Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Public Outings

I do not know how many times I have heard from people, "I wish I could bring my dog everywhere too."

Once you get past the "it is illegal unless they are service dogs," and into the it is "cool to have a dog with you at the movies," one really can not blame them, seeing that they have little-to-no experience with service dogs and the effort that it takes to get them comfortable in public.

 And it does take a lot of effort, and sometimes a good dose of embarrassment to traipse around with a puppy.  Once Dante got past the I-am-going-to-bark-my-head-off-because-I-am-bored phase, it has become a great deal more enjoyable.  While most of the time having Dante in tow adds a whole new level of fun and interesting, I leave him in his crate on a regular basis because I just need a break.  And I haven't even touched on the million things you bring in your doggy diaper bag: poop bags, treat pouch, clean-up supplies, water bottle, poop bags, vest, extra leash, pamphlets to hand out, oh and did I mention poop bags?

 There are some places that a puppy raiser does not enjoy taking their puppy to for one reason or another, but they do it anyways because it is good exposure.  Mine is Whole Foods.  Don't get me wrong, I actually like this store, but it is hard for a puppy.

It starts before you even get inside.  It is in the city, which means noise, noise, and lots of distractions.  Oh, and the train that comes through right across the street.  The only spot to "hurry" is the concrete strip between parking space rows.  This, in reality, isn't bad because puppies in training need to be able to relieve anywhere, but with all the distractions, and even though Dante is awesome about going on any surface, it takes a looooooong time to get business done.

Inside the store, the aisles are narrow, and it is always mobbed with people.  Again, this is a good thing for Dante to be able to work through, but it is inevitable that someone always bumps into him.  The fact that the floor is the same color as Dante's fur, does not help matters much either.

 You may be asking, "Then why do you go there?"  Because it is so good for Dante's training.  He may end up with someone who lives in the city and so he needs to be comfortable there and not get distracted.  He needs to learn how to stay focused on his handler when there are sooo many good things very close around him.  And he has already learned not to be startled and whip around when someone brushes up against his side.  So, we will continue on these, our not-so-favorite outings, loaded with treats! ;-)

If it weren't for the bright yellow vest, I don't think we would risk it ;-)

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