On one of the warm days last weekend we took the dogs to the park and decided to get ice cream on the drive back home. Vito and Lance are excellent patio dogs but this was Zumi's first patio experience. She needed quite a bit of reminders to lie down, but overall was calm.
However Vito was the one to blow me away. Not only did Vito choose to engage with me and do some training after I finished my ice cream, but he actually was able to do so even before the food came! That means that upon arriving to a new place Vito didn't need tons and tons of acclimation time to sit and stare at the world. He was able to look around and within a few minutes felt safe enough and happy enough to actually choose to work!
My expectations weren't high in order to earn a cookie. Really all Vito had to do was make eye contact, and then either engage in play with me or do a few steps of heeling. Lots and lots of cookies! By the end of a few minutes of work I built up to baby signals and baby go outs. It's not about the exercises. Vito knows the exercises very well. It IS all about choosing to engage and play without pleading on my part. Sometimes we really need these small successes when working with our special kids. And maybe Vito won't be able to work so well on our next visit, but it sure felt good to see how happy he was to play with me in public.