Downtown is a great place to take dogs there is a lot to see and smell and lots of ways to practice or if you are a pup learn how to deal with it all.  It can be overwhelming though so with little pups  or anxious adults take care to go slow and start with short visits.  You can always come back again after all its your 0830161219btown.  It can be great for puppies to socialize as there are all kinds of people and noises and things going on. You will probably never get the same exposure twice so going back never gets old. Recently I had noticed that Jonny was getting a bit stir crazy at the house and needed to get out on an adventure. I wanted something with more training opportunity and stimulus than just a walk in the woods so we loaded up and went downtown in search of sniffs and experiences.  I parked on Cornwall and walked down the street towards Magnolia eventually we came back around on Commercial. We made a few stops at some of the many doggy friendly stores along the way.  I carried my clicker and a pocket full of My Little Wolf dog treats.  As we walked on the street Jonny was able to sniff and move freely as long as he didn’t pull me. He got so many good sniffs and peed on some trees and shrubs.  Patricia B. McConnell  wrote a blog in January entitled “Take Your Dog on a Sniff” in which she presents the case of the importance of allowing your dog to sniff on walks “Dogs, on the other hand, primarily want to learn about the environment through olfaction,” So he got to sniff anything and everything he wanted for as long as he wanted. We IMG_0764walked past the flower shop on Cornwall and I clicked and treated for not pulling me into the flowers and then we practiced a sit stay (for a picture of course). We of course went into the Greenhouse to see all of the pretty things and collect a dog treat at the counter!  They love dogs at the Greenhouse and Jonny got to practice not jumping on the many people who wanted to say Hi to him.  I use a repurposed hand target as a polite greeting behavior so he got clicked and treated for touching peoples hands with his nose.  He did great I was so proud of him.  He even got invited into the office to meet the people there and collect some pets.  Then we walked around the corner to J & J Jewelry  where Jonny was greeted by the store owner who also loves dogs. As we walked to and from the stores or we stood on the sidewalks I clicked every time he looked at someone but did not move towards them. I talk a lot in my Clever Living: Clever Owner Basic Classes about Criteria Setting and Rate of Reinforcement. With Jonny my goal for this outing was just exposure and practice of known skills.  I was not looking to teach new things so I simply took a pocket of treats and clicked for greenhousemoments where he made a correct choice.  I had to help him with a cued behavior a few times, but for the most part I was able to trust that he would make the right choice and my job was just to tell him he had.  So for Jonny the rate was pretty low, not very many treats per minute.  When I take client dogs or pups downtown for training trips I take a bait bag full of treats and have a more specific training goal in mind. My criteria might be low but my rate would be much much higher, doling out click/treats much more frequently. It might be that we are just walking around working on loose lead walking and I avoid other more difficult situations until they are ready.  But I am clicking and treating for every step, not taking one for granted. Or I might take a dog and sit down at one of the coffee shops or cafes as I wrote about in my blog Patio Puppy and practice being calm while settling on a mat.  Y ou have a goal of being able to walk through a store with your dog not embarrassing you.  Once you can

 

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