Thursday, July 25, 2013
Sometimes you just need to drop everything and work on something...
Today I took Ice with me to grab a few things at the grocery store (and by few I mean steak, basil and mozzarella cheese). He has never been to Jewel before, but has been to Dominick's. We walk in and he is just fine, parading along like he normally does. Which of course makes people smile and giggle because how can a strutting puppy not make you smile and giggle?
Ice and I made our way to the meat section and the minute we get into the section his tail tucks between his legs and he tries to run away. He didn't do this in Dominick's meat section but that one is just a meat section on a wall. Jewell's meat section is more of an out-cove where you walk in-between containers of meat.
I ignored Ice at first and went about picking out what I needed. He stayed next to me looking super petrified. As we go to leave the area he tries to flee again and is now visibly shaking. I took a few deep breaths and as calmly as I could get him to go made our way out of the meat section and directly to the pet food aisle where I found the smelliest, tastiest treats they had. I opened them up and had him sit, down and shake (things he knows how to do really well). Then we made our way back to the meat section with a treat in front of his nose. He was fine until we made it back into the middle of the section and then he started panicking again. So I stood there with treats and kept getting his attention back. He was willing to do a watch me so we kept doing that until he calmed down some. We then moved a little bit and had him do it again. We did this all the way until we were out of the meat section. He still had his tail down and wasn't looking very confident but he was no longer trying to flee.
We continued our shopping into the fruit and veggie section and the more I rewarded him for "good heel" or "good watch me" the more his tail came back up and the more he got his puppy strut back. We got our veggies and made our way to the check out. At this point he was completely back to normal. He did a "come around" while I purchased my items (and his treats) and happily carried his shopping bag to the car. Yes he gets to carry a shopping bag. This time it had his treats in it. When I give him whatever bag he is to carry to the car he first does a little dance by throwing his head all around with his paws flailing. Then he gets to work and proudly parades out of the store to the car. It really is pretty adorable.
So I think we ended on a really good note and he didn't leave Jewel being afraid. It just goes to show that while training a service dog you might have to just drop all the plans you had and work on what you need to work on. Ice is the first one I have trained that had such a strong reaction to the meat section. Serena and Jack didn't care and Darby got very hopeful that it was all for him. It is very interesting to me to work through something like this and see what causes different dogs to have a reaction. Thank you Ice for teaching me something new today!