Yesterday I was very proud of Kaylee and how she controlled herself in Pet Smart. All the training we have done together has paid off. Since applying the rank drive our relationship has become a thousand times better!!!
Salisbury, MD was jam packed full of people shopping. Before leaving we played an intense game of merry go round fetch which is a non stop retreive/drop it game. So we go in and there are all kinds of people with pets. I had Kaylee do a proper heel and she stayed close to me. Two ladies were standing in line and set their eyes upon her. Kaylee took notice too. The ladies started to bend over and reach out to pet her and did not even ask me if it was okay which it was NOT okay to pet her at that moment. I could tell Kaylee was about to become excited with instant gratification if I did not quickly move forward. I let out a firm command of Kaylee! Lets go! Her focus was on me with a vocal command and no "lets go tug" was given. We quickly walked through and she was heeling, focused, and did wonderful. I could see out of the corner of my eye the two ladies were not happy but I do not care. I went back a few minutes later and I was polite and explained to them why I did it.
I told them she is 7 months old and in training. People must ask before they pet her. Kaylee must be calm in a sit/stay. When people lock eyes with her and go to reach to pet her it excites her. Once excited and allowed to escalate she will jump, nip, grab,mouth etc which is what I DO NOT want her rewarded for. The one lady replied to me and said, "it's okay she is just a puppy and puppies are allowed to do that." Then she went to reach out again! I told the woman mine is not allowed to and when this puppy becomes an adult it is no longer cute. Before she could touch her I gave Kaylee the lets go hand signal and walked quickly away from the woman.
At the store she did wonderful other people came up to us and asked if they could pet her. They were allowed to because Kaylee was in a calm sit/stay. The pet was a reward and she was doing great. She had a few excitable moments and the trick is to keep her moving forward rather than stay in one spot and make corrections. She will escalate if I do that which is what I do not want. I had her sit and observe other dogs. She did not react to them and remained calm which is a HUGE break through for her on large adult dogs!
I will continue using rank drive and leadership exercises because it is working. Everything is going very well and I think maybe December/January we may do the evaluation for the K9 program. Kaylee has been very happy and eager to work/play! Today I am going to be cutting down bamboo her job is to pick it up, drag it away, and put it in a pile. She loves doing that too, lol!