Monday, December 27, 2010

A Nubble Christmas

The weeks before Christmas are busy for almost everyone, and it was no different for Nubble. Donna and Lindsey took him to the Berkshire Mall so he could experience all of the hustle and bustle. This was an outing just for Nubble to gain experience. They didn't plan to do any shopping - a good idea since it can be stressful to try to find the perfect gift and train a dog at the same time.

At the mall, Nubble got lots of practice doing greetings. Many people came over to say hello. We have no doubt that he brought a smile to people's faces!

As they walked by Santa, there wasn't a line, and Santa called them over. Nubble did very well. Santa was great with him, staying very calm while petting and talking to him. At first, Nubble grabbed Santa's fuzzy sleeve, but when cued, he did a nice "leave it." When Santa was petting him, Nubble paid attention to Donna, just like he's supposed to. Then, while Donna and Santa had a conversation, Nubble lay down at Santa's feet.

They took Nubble outside for a break. However, as they were walking toward the doors, another dog was about to come inside. Nubble barked a couple times when he saw the dog, but Donna and Lindsey did a nice job setting Nubble up for success. They timed their departure from the mall so that Nubble was going out one set of doors while the other dog was coming in the other doors. It worked well because Nubble was able to stay focused.

When the went back inside, Donna and Lindsey kept their eyes open for the other dog. They saw him over by Santa waiting to have his picture taken. Using power treats, Donna was able to keep Nubble's attention on her while they went past the other dog. Nubble did great!

They practiced stairs at the mall, although they only practiced going down the stairs. It was too crowded for Nubble to be successful going up the stairs, especially since he still has a tendency to rush up. They took the elevator up and the stairs down. Nubble did very well going down the stairs. He also does very well with elevators. This particular elevator had glass walls, however, which startled Nubble at first. He seemed surprised to be able to see everything move. After riding the elevator a few times, though, he settled down.

Over all, he did wonderfully with the crowds. His loose leash walking was great! They also practiced "leave it" a lot. When they were in line to get a soft pretzel, there was a piece of pretzel on the floor. They practiced "leave it" with that piece of pretzel, and Nubble was successful! Donna then picked up the pretzel piece and threw it out so he wouldn't be tempted. While they were waiting, Donna dropped her keys a few times and Nubble would pick them up for her. It was a fun game to keep him occupied, and the people around them enjoyed watching Nubble work! It was quite a successful outing.

The Northeast Division held a Christmas get-together last week. Nubble went straight for the Christmas tree to investigate. They played dog games and the dogs got to open presents. They got squeaky toys! Meg, the Northeast coordinator, brought an activity board made of wood with little wells for treats. Each well had a sliding lid that the dogs could open with their paws or nose. SSD Slate and Burnaby did well sliding open the doors. Nubble had a different method of getting the treats out. He picked up the board and dropped it. When a treat fell out, he picked the board up and dropped it again until he got all the treats out!

Nubble went to the vet to be neutered. Although he was a little cautious for a few days afterward, you would never have known he had surgery. He was acting just like his normal self.

Nubble's loose leash walking has been coming along. Donna has stopped using the gentle leader halter because it causes Nubble too much stress. Instead, she uses an EasyWalk harness, which fits over his chest and shoulders. Nubble does very well with that. Donna only tries to use the EasyWalk when she knows there is going to be a challenging environment. Otherwise, she works with the leash attached the Nubble's collar. It's been working well. Nubble now accompanies Donna on her Saturday morning errands, and she feels completely confident holding a cup of coffee when they leave Wawa.

We're looking forward to what the new year brings for Nubble!


  1. Way to go, Donna and Nubble!

  2. Nubble seems to be growing and learning every day. We're cheering for him to one day be a working partner. Go Nubble, Go!