October 20, 2009

Farmers' Market

Mid-October and hi 70s in Denver -- a beautiful day for fresh veggies and curious puppies. I like taking Ruby to the Farmers' Market because there are so many distractions, it's a real challenge. And you know I love a challenge.

I always like to start off by letting her get a few good sniffs in.

Then away we go. My goal on these kinds of outings is to get as much loose leash walking practice in as possible.

I'd say we did about 70/30 on this outing; 70% calm and focused, 30% distracted and pulling. For the most part, she very easily just passes people as we walk up and down the aisles.

A service puppy needs to learn to avoid soliciting attention when she is in a public place, so we do not allow the public to pet her while she is training. I know how challenging it is for people not to engage with an adorable puppy and I always appreciate when people ask if they can pet her. As a puppy raiser, I need to be firm but I also think it's very important to be kind; after all, both the people and the puppies are just naturally curious about each other, and I believe Ruby is there to teach as much as she is to learn. When I let people know they cannot pet her, I thank them and give a brief explanation of why it's important not to pet her. Most people are really wonderful once they understand that by not petting her they have actually become an integral part of her training.

Ruby and I have been training in public since she was 10 weeks old and as a result she almost never solicits attention from adults. Kids are a little tougher because she absolutely loves them! But with the right amount of time, patience, and good judgment, I'm really proud of how reserved Ruby is around children when we are training, yet how happy and friendly she is when she's in "release" mode.

So, kids and adults were no issue for us on this outing. Other dogs and blowing leaves were the greatest challenge. And she occasionally pulled me toward certain boxes which must have smelled very, very intriguing!

I had good success putting her in a sit/stay at each booth while I chatted and purchased items. But of course, I love to shop, so she's had a lot of practice!

It was at this point that my camera decided to snap it old school and shoot only black and white. So just enjoy the next few shots as you pretend it's Ruby 'n me in 1957, checking out the roasted chiles.

By the way, the smell of fresh roasting chiles is beyond amazing. How beyond amazing? I bought enough roasted chiles to last me all winter!

Still steaming in the bags...irresistable.

We ended the outing practicing some core cues (sit, down, adding distance) and focus exercises in a quieter spot but still surrounded by the business of the market.


Clive said...

Ruby, what great weather you are having! We had non-stop rain all day! Great photos of you working your way through the market and how well you did it.

We still have the constant distraction of people wanting to pet me - despite working for the last three years so we empathise with totally! Most people are good as you say, when we explain but it can be hard to concentrate sometimes!! At least my Mom can see the people and explain - my brother Clint is a guide dog and it is much harder for his guide dog owner when people approach and try and pet Clint when they are out working.

take care

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

What a great experience!

Tank woo fur sharing!

Mom is soooo jealous fur that market looked pawesome!


Mason Dixie said...

What a great place to train. I am envious of how you can walk around and not drag your owner to all the cool smells and people. Keep up the great work. =)

Life With Dogs said...

You live in one of the best places on earth - and thanks for the tour!