Little Rooney went to school aka Pit-Ed class this Sunday and sat in her crate on the sidelines watching the bigger dogs go through their paces. That's not to say that Rooney didn't learn anything. Rooney's schooling took place AFTER Pit-Ed class ended. Pit-Ed trainer Donyale, "celebrity" elderbull Muggy, barn youngster Gris Gris, and the Kikster were on hand to help teach little Rooney her lessons.
You see, little Rooney recently spent a week being a part-time office dog and the biggest challenge was walking from the parking lot to the office building. So many distractions! The smells (oh, a flower - oh look, is that squirrel poop?), the sights (what's that big metal thing over there? who are those people walking by?), the sounds (what's that noisy machine flying over my head?) and the tastes (mmm, that stick looks mighty yummy!!). Not only the distractions, but this thing attached to her called a leash was foreign to young Rooney who was used to running free in the safety of the big yard at the barn. And a flight of stairs! Woa - kinda scary for a little pup. A five minute walk took almost half an hour!
Oh, by the way, once in the office, Rooney was a perfectly behaved little office dog. Here she is showing how to do a great down-stay.
So after consulting with the Bad Rap trainers, we devised a plan. The plan:
1. Help Rooney learn to walk on a leash by doing a group walk ie. monkey-see-monkey-do
2. Practice good-manners / social skills in public places ie. at a busy restaurant
We added the second part of the plan because most families want to be able to take their youngsters (two legged and four legged) on outings to public places - and be able to behave appropriately.
Rooney's skin is a little sensitive right now and she can't wear her collar, so after some technical difficulties with the fit of the harness which had been donated by a kind co-worker, we adapted and used the car-seat harness. Rooney was then attached to long suffering elder-bull Muggy and with Gris Gris by her side, off we all went on our group walk to the restaurant.
Here's the gang getting ready to help Rooney learn the ropes.
It took a little while for it to register in her puppy brain, but the light finally went off on our return with Rooney trotting along with the gang at a nice, brisk pace. I'm proud to report that yesterday, Rooney took a short neighborhood walk alone WITHOUT stalling out or stopping every few feet. We're going to continue to work on her leash-walking skills, but this lesson was a great start. Yay for the power of teacher dogs and the "monkey-see-monkey-do" plan!
As for our outing at the local eatery - our pooches were a big hit. So many ooohs and aahs from passersby, not only because of their striking good looks but for their wonderful table manners as they sat on the benches with us. One little girl commented "oh look mommy, it's a doggy party!".
Here they are showing off their excellent social skills.
Gris Gris is checking out Donyale's udon (looks pretty yummy!) and doing a great job of "leaving it".
Muggy seems to be daydreaming about something delicious herself. Maybe a piece of chicken or a nice piece of steak?
And look - there's Rooney, sneaking a peek at the action in the street while the Kikster drinks her miso-soup.
The plan was a success and after the lessons were over, it was time to head off to my home for the final part of the plan.....practice at being a couch / lap dog.
Well done Rooney, and thanks to our gang of helpers.