6 months 4 weeks old
In the last three days Knightley and I have had three compliments about how good his behaviour is; the most recent being today when we were up at the shops getting him used to his new halter, and two dogs tied at the pub started barking at him very reactively. I am teaching him to ignore distractions like that, so that every time he looked away from the dogs (and he spent most of his time not looking at the dogs and only glanced at them occasionally) I c/ted him. A couple were walking towards the shops, so they could see what we were doing, and called out to me "that's very impressive!", so I went over to talk to them. They thought Knightley's behaviour was great. It really makes me feel good to hear that.
We took Knightley to one of the pet shops near here to use their dog wash today, and he was pretty good there too. I have been training him so that if I stop and stand still for around 5+ minutes he can go into a down and just settle down to wait for me. He did that today while we were talking to one of the shop attendants, and she was sooo impressed. It was there that we actually went for our puppy training, and they remembered Knightley from when he was an 11 week old tiny little fluffy baby. What a difference to now, when he is very close to being 7 months old.
On Friday I picked up his first padded assistance dog vest from the post office. I ordered it from Activedogs from the US, as well as a couple of other items, and it looks really great! I am completely happy with it. The management at the show we are going to tomorrow are letting us take Knightley on the condition that he is clearly marked as not a normal young pet dog, but as an assistance dog to be (hopefully!), so that is the main reason I have this vest a little ahead of the usual time scale.
I think we're going to have to go earlyish in the day because it looks like it will be a warm day, and I don't want Knightley overheating. He will quite likely be stressed enough from all the strange things already there, and that increases the likelihood of overheating, so going early is a good idea - if I can drag the hubby out that early!!!!!
We've been doing more work on his zen, lots of food zen and animal zen - bird and dog mostly. I know he will be seeing all sorts of animals at the show... I meant, they even have pig races! But I hope the work we have done on zen carries over to the other animals, mostly horses and cows, because there are are definitely a lot of those there. They are one of the main reasons I wanted to take him. I've heard of mature working dogs bumping into a horse for the first time and totally flipping out. I really want Knightley to see some bigger animals before he gets any further in his socialisation and training to prevent that type of reaction later down the line.
The Comfort Training halter is in the country and should be arriving imminently but hasn't got here yet. However, I decided that I really wanted a halter for our day tomorrow, so I ended up buying a Gentle Leader for tomorrow. We've done a bunch of counter conditioning today to get Knightley used to it, to the point he happily puts his muzzle in the loop now, whilst wagging his tail expectantly. I will take it off regularly tomorrow as he won't have ever worn it as long as I'll be asking him to.
I can't wait until tomorrow, it should be a fantastic learning experience for Knightley. I'll just have to be careful to watch him carefully for signs of stress and give him lots of breaks from the crowds. It should be fun for me and the hubby too! Be prepared for lots of photos!
Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment
For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!