Thursday, January 23, 2014


There is something special about taking a Puppy in Program on outings. Is it always easy? No. There are certain aspects that one has to over look in order to get into a routine.
Like the weather. On days when it is pouring down rain with wind blowing sideways and the car door opens left to right, rather than up and down providing shelter, yeah ~ those days take extra motivation to take the time to get furry puppy in and out of the car while both two-and-four legged are becoming soaking wet.

Time constraints. Let's face it, there are times when you just want to get in - get errands accomplished - and get outta there. Taking a Puppy in Program severely slows down the speed in which one can get in and out of an errand. While it is perfectly acceptable to keep puppy safely home in the crate while running errands; after all the purpose of an outing for a puppy should be on training, it is equally as important (I think) to take puppy on errands so they get used to the shopping cart, or the speed in which some errands need to be, or get used to the Handler having to juggle multiple items and tasks with their hands while still maintaining control of the puppy leash (yes, this does take coordination and mastery of skill - which I now have). Valuable lessons are learned for the Puppy and Puppy Raiser on routine, fast errands.
And like crowds. Yes, of course, puppies are supposed to experience being in large crowds and unusual spaces and places in a safe way. It takes courage and bravery to be confident for your puppy, so it is easy to find excuses to back out of these social outings. When you find yourself in this position, you just have to jump in with faith that everything will work out great; and plan an exit strategy should it not. (HA!).

Having said these obstacles and encouragements,  I am not saying that I always adhere to my own wisdom. There are days when I wake with good intentions, but chicken-out. It is natural and I try hard not to beat myself up over it. I always strive to be the best volunteer for Kolby, and some days just don't allow for perfection. And I am learning to accept that. Real Life - that is the experience that Puppies in Program need ... and Kolby is getting that!
Today was not one of those days when everything worked out. Today we had a wonderful outing in the sunshine (cold, but manageable) in and out of the car, and a lovely walk and training in a Mall. This place is littered with Mall Walkers. They are easy to spot - they walk the perimeter in their walking shoes, carrying nothing, and have a very stern look of accomplishment in their eyes. As opposed to those meandering every which way with shopping bags and the look of deer in the headlights as they shop for this and that.

How do I know this?! Because after our multiple trips round the Mall circle doing random commands at random places, Kolby and I sat and watched. It was fun and agreed with the training principal that Puppies in Program need time to just 'relax' in their environment. They don't always need to be working, they need to be observing too.

Kolby held a perfect Down while I snapped a few pictures of him on my phone, and he watched a few passerby's. And then he rested his head on the floor between his front paws and just half watched, and half slept the remaining time away. A woman happened to join us on the long, half circular sofa in the Mall. She watched us for about five minutes, and then we caught each other's eye, and she started up a conversation about Kolby. She had been observing him and mentioned, "He really does not miss anything. He is very attentive. He is calm, yet attentive. He will be a wonderful addition for someone when it is his time." She was very sweet and heartfelt. She was referring to his eyes moving to sounds and people going by even though his head was perfectly still on the floor with an occasional check-in up-glance to me. I think she was right; I believe her too.
Kolby and I walked out of the Mall shortly after this nice woman left us with our happy tails wagging all the way to the car.


  1. I always found public access training outings rather like baby sitting a particularly charismatic toddler. Even if they were being perfect people were magnetically drawn to them.

    Keep up the good work! Sounds like Kolby's doing great!

  2. I agree completely! There are sometimes when it would be so much easier to go without Jet! But, they always end up being worthwhile outings. And some places I'm a hot mess worrying about taking him in, too! Those usually turn out the best!