Monday, November 8, 2010

Onyx Is Full of Surprises

SSD Onyx is full of surprises. On Halloween, she was down in Fredericksburg with her puppy raiser, Carol, to lead a ghost tour. When they arrived, Carol debated whether to leave Onyx in the car because Onyx tends to get very excited around crowds. However, she decided to bring Onyx with her while she checked people in for the tour,, and this black lab surprised her with her good behavior. She asked Onyx to sit and stay, and she did! As people came up to check in, Carol gave her treats. Onyx would look at people and wag her tail, but then Carol would get her attention again and she would stay. Great job, Onyx! Because this was a challenging outing for Onyx, Carol decided not to let people pet her, which helped Onyx stay in control. Her puppy raiser did a nice job setting her up for success!

Onyx had so much self control during the ghost tour that when a fire truck when by with sirens blaring, she put her ears back but didn't move or bark. Then, a woman walked nearby with her two dogs. Onyx ignored the one dog, but when she saw the other one, she lunged. However, Carol was able to quickly get her back under control and soon she was sitting nicely again. Normally, Onyx would have been very distracted throughout the entire half hour she was out, but she stayed calm and under control for almost the entire time! Her puppy raisers can definitely see her maturing.

Her puppy raisers took her to Target. Normally she would have her nose to the ground and try to eat everything as they walked through the parking lot, but she surprised her puppy raisers yet again. She walked nicely on a loose leash through the parking lot, never leaving Carol's side. Once they were inside the store, it was a bit more challenging, though. As they walked past the Halloween section, a motion-sensor witch caused Onyx to stop and stare. Carol worked with her, and they approached the witch again. This time, Onyx did much better at ignoring it.

For Halloween, Onyx's puppy raisers bought a fake arm and Onyx helped them decorate.

They visited Stratford Hall Plantation, Robert E. Lee's birthplace, and did a museum tour. Inside the museum, they have lifesize talking figures. Onyx went right up to the figure of Lee and put her head on his coat, but when he started talking, she got very confused because he didn't move. to get to the house, you have to walk over a suspension bridge made of wooden slats. Onyx went across, but the entire time, she had her head down as if she wasn't entirely sure about walking across the bridge. Carol tried clicking and treating her, but Onyx ignored it, so Carol switched to verbal praise. Onyx never stopped moving, though.

Once they got across the bridge, however, there were additional challenges. Chickens roamed the front yard. Carol tried working with Onyx to get her to walk calmly up to and past the chickens. They would walk forward a little bit, then go back when Onyx started pulling. They repeat3ed this process, but Carol recognized that the chickens would be too much of a challenge for Onyx and that she wouldn't be successful. They went back across the suspension bridge.

We're looking forward to the other surprises Onyx has in store!

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