Sunday, July 8, 2012

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Like a Labrador in a China Shop...

Only two weeks away from IFT (in for training) and we are looking at every exposure as if it is his last.  So today when we decided to go to the antique store to look at stained glass, we thought, it's his last two weeks.  OF COURSE WE SHOULD TAKE HIM WITH US.

Janet's Antiques

I had previously seen some gorgeous stained glass windows at Janet's Antiques on Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. We wanted to take down some shears and replace them with hanging stained glass windows in  the garden room.  So, off to the store we went.

Outside of Janet's Antiques.
Outside of Janet's Antiques.
I have been in Janet's several times.  I really like this store.  In fact my memory of it is that it is roomy and has lots of amazing stuff.  It also has a particular dealer who has arts and crafts furniture, which I love. It makes for lots of drooling.

In retrospect, I should have remembered that antique stores are just another name for china shops.  Rather, they are very crowded spaces filled with delicate items that cost an enormous amount of money.

And I am bringing a large labrador with a large lab tail and a friendly disposition inside.  What is wrong with this picture?

"Roomy aisles," the voice inside my head says.  There is not one flicker of unease as we walk towards the store.  Fred opens the store for us.  We step inside and immediately turn left. This is what we see.

View of the narrow aisles at Janet's Antiques.
View of the narrow aisles at Janet's Antiques.
"Holy Guacamoley, Batman!" The other inner voice (the one that IS connected to reality) screams.  There is no way Jam is going to navigate these aisles successfully.

Box of Acceptable Behavior

Sometimes training a guide dog puppy, or just training a puppy, is knowing what, as our Southeastern Guide Dog trainers say, is in their box of acceptable behaviors.  I know Jam can navigate a Home Depot. I know he has Publix down.  Fresh Market is a little more of a challenge for him.  But Janet's? Is Janet's in his box?

Jam, doing a down under at Janet's Antique's store.
Jam, doing a down under at Janet's Antique's store.
 No.  Janet's is not in his box. What is in his box is a good down under and calmly sitting at the front of the store while Fred chooses what windows to buy. So that is what we do.

In addition to needing to be down and under the chair I was sitting on at the front door, he also had to ignore everyone who walked in and said,

"Oh, what a gorgeous dog!" (There were several. 8-) And the store owners have a little dog that stays up front.  What could go wrong there?

That dog started to bark and was told that she wasn't being a good hostess, but good boy Jam ignored her.

View of top of Jam's head doing his down under.
View of top of Jam's head doing his down under.
He was in the zone, or box, rather.  Yea!

Fred found two acceptable windows, paid for them and Jam and I went to fetch the car.  Our job was done.  We had started out with one box and we had to change it midstream for another, but Jam was up to the task and fulfilled his duty.  Successful puppy training can require modification if you see your puppy is not being successful.  You always want them to end with success.  


  1. I love your the days that I was waiting to pick up my little man, I did nothing but read through all of your posts. I got as far back as HHR!
    Anyways, good job Jam! Are you going to raise again after he goes IFT?

    1. Katie,

      You are so kind! Thank you. Yes we are going to raise again. It's in our blood now and I don't think we could stop. 8-) We'll be getting our new little man the first week of August. Still no word yet on the exact date though. I'm hoping to find out on the 21st when I take Jammy back!