Maisie’s Outing – August 13, 2023

(This was also posted on the Service Dog Advocate forum in a blog I have there.)

When I got Maisie she had SO many issues…and working through them I didn’t put much of an emphasis on working her in public. As full-time RVers and workcampers, we lived in campgrounds. At that time I could still walk well most of the time, and we usually took 3 good walks around the grounds every day. She worked well with the kids playing all around, bicycles and cars going around us, other dogs walking, etc. So I didn’t worry about more than that. After all, it is VERY rare that I go anywhere with my husband, daughter, sister, or friends who are able to assist me as needed; I didn’t really think I’d need Maisie to work with me away from home.

At home she is brilliant. Beyond brilliant. And we haven’t been out other than casual walks in several years. Today I decided to test her, to see where we’d need to start if I want to get her to be as reliable in public as she is at home. We went to a restaurant for lunch, using outdoor seating in an enclosed area where nobody else was sitting but people did walk through, and servers were in and out. We sat right next to the door to the restaurant. (One server invited us in, and Maisie was ready to go without waiting for my command to move…not a good start!)

Between the car and the gate. She was a total goofball. It was like she was a bubble-head who didn’t remember a single thing. I had to use my walker to block her more than once. “Look at me” – her most important and fool-proof command – didn’t get me even a glance. Wow. I didn’t expect THAT!

Once we got into the gate she was looking around everywhere. I had her “come around” (to my left side) and put her in a sit-stay, but allowed her to take in the surroundings as long as she didn’t react. The first time she started to react to someone walking past, “leave it” got her to, well, leave it. When our food came I put her in a down-stay half under the table (she was too big for the area) and she did a great job. I had to give one “leave it” when a server came through the door to address us and she was too interested. She was excellent while we ate, and walked me back out the gate, holding back when requested so I could see around a corner before leading her there, and made me proud. I thought we were home free until we got to within a few feet of the car and she bolted for it. Thankfully it was only a few feet, my husband was opening the door anyway so I gave the “load up” command so any onlookers would think she was supposed to do that hahaha!

I saw some things we will need to work on IF I decide to continue taking her out. As I said, I never go anywhere alone, I’m simply not able to manage things, but I have to admit that having her by my side did make ME feel more comfortable while among people…I didn’t realize previously that I wasn’t! So, maybe a nice skill to develop, even if not necessary. She is well-socialized (thank you, campgrounds!), and obedient – it is the distractions and attentiveness to me, because of the distractions, that need work. That, and “loading up”.

All in all, not nearly as bad as it could have been after our rocky start at first.

4 thoughts on “Maisie’s Outing – August 13, 2023

  1. with all the sounds around from the high traffic area, the smells of foods, I imagine she had a hard time concentrating on commands.

  2. Nicely done Maisie! She only missed a few commands overall. She is much better than my rescue pups who chew through their leashes in public 😂🤣

    1. Yes, once we settled down so did she, and started listening. Much of it, I believe, is that she didn’t know what to expect. It was all so new. I need to get her !out more, and expose her to more stuff:). Your rescue pups are, I’m sure, wonderful, E!

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