We were at a store with a section for musical instruments and I thought a visit would be good for some auditory practice. It never occurred to me that the sights in a music store could upstage the sounds. But of course they could. I didn't see it coming, literally or figuratively, but the store had a disco ball.
You know the effect a laser pointer has on most dogs and cats; they'll chase that microscopic dot to the point of madness. Young Kiva was an addict till we chucked that thing out the window, and once it was gone, I forgot all about it. Until here we are ten years later, Ruby and I turn a corner, get hit with the frying pan, and we're seeing stars EVERYWHERE.
Of course, my split second instinct was, OH SH(insertvowelhere)T. Ruby saw this hallucinogenic kaleidoscope on the walls, ceiling, floor, me, herself, and she instantly became...let's just say, DERANGED.
(I know. I'm using a lot of caps. IT WAS A CAPS KIND OF MOMENT. The pictures don't do it justice because the flash kind of bleached those buggers out, but trust me. Just...trust me.)
When she first hurled herself tail over teacups at the dots, I wasn't quite sure what to do, and to be honest, I was slightly worried about her trashing all that expensive equipment. But sometimes the best training opportunities are the ones you don't expect...aren't prepared for...hadn't anticipated...tremendously wish you had thought of... and I realized that I knew exactly what I had to do to get my dog's attention. I grabbed the clicker and spoke her name. She ignored me and I spoke it again. The very instant she paid me even a fraction of a second of attention, I clicked and gave her a treat. I spoke her name again, she hesitated, I clicked/treated her again. After a few click/treats, even though the dots were still flying, I had her.
And once I knew I could get her attention here at
Below, no flash. A little blurry, but you can tell that the dots were very bright and very fast. Trippy and zippy!
I've learned a lot from these past two surprise situations (here and at PetSmart). Calmness travels down the leash just as much as nerves do.
I'm also gaining confidence that no matter where we are, or how unexpected the situation, as long as she's safe (and as long as no one is throwing us out), we can just take the time we need to see it through, together.