Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spur: Training the Beast, Part 25

A trip to the Petco, June 27

I needed to run to Mooresville to pick up some kitty litter from the BJ’s club. We decided to take Spur because of the proximity to two large-chain pet stores and he’d have the opportunity to practice his manners.

We stopped in the Petco. We hadn’t planned on purchasing anything; just a quick walk around the store to see if we could run into people and work on his training. Spur was doing wonderfully, heeling at Doug’s side, looking up at him when Doug asked for his attention, sitting at the appropriate times when Doug stopped. We made a round about the store and picked up a fleecy mat for the kitties and tried on some muzzles. We opted to purchase one to use on him at group classes, just to give the other participants some peace of mind.

As we headed for the register to pay, we met the same trainer from 6/19 (and one time previous.) She recognized Spur and approached us without looking at him. I handed her treats. She told us how happy she was to see us and Spur out practicing. Spur was curious about the treats he saw me hand to her. He was much more friendly with her than his previous visit. The trainer spotted another couple that she knew from her training classes and asked the man to help us by offering a treat to Spur. Spur took the treat, tentatively, but without barking. We also asked another male employee to help. Spur really liked this guy and sniffed for more treats. Even a passerby shopper was curious about Spur and we were able to get her to offer a treat. Spur gave a lip quiver and small growl, but the woman didn’t seem to let it bother her and was able to give Spur the treat. We praised him for all his good manners!

As we got up to the registers, Spur caught sight of another dog that he felt he needed to exclaim something. Bar-rahr-rah-rar… Oh, Spur! Doug had him under control relatively quickly. After I paid and we headed for the door, another dog came in that Spur decided he did not like. Bar-rahrah-rah… Jeez, Spur! We just had a very nice trip to the pet store and you behaved beautifully! Why do you have to go and ruin it? We got him outside to the sidewalk, still near the door so we could still practice. Other people and children came out and walked in. Not a peep from Spur. We had him “down” on the sidewalk to chill out and relax. A couple walked out and the man eyed up Spur.

“Have you taken him to see Dogs By Andy?” the man asked in a thick southern accent.

It took me a while for my brain to decipher what he asked me. Then I answered, “Oh, well, we had a consultation up there but we didn’t like him.”

“Oh really?” the man was curious.

I told him we found a place down in Pineville and we’re working with trainers down there.

“That’s a real long drive,” the woman said like we were nuts to go that far.

“Yeah, but it’s the place we felt was best for him.”

Thinking back to our consultation with Turk… there is video out there. I’ve seen it. Spur, in the back seat of the Civic, windows rolled all the way up, maniac, barking, an uncontrollable dog tearing at the back window. I remember taking him across the front of the animal hospital to the side entrance for the Training Company; Spur, lunging, barking, acting like he wanted to eat anyone that wasn’t Doug or myself. Not once did Turk say “oh, you have a real problem on your hands. That, there, is a liability.” NOPE! Instead, Turk said to us, “Oh! I LIKE it! What personality! We can WORK with THIS! I LIKE it!” And that’s pretty much how we decided that Off Leash Training was the place for us.

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