On Tuesday, Kim came to pick Nala and I up for another working session. She had taken future Leader Dog in training Ashley back the day before and jail broke future Leader Dog in training Drummand instead which meant an outing for Nala and I.
I had met Drummand and his raisers when I made my first visit to the prison. I didn't get a good look at the dog then, except for his head and chest, and I knew he was big. I didn't realise how big. At eight and a half months old, Drummand is bigger than Nala...and Nala weighs 65 LBS. He is a gorgeous Golden Retriever and is a super star.
He and Nala greeted each other in the car, but Nala was much more interested in the toys that Kim has in her back seat. I was kind of surprised because I thought the two would have a royal rumble in the back seat, but just a bit of sniffing and Nala settled in to chew a bone. Drummand thrust his giant golden head between the two front seats, but respected the mesh barrier of the dog canopy Kim has set up for that very reason. When we got to the mall I opened Nala's door slowly. Kim was on the other side convincing Drummand he wanted to come out, but as I pulled on the handle I felt the small car wiggle a bit. I wasn't entirely sure, but I thought the very giant and gorgeous boy was coming my way. I clipped Nala's leash on, released her from the car and managed a very successful body block of the Giant and Gorgeous Golden. His efforts thwarted, he went back to Kim and willingly put the bandanna that signifies that he is a dog in training on.
We headed into the mall and worked on stairs and then wandered through Canadian Tire to work on left and right. Nala was pretty good for the most part. Drummand really didn't bother with her and plodded along happily with Kim. Every once in a while something wonderful smelling popped up and she had to use "leave it," but he seemed to respond really well. I'm not sure how long we weaved in and out of aisles for, but it was apparent that it was break time when poor Drummand started panting and lagging behind Kim. He is quite furry and it was very warm in the store; even Nala was panting a bit. We headed back to the food court where the humans had coffee and the dogs had water. Both beasties flaked out under the table and were incredibly well behaved. Nala would pop her head up every once in a while, just to make sure the situation was under control, but when she was satisfied that all was well she'd go back to pretend sleeping.
I don't think she sleeps very often in harness. I think she's like Jetta in that way. Her head is down, but her eyes are always moving, surveying what is going on. Roscoe is like that too. I wonder if it's a trait they take on themselves once matched with a blind person. Whatever it is, I believe it's a sign of a good guide dog.
After coffee and much chatter, we headed home. Nala relieved and then Kim asked Drummand to "park." He hadn't been interested when we went in, but this time he peed right on top of Nala's which was our plan all along. When I was first house training Otis, I would take him out with Roscoe, have Roscoe go and praise him and then wait for Otis to pee on top of Roscoe's. It worked then and apparently it worked with future Leader Dogs in training too. :)
Both dogs settled nicely in the back seat again. They even shared the bone. When we got to my house, Kim opened the back door to get Drummand to come to her, but he excitedly hopped out. She had a hold of his collar, but he was not getting back in the car since Nala was out on the other side. I went back to my open door and called him. I must have been to enthusiastic and did not body block well because the giant and gorgeous went in one door and right out the other. I managed to catch him by the hip and Kim came to get him. We tried the move again, but this time I made sure to close the door a margin more and place my entire body in front of the opening. He got in and stayed in. Lots of praise for the giant and gorgeous.
It was a good outing. It was nice to see Nala keep her wits about herself even with a bigger, more adult-like dog walking beside or behind her. I wondered if she would be distracted by him, but they both did really well ignoring each other when working. Drummand seemed like an old man to me and I think his calm disposition rubbed off on Nala. She can be influenced by the dogs around her and him being so laid back helped. If there is a more excitable dog with us, I have to stay on her more about focusing. For example, when we worked with Sammy the black Lab who is also about 8 months, he was a bit more excitable and tried to play with her when we sat down at the table to have coffee. She was tempted, but a verbal warning from me, made her settle down. With Drummand, neither of them were even tempted.
Good job, Nala and to the Gorgeous and Giant.
Today is another day full of doggie fun-we're off to the prison and then to an outside puppy raiser training session-so I'll be gone all day. I really should go get ready. Yesterday was another doggie fun filled day with Nala and Hermione going for their first cross country ski, but I will fill you in on that and today's events tomorrow.