My Velcro Dogs

My Velcro Dogs
Louie, Bradley and Echo

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Practice, practice, practice.

And we're going to need LOTS of it!

We took Bradley out with us yesterday and, let me put it this way- he's done much better! It wasn't a complete disaster, but he wasn't SuperDog.

First, we went out for Lunch at Ruby Tuesday. Yes, we eat out WAY too often! He has been there before when he was much younger and did well. However, as I failed to remember, during our first visit, he did not lay under the table. Back then, I was allowing him to lay next to the seat. For safety and consideration of others, it's usually best to keep the dog under the table. I had him stay under the table yesterday, as I have been doing for a while. Unfortunately, the table only had one center leg and 4 bars extending around the base. This left very little room for Bradley to lay comfortably. He either had to lay with his legs on a bar or had to stretch out so the bar was under his armpits. Option number 2 meant there was less pressure on his body and he was more comfortable, but it also meant his nose was almost sticking out into the aisle. This created that much more temptation to sniff around and do a move that I call a "scootch". I'm sure anyone with a dog has witnessed the scootch before! This is when a dog is placed in a down stay and not so subtly inches toward a source of interest, like an object or a smell. When he did this, he ended up with his whole head sticking out into the aisle. Overall, he was well behaved. I can't hold it against him that it wasn't a comfortable environment for him.

Our next destination was Barnes and Noble. This is an environment he's very familiar with. It's a good place to practice because it's usually pretty crowded but still quiet and relaxed. He did very well here, for the most part. Unfortunately, there were just too many curious people who couldn't resist initiating contact with him. This is his biggest weakness and I'm actually a little worried about how hard it will be to move past. He loves people so much and as soon as someone starts interacting with him, he literally goes nuts. He pulls on the leash, lunges and makes every effort within his power to get to the person and become best friends with him or her.

I can't wait to buy an actual guide dog harness for him. I want to train him and practice with him with the actual equipment that we'll be using so I won't have to retrain things to suit the harness.

The posted photo shows Bradley under the table at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant. This is the position he was most comfortable in, with the bar almost under his arm pit, instead of where his weight was focused.

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