Adventures of Alaric Part 5
By Michele Forto
This week Alaric has been brushing up on his manners in public, around other dogs, and other people. He went out to the Aurora Mall and underwent his first pre-test for public access. If he had taken a real test, we require at least an 80% to be registered as “in-training”. Alaric has been out of practice publicly for about 4 months.
Alaric entered the mall at the food court, and was received by lots of stares and snickering but we pressed on. He stayed in a good heel position and at times hugged his handler by walking closer. As we progressed through the mall we walked him closer to the glass barrier, he was afraid at first but calmed down after a few feet. We met a nice elderly couple who commented on Alaric’s behavior and after a few moments with them answering questions and visiting we moved on.
Alaric entered the elevator which has an open view and did great, he laid down on the floor and relaxed. He did not run or pull once the door opened, he waited patiently for his handler to lead him out. Alaric allowed strangers to walk by while he was on a down stay and did not startle when a toddler ran by on the tile floor smacking his flip-flops as loudly as he could.
We then went back towards the food court, stopping at a few stores along the way that had tight areas for the team to maneuver through the team did great, even passing stuffed animals!
The food court can actually be a tougher test on a dog than a regular restaurant; there’s lots of people and kids and many different smells in a small area. We placed Alaric under the table on a down stay and tested him with small pieces of chicken and French fries falling to the floor – he looked but didn’t touch. Alaric did however become nervous as a large crowd of people approached and he sat up from his down, we let him know it was okay and he returned to a down. Now I say nervous but he could have been alerting his handler to the crowd approaching her from behind as well.
All in all, Alaric performed well for his first pre-test scoring an 80%!