... at dog school and having regained some function in my wrists/hands, I decided to take Shine with me to the pet store to buy dog food. We haven't been to a store in a while and it turns out we need a lot more practice.
Walking calmly from the car to the store provided our first challenge. While we were working on this, various people were interested in greeting Shine (and were wonderfully polite about asking). My response: "Once she's sitting, you're welcome to come say hi," after which I spent what seemed like ages insisting that "sit" means "sit" while NOT actually saying "sit, sit, sit," to a very wiggly puppy.
At one point, a Helpful Bystander(TM) tried telling Shine to sit for me, and I'm pleased that I was able to respond cheerfully, "Please don't do that. When you tell a dog that's not listening to you to sit, the word becomes meaningless and the command doesn't work." Eventually we did achieve calm sitting and saying hi to friendly strangers, but clearly I need to take her out again soon.
When we finally got into the store, she was better and I got some really nice sit stays and attentive heeling from her, especially since a puppy class* was just finishing up and there were lots of other dogs there. She was fascinated by the fishes and the birds which were at eye level with her. She largely ignored the rescue cats who were slightly above her eye level and behind glass and clearly had no love whatsoever of dogs. We didn't go very close to them because I figure their lives are stressful enough.
I had another brilliant moment when I realized that although even my best treats weren't more interesting than pallets of dog food and tanks of fish, I didn't really need food rewards: Shine's reward for sit stays could actually be getting to go sniff food bags and look at fishes. Everybody wins. Yay for canine learning theory!
*Our dog school is part of a canine training/boarding/grooming center, but most of the pet stores in our area also offer basic classes.You can also read this entry on Dreamwidth ( comments)