As you know, Ruby has a thing for the critters. So we've been working on getting her accustomed to seeing other animals and learning how to control herself when she's around them.
We stopped into PetSmart expecting to encounter a dog or two walking around, but a different kind of training opportunity presented itself – a doggie daycare was in session. It was a huge group and I saw them a split second before Ruby did.
Immediately she scrambled,
then, yep. She lunged.
But I was able to get her attention and put her in a sit fairly quickly.
When I was pretty confident that she was relaxed, I walked her to the other side of the bench where all the action was. She was excellent. She just sat and watched. Calm, cool, collected.
Hey, doesn't that look kind of like the Puppy Bowl in there? Oh! that reminds me...did you notice there was a Kiva in the Puppy Bowl? A cute little Alaskan Malamute! That's the first other Kiva we've ever come across!
So...dogs behind glass, check. But how about birds? I got the sinking feeling it would be like taking her to the Automat.
Wrong! She was interested but very calm. Cats?
It was a pretty intense staring contest. Ruby lost. Fish?
We couldn't even get her to notice them. She was far too busy flirting with her daddy. So cute. And Ruby is too.
Good outing all around! Although, it did end on a bittersweet note. We thought we spied an old friend down the aisle, but alas, no cheap hussy duck could ever capture the elegance of you-know-who.
Edit: Sierra Rose asked a great question in the comments. How did I draw Ruby's attention at the doggie care area?
In this case, despite the distraction, Ruby responded to my voice when I asked her to sit, then I treated her. We were both surprised by the dogs, so she had a couple seconds to react, but I'm calm and I don't repeat SIT! SIT! SIT! When I did ask her to sit, she sat right where she was and turned her head to look me in the eye. This is big progress for her, she can be like a bucking bronco around other dogs. My goal is a calm initial reaction; we're not quite there yet but we're working on it. :)
If she hadn't responded to me, I would have turned around and walked her away a few steps so she could compose herself. We don't proceed toward the thing she wants until she is calm and collected. If she makes a run for it again, we walk away again. If it takes a few tries, that's ok. Eventually she learns that pulling gets her farther from the thing she wants, not closer.
As far as the eye contact, I always want it. We practiced that quite a bit when she was tiny (and still do), so it's very natural now for her to check in with me frequently as we're walking or after I give a command.