January 19, 2010

Shopping Surprise

Whenever we're on an outing, Ruby is very focused on me and has little interest in other people. She's a happy, good-natured dog who enjoys a wealth of affection from lots of friends, but when we're in a store, restaurant, museum, or the like, I am very diligent about not letting people pet her. The lack of excitement over strangers dissuades her from straying to solicit attention.

Learning not to solicit attention is a very important part of a service puppy's education. Someday, when Ruby is a service dog assisting a person with a disability, it will be critical that she focus intently on her partner. We've been practicing this in public since she was a wee pup and I'm very proud of her for understanding that when she's in a sea of strangers, I'm her one and only.

But while she finds the humans fairly boring, she is crazy about other dogs. She's a naturally confident puppy who just plain likes dogs. She was first-born in a litter of nine and from what I understand, she loved to get everyone going. My Ruby is a pot-stirrer!

So, we're working on learning how to appropriately react to other dogs who cross our path. In other words, To Not Do This:

That sweet little dog actually took Ruby and me both by surprise; I was unaware that this store allowed pet dogs until we turned the corner and Ruby, um, clued me in. I was all la-la-la what a pleasant outing, just strolling about looking at flannel shirts and thermal undies, and then there was lots of lunging and barking and explosions and fireworks and it was all at the other end of my leash. So when you're in the Ladies' Department and fate trades your quiet, well-behaved service puppy for a maniacal wolverine, just look at it as a great training opportunity!

And I have to say, she did very well, considering. It took a little while to get her to focus back on me, but once I had her attention, I put her in a sit and treated her as she sat calmly and let the other dog continue on in peace.

During the rest of the time we were in the store, she saw a few more dogs walking around. She still got very excited, but I was able to recapture her attention a lot more quickly than at first. We'll be working on getting her accustomed to seeing other dogs (especially in unexpected places) and responding in a calm manner.

Great training experience. And even better? This store was so much fun! It really was the coolest place, they had EVERYTHING.

Caps for proud participants in the Witness Protection Program!

Sauces! Lots of Sauces!

Big Huge Red Twisty Thingies!


Time Machines!



Funny Hats!

Camera Equipment! Ruby's very comfy around lenses. In fact, lens cap = chew toy. After the thousands of photos we've taken of her, I figured it was a fair trade.

And even though she can't be petted, she makes friends wherever she goes.


Farley's Mom said...

Oh Ruby, you are learning so much! Even though you weren't supposed to make friends with the little dog, you look so cute trying to meet her :)

Toby- The dog with a blog said...

Dog distraction is very hard for us dogs to learn, but our trainers sure are happy when we do "ignore" the other dog:)

You look totally pawsome in those pictures!

The dog with a blog

Erin said...

Aah beautiful lenses! I love the pic of you in the hat, she totally looks like she's laughing!

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

Or in the words of Mango, she went khrakhkerdog!

Mom and I are still in awe of what woo do!

Tank woo sooooo furry much!

PeeEssWoo: Mom says what a pawesome store!

Lauren and Bright II said...

Hahahaa I love it! Especially the picture with you and the hat. Keep up the good work, Ruby looks like she's doing great!

Kari in WeHo said...

did you get to use the time machine to go anywhere fun?

Clive said...

That is some incredible store - it has everything!

Well done Ruby on your day out - you were great!

I can ignore dogs when I'm working but sometimes when a cat suddenly appears its difficult to remember to just ignore it and keep going!!

Anonymous said...

Ruby you shop the best places. Funny hats is the best picture yet.

The OP Pack said...

All that must be so hard for a young pup - makes one realize how wonderful a service dog really is. That is quite the store - what an array of products - and dogs too???

Woos, Phantom and Thunder

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

That's exactly what Hos would do if he saw another dog in public!!!

WOW, that store does have everything. Love the funny red twisty thing and the funny hat! :D

Rachel said...

I love Ruby's dedication! It is, as I'm sure you know, so hard not to touch a service dog when you see them... I fight it though.. I do.

AVCr8teur said...

Wow, I love stores that allow dogs. Wished we had more of them. Ruby was probably wondering if she'll get a new outfit too. :)