To Xfinity, and beyond! (Plus, Holler at Mahler: Mahler does the mall)

My husband and I have officially dropped Verizon as our internet provider, as they never actually provided us with internet!  We have switched to Xfinity, and voila!  INTERWEBZ!!!

For those who are not up to date, I have a new puppy here, Mahler, who is my new service dog in training so Straussdog can retire in a couple of years.  He is doing exceptionally well thus far, but we do have quite a bit of work to go.  Right now we are working on basic obedience, manners, and just learning to carry various things calmly.

Today we took a trip to the mall, and while Mahler has been to the mall several times, this is the first time he’s been there during the weekend, when it is exceptionally busy.  There are tons of strollers, and children, and people in wheelchairs, and the environment is much louder and charged with activity.  It’s a good time to practice focus work.

Mahler is not presently vested, though he does wear an ID tag so people know he is in training.  Right now, public access is only about manners and general focus.  Learning to ignore people and how to properly behave in public.  His only job at present is to learn appropriate behavior and to not disturb people (and to ignore people when they try to disturb him).

I have to say that I have been extremely impressed with this little boy, as at only 15.5 weeks, he is already less interested in people when he is working with me.  Yes, he can still be distracted, he’s a baby, and to expect him to ignore everything is unfair.  But his ability to redirect back to me when I request of him, and the speed with which he complies is remarkable.

We were in the mall from 2:00-2:50, and he was doing focused heelwork with me complete with automatic sits for 20-30 feet at a time.  He was heavily rewarded for the actions.  He was doing this through large crowds of people, and while he would ocassionally glance away from me, all it took was “Ah ah, Mahler!” and he was back on task.

He did sits, downs, and stands at various places throughout the mall with no hesitation, and even when people were talking to him as he sat next to me in heel position, he maintained eye contact with me (which was also HEAVILY rewarded).  I could not have been prouder of him.

I even sat down to have a small meal while there, and he laid silently beneath the table in the food court as I ate.  He did not sniff the floor or food surf.  He never barked or whined.  He just waited.  He got up a couple of times, and was silently returned to a down position, but none of it was ever a fight.  He’s just a good dog.

This is not something I would do with him EVERY weekend, as that is just too much for a puppy to constantly handle at this age, but it is good to know that he is not only comfortable in such situations, he is exceptionally confident, and nothing rattles him,

Good job, Butter Bean.

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz


~ by ClassicalSpazz on May 13, 2012.

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