Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween, High School and the King Frost Parade

Nubble had quite a busy week! Last Sunday, he and his puppy raisers went to Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre for the Run for Ryan, a 5k fundraiser for a boy to get his own service dog. No, Nubble didn't run in the 5k, but he did get to walk in the park. It was a successful day for him. Although it took a little while for him to settle, especially with all of the dogs and children in park, he soon calmed down. He greeted some dogs very nicely and stayed calm while watching some cattle dogs playing with a frisbee. He was even fairly calm around the squirrels! He went nuts the first time he and Donna walked by the playground where all of the kids were playing, but Donna worked with him and after walking by a few times, he just ignored all of the activity. He did the same thing with some of the other dogs. He was interested in them at first, but after a while, he ignored them.

Wow, was he exhausted after all that!

Nubble went to the restaurant where Donna works for Kids Halloween Fun Night. There were crafts and balloons, and most of the kids came in costume - a wonderful training opportunity for Nubble! Lindsey and Donna's husband brought Nubble into the restaurant when Donna was almost done working. Donna asked her co-workers to please ignore Nubble so that he could experience a restaurant as a working dog without familiar people coming to say hello. He was on his best behavior from the moment he walked through the door. The hostess seated them near the front of the restaurant so he could see all of the hubbub. He went right under the table when Lindsey asked. He didn't even watch the kids running around! Many of the employees said that you couldn't even tell there was a dog in the restaurant - high praise for a service dog!

Last Thursday, he went to high school. Lindsey got permission from the principle, who was happy to let Nubble experience school. Nubble waiting nicely at Lindsey's locker while she collected her books, and although they missed homeroom, they make to their first class almost on time. He did very well in the chaos of the hallway with all of the students headed toward their next classes. Although he almost barked at a noise coming from a neighboring classroom during second-period English, Nubble did very well!

He only stayed at school for the first two periods, and on their way back to the office, Lindsey and Nubble stopped in the Lifeskills class. This class has a therapy dog named Lady, and when Donna came to pick up Nubble, she could hear him barking at her. Lady, good dog that she is, went to the office so he could settle down. Nubble loved all the attention from the students, and he handled greetings very well, staying focused on his puppy raiser. Thank you so much to the principle and high school for welcoming Nubble!

On Saturday night, Nubble and his puppy raisers went to Hamburg's annual King Frost Parade. Although Nubble had been to a parade before, this one was at night and it was a much bigger parade. Once they got settled in a good spot, Nubble settled down. While they waited for the parade to start, they practiced as many cues as they could and also did some shaping. "I absolutely love shaping," says Donna. "I love watching him figure out what I want him to do. I love watching him offer behaviors until he figures it out." It was a great way to pass the time!

The parade was wonderful experience for him. He did great watching the horses go by, although Donna moved him back from the curb so that neither dog nor horses would get spooked. Great job! It's always important to keep an eye on both the dog-in-training and the environment, other people and other animals. Nubble didn't mind the motorcycles at all. They practiced "leave it" when candy was tossed to nearby kids, and he quickly figured out that it was off limits.

There was a group with dogs marching the parade, and they were handing out dog biscuits! One woman asked if she could give one to Nubble, and Donna said yes. But Nubble wouldn't take it from her! He just looked at Donna instead. Great job, Nubble!

Walking on a loose leash back to the car after the parade was a little challenging because of all of the people, but Donna and Nubble managed with the help of the comfort trainer. Donna is trying not to rely on the comfort trainer in all situations, though, because it's easy to think that Nubble has mastered loose leash walking when he's wearing it. However, when Nubble is just wearing his collar, he tends to start pulling again. Loose leash walking is a work in progress.

It was a great week for Nubble and he made visible progress. Donna plans to work on his behavior around other dogs, on stairs and loose leash walking. We'll let you know how it's going!

No comments:

Post a Comment