Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mac's big Saturday out

Okay, okay so I know I brag all the time about Mac, but today was such a great day I just had to share.

We started the day off at the vet to get his pre-flight checkup and make sure we had everything in line for the flight. He did so amazingly well this time at the vet. He is usually good at the vet, but of course has always been a bit rowdy going in and has had a hard time just relaxing especially if other dogs are in the waiting room. Now that he has his official vest though he just radiated with obedience for the most part in the waiting room. Everyone commented on how well behaved he is for his age. It made me feel good knowing that I've been doing well with his training despite still having to work (hopefully that won't be the case soon!). It's a good thing we went to the vet after our morning training session anyways. Someone (I won't say who..cough, cough *hubby*) left the hot dogs on the counter. Well I was distracted on the computer and Mac was in the living room I thought chewing on a chewbone....nope, he was downing 8 hot dogs! So needless to say he has had a bit of a tummy ache today too! The vet said he will be okay.

Then we went to Costco for a quick trip. Things went great at Costco. We came home for lunch and a bit of a break. Then we needed to go get my husband's haircut so we took him there too. When we first came in there were two little kids there with their mom and of course the first thing the little girl asked was if she could pet Mac. I told her that he was working right now but maybe in a few minutes. Her mom also tried to rein them both in. When we checked in for the haircut Mac was very good to the receptionist who of course thought Mac was very cute. I got him to do an "up" command and practice that for when he is ready to start handing things to cashiers and that went well. We went and sat down and I thought maybe having the kids come over would be a good idea to help socialize him to kids more. He really likes kids plus I was wanting to practice with some distractions. It went pretty well. The kids were a bit bratty. The little boy about drove me nuts! So I don't think I'll do that again. Mac did great though. He did a very good down, did some good eye contact with me when I did "watch me" and then actually fell asleep for a bit. I'm surprised he was able to with that kid being so talkative and walking back and forth. The one thing he did there and at Costco though was more of what I would call a neat sprawl. He was pretty close to the chair laying down, but definitely not in like a curled position. I worry still that his tail or paws are going to get stepped on. He curls up here at the house when he is really tired and I've been trying to reward that behavior, but I don't think he gets it as he is half asleep when I tell him good curl.

After the haircut we took Mac to a small field for some play time so he could run around and get some exercise. Then we went to the airport. Mac did very well. He had a slight bit of hesitation going in because stupid me forgot about the main thing you see at the Anchorage airport at the Delta terminal....a BIG STUFFED POLAR BEAR...as in the real kind! It's in this big glass case. It's like 9 feet tall, bearing teeth and kinda scary for just a regular person! Mac didn't bark, but you could definitely sense his stress level going a bit higher. So we side tracked that area for a few minutes, toured the rest of the terminal and got his stress level back down. He never barked once while there so that was a good sign. He was also very interested in the escalator so I did some sit/stay commands there to get him comfortable with that and then took him into the bathroom with me because I've not yet taken him into a public restroom. I figured he wouldn't like it because he doesn't really care for the bathroom at home as far as laying on the floor. It went okay after coming and going a few times. He was a bit unsure about being in the stall with me and doing a sit or down. I think he'll get used to it soon enough. Then we went and circled and got used to the polar bear and he was much better. He also did a very good under when my husband sat in one of the waiting chairs in the area. He got under the seat that they have there in the terminal areas so I think that's a good sign if we can get him to do that while waiting to get on the plane. I think going out there one or two more times and he'll be all ready for the airport. Luckily when we went tonight it wasn't busy at all. There weren't any flights coming in at all so it was nice and quiet. We'll go back tomorrow night when it is a bit busier to see how he handles it when it is more crowded. Monday we are doing our bus training and potentially going to the courthouse to see how he handles going through security. My brother is a TSA trainer and said that they are only suppose to do a visual inspection of the dog unless they have longer hair and then they get searched closer from what I understand from Mike's email.

I was just planning on us being there for a few minutes or so, but since it was fairly quiet and he wasn't really distracted we went with as much as he tolerated and then called it a night. The vet did say he wouldn't recommend any kind of tranquilizers or anything like that and that most dogs of his breed do very well on planes. I am wondering though if it would be okay to give him his allergy medicine? It makes him a bit drowsy so I thought maybe it might help him sleep on the flight? It does make him pretty thirsty and since I don't want him to need to drink that much during the flight I am thinking of just waiting till after the flight. I'm really excited now for the trip and I actually think he is going to do very well!





1 comment:

Jess to the Lo said...

How is going to actually fly? Are you doing a gate check with him or are you bringing him into the plane with you? Does he have his own seat or something?