As some of you know Spike, my Jack Russel can be reactive at times, so I like to take him to special places on occasion.
Yesterday we took a trip to Pet Smart for a little training exercise and of course a toy. As I was getting Spike out of the car a group of young children were going into the store. I thought to myself, oh what bad timing :( , but decided I was here let's just do this thing. Thinking this may be the hardest part of our visit, I mustered up the courage and moved forward. After watering the fire hydrant we went through the doors to be confronted with those small children running around the store screaming, one might have thought I was visiting Chucky Cheese.
I stopped in between the doors and regrouped. I took a quick overview of Spike's body language, then had him "look" at me. He responded right away, and away we went in to the store. I had to ask for his attention just 2 more times before we were off in a quieter area of the store. Once there I had Spike do some of his "tricks" for me. This was just to refocus him on me and get rid of the tension. It worked (of course).
Don't you know as soon as he was released there was a large bin of Halloween toys. A pumpkin, ghost and a spider were there. I held each one out to Spike. He smelled the pumpkin, turned away from the ghost and then he took the spider and started squeaking it. It was his favorite. He carried it with us as we looked around the store. He would put it down occasionally to sniff a spot on the floor or another toy, but always picked it up when he was done. People walked past him, a kid was playing with some toys in the isle we walked down, and Spike proudly carried his spider around.
At this point I was feeling pretty good about our visit we had conquered a group of kids, a chocolate lab puppy who was following behind us and smells of other dogs who have visited. I decided to check out. I put the toy on the belt and paid for it. Spike being the polite pup he is sat nicely and waited (of course I thought it was for the toy). When the cashier bent over to give Spike the toy I had no time to give a warning, so i just calmly watched Spike's body posture. He stood up, sniffed the toy and sat back down. What a good boy. The cashier put the spider in the bag and asked if he could have a treat. I said of course, but this time said that he most likely would not let her pet him. He was just the little gentleman and nicely took the treat and I swear smiled at her. I am of course beaming at this point because it couldn't have gone any better.
Then out of no where comes this beautiful, high energy Golden practically pulling it's owner off her feet to come say hello. Mr. Manners disappeared and he growled, no barking though, I could not give my undivided attention because of course I was trying to sign the receipt. So I body blocked and he calmed down, but the Golden would not give up. As soon as I was able I moved him away a little and had him look at me. It totally shocked me when those little eyes met mine. He was still growling, but at least he was focused on me now. we moved a little farther away and the owner of the golden managed to get her dog out of the store.
Not so bad I thought after they were gone and Spike turned on the charm again. All in all it was a great trip. Spike enjoyed himself and we were able to leave with our heads held high. We still have lots of work to do, but we are on the right track!
Good job Spike!