Shop and trail training

On Wednesday we had Out on the Town class at the Piper Glen shops in Charlotte. There’s a Trader Joe’s there, so Brad came with me so we could go to Trader Joe’s afterward.

It was pretty warm as we headed out the door, so I grabbed Hestia’s cooling coat as Felix’s is still being embroidered. When we got there, I put the cool coat on and we headed over to meet everyone. Unfortunately Felix is not really used to working with a wet and heavy cooling coat, so he wasn’t taking treats as readily as usual and was a bit distracted by his cooling coat. He was also shaking off a bit. The cooling coat is pastel rainbow colored, and I am wearing an orangey-pink dress and am using my power wheelchair.

We started class by doing some greetings between the dogs. Felix doesn’t normally get to greet other dogs, so he wasn’t too good at this! He kept wanting to jump on top of the other dogs and play LOL. But we got a few good greets in.

After that, we headed across the street to the Piper Glen shops. We worked on the dogs (that had just met LOL) passing each other on the sidewalk. That was interesting! Felix was quite distracted by all the smells there. He especially loved smelling the grass and the lampposts. He also was distracted by the dogs passing us since he just got to greet them and now thinks they’re his friends. Felix also took this opportunity to poop!

Next we headed in front of the shops. I thought Felix did abysmally for this part of class, because I felt like he was constantly pulling. But Brad got quite a few shots of him being a good boy, so I guess he wasn’t all bad. Plus my trainer said she thought he did well, too. Interestingly enough, when we passed by stores with automatic doors and you could smell “store smell” as we passed them, Felix straightened right up and heeled great. But when it was clear we weren’t doing stores, he was back to off duty pulling behavior!

After making a pass through the outdoor area of the shopping center, we crossed the street to the greenway. Here Felix lay on the ground in front of me and was a real rock star. He just lay there and took everything in. He didn’t move when bikes, kids, strollers, etc came by. He was just happy to be hanging out and watching the world go by. Brad got some great shots of him shaking off a few times, and also several really good shots of Felix sitting or lying down as bikes went by so that you can see Felix through the bike wheels.

After class was over, we did a photo shoot of Brad! He is wearing white pants, a hot pink blazer, and tropical accessories, and is in his power wheelchair.

After our photo session, we went to Trader Joe’s. Felix has only ever been to the Walmart produce section for a few minutes before, so this was his first time really in a grocery store. I didn’t put him on the ground since I figured that would be too much for him after a long class. So I held him in my lap. I wasn’t sure how he’d do, so I was hesitant to try a basket on my lap as well, but figured I’d try it and if it didn’t work, I could put the basket down somewhere.

Turns out Felix was great at being on my lap with the basket! Unlike Hestia, who likes to surf at the front of my legs and so who is crowded by a basket, Felix likes to snuggle against my chest when he’s on my lap, so there was plenty of room for the basket. We tried a lot of different positions, but the one we liked best was of his front paws on my hand that was holding the basket on my lap. Brad got a few pictures of us like this, and Felix yawned during the photo session (probably due to stress because I was upset at Brad for not taking pictures quickly enough!).

We managed to make our way through the whole store just fine, and even check out! Felix did so great. It was really crowded, too! I’m not sure he’s ready for a solo trip for more than one or two items yet, but at least when I’m shopping with someone else he seemed like he was pretty OK with being in my lap at the grocery store!

We were happy to head home and rest after our long outing!

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