Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bravo Comes to Stay: Saturday

Following along from yesterday's post. Here is the second full day that Bravo was with us. (Just in case you missed yesterday's post: Bravo is a Leader Dog puppy in training who is being raised in a Michigan prison. He came to stay with us last weekend for a few days).

Saturday morning Mom, Nala, Bravo and I headed out early. With every new day Bravo's barking was becoming less and less. He was responding to verbal cue of “quiet” without me having to shove kibble into his mouth; smart boy. Bravo got to ride in a different vehicle, an SUV and he did very well both getting in and out as well as riding quietly. We crossed back into Michigan and went to Walmart to pick up a few things. He seemed hesitant about the grocery cart.
Do you guys have one? Have you practised loose leash heeling while pushing it? 
To show him the cart was all right, I basically turned it into a Pez dispenser of kibble. I placed the kibble against the cart and brought it straight over to Bravo over and over again. With each kibble he moved closer and closer to the cart. Then, to show him it was okay, I walked at the front of the cart with Nala. Bravo didn’t want to be left behind by Nala, so he had no problems following along once we were in front. He navigated really narrow aisles, ignored shelves with groceries, including the meat section and also ignored many admirers. By the end of our adventure in Walmart, Bravo no longer thought that the cart was an object to be wary of. My mom and I stopped for gas and he was a bit curious about the pump noises, but wasn’t overly concerned. We went into another store so I could buy dog and cat food and he followed the cart into the animal food aisle. He tried desperately to ignore the food, but he needed a few gentle reminders. Can you blame him? Then, it was back home. No barking while out in public or in the SUV. Not ONE!
Later that afternoon I took all of the dogs, including Bravo of course, over to my parents’ house. I wanted him to get used to different houses. He got to play in the backyard with everyone. He was on a long line and was able to roll in the snow. He loves the deep snow. He would lie in it and kind of swim around on his back in it. He also would bury his head up to his neck in the snow and dig with his front paws. It was so funny. His manners during supper were great. Actually, all weekend he’s been great about behaving while people are  eating. He lies down by the chair and stays there until we start moving again, clearing the dishes. Very polite boy.
Other than the barking, there was one other area we worked on and that was not to pull like a mac truck at the end of the leash. It's not when he's heeling, but rather when he's supposed to be parking or even sometimes when coming in a door or out. Bravo has a tendency to get to the end of the leash and keep going with determination and much strength-the 71 pounds behind him helps him in this arena too. He very easily could pull someone off of their feet. I noticed it the first night I took him out to park and he almost managed to drag me down my driveway, like I was water skiing behind him. :) Figuring out when he would do this took some time, but I think I figured it out for the most part. With that in mind, I would ask him to "sit" when coming into the house from outside before he could get the notion to take me for a ride down my front hall. We also practised entering and exiting the house repeatedly in order to ensure he didn't pull me out the front door and down the steps. (His "around" is stellar by the way. He did it every time). When he finished parking I would have him "heel" or "legs" in order to stop him from yanking me off my feet. Re-directing him seemed to work. He never did this sled dog thing out in public though which is interesting; except for after parking outside of wherever we were going into.
Everyone slept like rocks Saturday night. Nothing like fresh air and some snow swimming to make a puppy sleepy. :)
Come back tomorrow for our adventure to another mall.


pattib said...

Good job!

David Bardsley said...

Thanks so much for taking Bravo on furlough and sharing it with us.