Friday, October 22, 2010

Training: Day 2

    Tristen woke me up bright and early this morning at 6:30am. He wanted me to take Dante out to go potty so they could play with the ball again :)  They played until breakfast time. Dante didn't want to eat his food, I think he was holding out because he knew he would get lots of treats during class today. We had a bit of a power struggle over him not wanting to take the medicine that the vet provided (a precautionary antacid to prevent upset stomach from eating so many treats during training). I tried hiding it in a piece of Pupperoni, but he wasn't fooled at all. He ate the treat and spit the pill out. Luckily I'm not new to this game. I made him swallow it, and he gave me a look that said "Oh you evil woman!" LOL! He didn't hold it against me though. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, now that he knows I won't fall for any tricks ;)
    Tristen and Rebecka stayed at the hotel with Brianna today while Dante and I went to class. Most of the bonding between Tristen and Dante will take place at the hotel anyway, Tristen just gets too overstimulated at the training center, and it give Dante and I a chance to practice the skills we need without me being distracted. It's instinct for me to keep an eye on the kids, even if someone else is with them, so it was nice to be able to relax so to speak.
    We practiced some basic obedience today, mostly heeling and staying in a "down" even with distractions. After a break for lunch we all met at the mall (!) to get in some practice in an uncontrolled environment. It was crazy! Dante drew so much attention, mostly because he is so tiny and many people don't understand that service dogs come in all sizes. We heard lots of "Awwwww, he's so cute!", and more than one person came up and petted him without asking first. He behaved wonderfully though, he wouldn't even hardly pay attention to them unless I told him that he could "say hi." He was so serious while heeling too, his posture and gait clearly said "I'm working right now, that's right, I'm important."
   Once training was over, we left the mall and stopped at PetSmart before going to the hotel. I bought Dante a brush and a portable water dish, and let him pick out a new toy. He got this tiny little stuffed teddy bear with a squeaker inside. When we got back to the hotel, I handed the bear to Tristen and told him to give it to Dante. Of course Tristen heard it squeak and decided to squeeze it over and over and over again. Which Dante absolutely LOVED! He was jumping around Tristen, wanting him to throw it. So Tristen threw it and Dante ran and got it. He would bring it back to Tristen, drop it, and bark at Tristen to throw it again. They must have played for an hour total! They were both worn out by the time they were done.
 After they finished playing, we had dinner. Then they decided it was time for round 2. I don't think I've ever heard Tristen giggle and laugh as much as he did tonight :)
    I was also pleasantly surprised when Tristen ran up to Dante and started petting him. Dante didn't even try to move. This is a big deal, because Dante is such a little guy, and yesterday he was a little jumpy when Tristen would run up to him and make sudden movements. It's all about size, and the fact that Tristen was towering over him while running up. He's definitely starting to get more comfortable with Tristen. I don't think it will take too long for them to form a strong bond.
    After they finished playing again, it was time for baths and bed. We've got another long day of training ahead of us tomorrow, so I'm going to say goodnight as well :)

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