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.
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.
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!
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.