Let me preface this by saying that I refuse to purchase anything at Petsmart due to their discrimination through their Doggy Day Care. They blatantly refuse to allow pit bulls. Now let me add that pit bulls have no place at a doggy daycare (or dog park or anything like that), but that doesn’t justify their discrimination.
Whew. That being said, I do like to take Inara there to work on training around distractions. There are always people, dogs, cats, birds, rodents, food and toys scattered throughout the store. We went there this evening and they were packed. We spent about 45 minutes wandering around the store, working on loose leash walking and ignoring distractions. Inara met several adults and children and of course lapped up the attention.
We’ve been practicing “Back Aways” that Brenda Aloff recommends in her book Get Connected (awesome book by the way – it’s expensive but well worth it. And if you ever get a chance to work with Brenda – DO IT. She is worth every penny!). They’re incredibly effective – Inara used to be so reactive around other dogs, and now if she shows too much interest I simply take a couple steps backwards and she whips around and sits in front of me, giving me direct eye contact. It’s hard for her, but she is doing it! We’re also working on relaxation exercises, so a couple times this evening while at Petsmart, I took Inara to a quiet corner of the store, laid her on her side, and massaged her until she relaxed. It’s really quite amazing how if you “force” the body to relax, the mind relaxes as well.
We did get several strange looks though, as Inara’s treat of choice is Easy Cheese – that nasty canned cheese you squeeze onto crackers (or into dog mouths!). It’s super convenient to carry, and I swear to god that stuff is puppy crack!