Monday, March 17, 2014

Bravo Comes to Visit: Part 3, More Mall Work

The days that Bravo were with us seemed to fly by. Reading my letter back now and posting it, I feel like I didn't tell his raisers enough. I also feel like I sounded a bit critical which wasn't my intention at all. For the record, Bravo was a great house guest, a very smart dog and a pleasure to work with. I learned a lot from him which I will post tomorrow in my summary. I was going to do the "Sunday" post along with the "Summary," but I have to hurry up and get ready to go cross country skiing; Coach T is on his way to pick me up very shortly. So, for now I will leave you with our Sunday adventure. :)

Bravo went to a different mall Sunday. He peed outside, but pooped inside. Human error again. I thought he was good since he had gone back at my house. These things happen to us in guide dog class-it's just a matter of not knowing the dog or his/her signs. and he wasn’t acting like he had to poop after peeing. So, we went in. No worries though-we cleaned it up and carried on. The mall wasn’t open yet so we walked up and down the halls for some exercise and to get Bravo moving in a forward movement. He likes to stop dead and refuse to move. Nala acted as a lure again, with us walking in front of him. He wasn’t bothered when one of the stores opened their giant gates right beside him. He did very well passing children, elderly people and a Dad with his little kid being silly in a little photo booth. There was absolutely no barking out in public.
Once the stores started opening we headed to the food court and had some lunch. Bravo again demonstrated his enthusiasm for “under.” He was under the table before I even sat down. While we were eating a small girl, about three years old approached and asked if she could pet Bravo. I said it was okay as long as he was lying down. I wanted to see how he did with children up close. He was a superstar. He just rolled over on to his back and let her rub his belly. He wiggled around a bit, but he never stood up. He did so well. Others approached and asked if they could pet, but I said no. I didn’t want him getting used to the attention. One older woman, probably in her nineties, sat down and chatted with us. She was so good about not interacting with either working dog. I wondered if Bravo would get up to greet her, but he stayed put. Good boy, Bravo.
After lunch we did another circuit of the mall and took Bravo up an elevator. I don’t know how much exposure he’s had to elevators, but he did well. He seemed curious and a bit concerned when the elevator jerked to a stop. He had been sitting, but when the elevator clunked, he popped up. We returned him to the sit and he did it very well. The ride down went smoothly as well. We tried to convince him to go into a bathroom stall, but he was having none of it. Bravo doesn’t seem to like small spaces. I don’t know if that is something you can work on with him? He is a big guy for sure and getting him into a bathroom stall may be challenging just because of his sheer size. We didn't force it. My second Leader Dog, Glacier, was too big for bathroom stalls too. I used to have to leave him in a sit stay on the outside, run the leash under the door and hold on to him that way. Unless the accessible stall was free of course.
We walked back to the car on the outside of the mall for more exercise, new distractions and to be close to vehicles. It was about a 15 minute walk. It was snowing which made Bravo a little playful, but he refocused easily; he is just a puppy after all. I don’t know how much traffic exposure he has had, but we walked that way so that he could have cars driving past him. He wasn’t bothered at all. We were at the mall for about three hours.
I did a group training session after the dogs were fed. Nala, Bravo and Roscoe, were all off leash. It was pretty amazing to witness 3 giant dogs sitting, going into downs and touching in unison. We went through a series of “sit, down, stay, touch” and they all really did well. I asked them for a sit and Nala was the only one who sat, so she was the only one who got a kibble. The next time I asked for a sit, three butts hit the floor; the boys were not going to miss out on their treat this time; or be outdone by a girl. :) 
I wanted to do more with him in public, but I’m fighting a cold and really needed to go home and have a nap.

No comments: