Saturday, June 15, 2013

Largo Park Meeting: 1st Meeting with AC Stephanie!

Today was the first official meeting of the newly formed Central Pinellas Puppy Raiser group under the new leadership of Area Coordinator Stephanie, with Assistant ACs Lois and Bill.

AC Stephanie is smiling and ready to welcome everyone to Largo Park.
She has two leather guide dog harnesses in her hands for the older dogs to try on.
As we waited for the much smaller group to arrive, we chatted and let the dogs settle down.

Charity, Lois and Bill's puppy, looks directly into the camera.

Brian says hello to puppy Treasure.
 After everyone had arrived, we moved to another area for obedience.
Brian H. gives his puppy Treasure the sit command, and she pays rapt attention to him.
 Largo Park has some great exposures.  One in particular is a giant German Shepard.  Most of the dogs went right up to it without a problem.  Charity, however, did at first have a little problem, but since Bill and Lois are old hands at this (Charity is their 11th dog), it was extremely useful for the rest of the group to watch how they handled the situation.

 Charity barked and backed away.  Both Lois and Bill didn't coddle her, but instead got her to walk up to the statue at her own pace, taking small steps forward, with praise when she would go forward.

At first Charity barked at the statue and backed away.
The photo shows Lois standing firm and Charity backing away.
Lois was able to get Charity up to the statue and she covered the statue's eyes, as sometimes, it is the eyes (or lack thereof) that freak dogs out.

Charity is up at the statue and is able to sniff the statue's head.
 Then Lois took her all the way around the statue, notice her loose leash and she used praise the whole time.

Lois and Charity are walking around the back of the shepard statue. Charity is looking up at Lois.
 Lois lets Charity sniff and look at the statue all she wants and continues to praise her.

After all this, she walked Charity away and then walked her back up to the statue: no reaction!  Yea, Charity!!  Good girl!

It's important to remember that when your puppy sees something that startles them, let them approach it slowly, give lots of praise, and then return to the item again.  Perhaps next week, go back and try it again.  Or find another similar object and try it.

Photo of Debbie with guide dog Luke leaning against her .
Katie and Bo are behind her.  Katie is smiling

We had some special guests at our meeting: Debbie and Luke and Debbie's husband, and Katie and Bo and Katie's boyfriend.  They were all able to provide a valuable perspective to the conversation we had and it was great fun to have them with us!

Close up of Luke as Debbie presses his head into her thigh.
 Charity will be going in for training in August and she was able to try on the harness as well.

Charity with her harness on!

Bill is holding Charity's leash as she walks with the harness on.
 She had no problems walking in harness.
Coach walks by some statues of children and has no problems.

Another exposure: flags flapping. We are all standing in the memorial courtyard with 6 flagpoles.

 All of the puppies were very at ease with the flags flapping on the flagpoles, and it was a very windy day.

Ava managed her harness with ease.
One of our prospective puppy raiser families has very small children, so our puppies got to experience interactions with infants and small children today as well.

Puppy Pauline, Emma and raiser Melissa.

It got a bit hot, but we had plenty of water for Coach and Ava to share a drink.

Max and Emma continued to love on Pauline.

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