Sunday, October 11, 2009

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Pack Leader

Well, I've begun using my new found pack leader skills (essentially a loud NO and a firm whatever the correction is) and it seems to be working. Last night Bingo started in with some biting and I tried out the loud NO and the biting correction Chuck told me to use, which startled the snot out of Bingo. He sat real close to me the rest of the night and never made a move to bite again. This morning he tried a tentative bite and I did the correction again. I'm hoping by the time we get back to school on Wed. that the biting phase will have been dealt with. If not, I have some students who will gladly work with me on testing Bingo to get over this little phase. We'll have him bite free by the end of the week.
Next, I am going to work on stairs. Debbie and Chuck explained in more detail about why the puppy raisers are supposed to make the dogs sit before and after they go through them and at the top/bottom of stairs. I had thought it was because the blind person needed to find the threshold of doorways for themselves. The stairway sitting seemed obvious. They explained it was a control issue. They don't want the dog speeding through the door or leaping down the stairs. They also said it was important for it not to become an automatic thing. If I ever arrive at a door and Bingo sits without my telling him to sit then I should turn around and go someplace else and come back. The dog doesn't make the decisions. The handler does.
Monday is our 18th wedding anniversary. So we went today to the Vinoy in St. Pete for brunch to celebrate with a friend and we took Bingo and I tried out my new tools for being in charge.

Brunch was very tasty and pretty stress free. At first, Bingo seemed to want to start on a gum exploration of the underside of the table, but a firm NO put him off that idea. We settle him down and it only took a few more firm downs to get him to stay there.
Of course we could do nothing about the crazy family at the table near us who let their baby crawl LOOSE ON THE FLOOR without ANY SUPERVISION and the baby made it all the way to our table. Bingo was wagging his tail and would have gotten up, but I had a hand on his back pressing him down. Seriously. Are people insane? What sort of parent lets their baby crawl around loose on the carpet of a public restaurant 15-20 feet away from them and toward a strange dog? A dog that is on eye level? That's a parent who deserves to have their child taken by child protective services for child endangerment. Not because the dog is a danger, but because their parents are so stupid. They never got up to get the child. Eventually, the child crawled back to them, on its own. They never moved from their seats or their plates of food. Greedy, stupid people.

We worked on stairs and Bingo did very well. We also worked on the stand command in the public restroom. He was very good. He was tired and happy to go home at the end of the brunch.

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