming noon and wasn’t worried at all about the sudden really loud noises.

We stayed about 10–15 minutes, then took the elevator back down. I decided to try him walking in the elevator which was a mistake. He walked in just fine, but I was so busy paying attention to not running over him that I ran into the wall of the elevator which scared him and then he tried to get out of the elevator as the doors were closing! I tried turning around because I got in at a weird angle, and there just wasn’t room and Felix was getting very nervous about the whole thing. So I just picked him back up. I think that for safety’s sake, in elevators I’ll just always have him on my lap.

I put him back down for the walk from the elevator out to the car. He tried to visit with a group of pre-teen girls, but as I kept going he lagged, and then caught back up with me. So we have to work on visiting people, too.

Like I said, I give him a B-. He mostly stayed with me, he did fantastic in the stacks. His big goofs were the drop-off of the DVDs and being so distracted by people doing library things.

I’ll have to go back and practice some more there in the future for sure.

Picture below of Felix doing a paws up on my footplate in the aisles of books!

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