Friday, June 21, 2013

SSD Lagoon Visits Hershey Park

Guest post by Shanne, SSD Lagoon's puppy raiser

I have just been dying to take Lagoon to Hershey Park.  We only live a few miles away, and I knew it would be great practice for her – lots of sounds, lights, moving objects, smells, food on the ground, people ….  Lots and lots of people.  Anyone who knows Lagoon understands that like Will Rogers, who said “I never met a man I didn’t like,” Lagoon has never met a person she didn’t like.  I anticipated that people would be our most difficult challenge.

Finally the day was here!  I had the day off from work and the weather was beautiful.  I loaded up the treat pouch with kibble, but also threw in a bunch of new pepperoni flavored treats that are fairly new surprises to Lagoon.  Of course I grabbed a can of cheddar cheesy spray for back-up!  Although we were leaving for the park right after Lagoon’s midmorning “Get Busy” break, I also threw a roll of small bags into my purse just in case.

Lagoon “Got Dressed” in her harness and I chose the shortest leash that I could find – it’s about 3 feet long, but once I grab it and hold it the way I need it I think it is closer to 2 feet – so that I could (hopefully) maneuver Lagoon through the crowds without her deciding that other people were more exciting than me.

I planned to keep Lagoon at the park for a 2 hour maximum, depending on her behavior.  I also knew that I might need to make an “early exit” – so in addition to me and my kids, my dad went along so that Lagoon and I could leave if necessary without interrupting the kids’ fun.

When we got to the park it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be – probably since it was a weekday – but there were still plenty of people.  Lagoon did great walking in from the car, standing in the security line to get my bag checked, and going through the ticketing line.

We decided to take Lagoon to the monorail and ride.  Lagoon didn’t hesitate, and stayed in a “down-stay” the whole ride.  When the ride was over Lagoon even waited for me to cue her to exit the ride while other people walked past!  I was surprised!

My dad and the kids went on another ride while Lagoon and I waited.  On the ground by the bench I chose was a bunch of peanut shells.  Lagoon REALLY wanted to eat those peanut shells.  We practiced “leave it” but ultimately I decided to move a little farther away from the temptation!  After we moved, Lagoon had a nice greeting with two of the park workers.  Then the ride was over and we were on the move again!

About every 2 or 3 steps was a click & treat, and even though it was a short leash Lagoon kept it nice and loose walking next to me.  I didn’t even need to break out the cheese!

As we walked we saw a traveling band playing.  I wasn’t sure how that would be, because when we were at a Memorial Day Parade, Lagoon seemed startled by the drums in the marching band – but she wasn’t fazed at all today.

By this time it had been almost an hour, so we decided to take Lagoon to the carousel for her last bit of fun at Hershey Park.  She waited patiently in line even though we were surrounded by children about her size.  At first when we got on the ride I sat on one of the benches and had Lagoon lay on the floor in front of me, but the ride attendant asked if I could actually get her into the immovable car – so that’s what we did.  Lagoon lay at my feet during the ride and was quite well-behaved.

Lagoon and I left my dad and my kids and headed for home.  On the way out, we had to navigate the turnstile!  I really had to think about that for a minute.  I decided to give Lagoon the “go on through” command, and then had her back up until she was out underneath the turnstile and I could follow her through.  She did it perfectly!

Since Lagoon had done so well in the park – and because I was running out of treats – I decided to reward her by getting out the cheese for the walk back to the car.  Needless to say, Lagoon was very excited (and of course on her VERY best behavior) all the way to the car.

I took Lagoon home, got her settled and returned to Hershey Park to spend the afternoon with my dad and the kids.  In total, Lagoon’s visit to Hershey Park lasted an hour and a half – and was a good experience for both of us!

1 comment:

  1. way to go, Lagoon! You are going to make a great service dog.