Last night, I took him to a gathering of friends (one of the group who doesn't get a chance to come home a lot is in town for the holidays). If I were just thinking of which dog could handle the situation better, hands down it would be Juno. But 1) my mom doesn't appreciate being Kaline's babysitter and 2) Kaline needs a lot more work on that kind of situation than cool-as-a-cucumber Juno does.
So off we went to the restaurant/bar in Palo Alto. Before we left, I put Kaline on the treadmill for a good 45 minutes to try and tire him out. He wasn't perfect, but he did really well for being a baby in that environment. There were a lot of new people, it was crowded, and it was loud. I brought Kaline's cushy mat and a full bait bag, plus he wore his red Cloudchaser to make sure he stayed nice and warm.
We stayed about two and a half hours, and I was pleased with how both of us did. When I pretty much know Kaline isn't going to be a Completely Professional Old Hand Invisible Service Dog, I can get preemptively nervous and uptight. I stayed pretty cool last night, I thought! When Kaline alerted, I took it seriously and let him in my lap until he felt I had chilled enough for him to go back down. When he popped up from his down and got nudgy, I didn't freak, just put my foot on his leash so the only comfortable position was a down. I remembered to reward him periodically when he was good, and I didn't flip over normal puppy antsy-ness.
|Kaline right after we arrived.|
Kaline, for his part, spent a huge majority of the time in a calm, relaxed down, punctuated by little bits of popping up and being antsy. It's much easier to focus on the times he wasn't doing what I wanted, but when you think about it, he really did much more of what I did want than what I didn't. It's just easier to overlook a dog who is being "invisible"! It was a tough test for him, and I am definitely proud of how he did.
|Kaline after he got more comfy.|
After a long time I could tell he'd had enough, so I let everyone know I was leaving and said if anyone wanted to say hi, they could come outside and I'd take off his vest so Kaline could socialize. He had a great time getting to meet people! (Oh, and a great friend moment: When I first brought Kaline in, one of the guys started trying to get his attention. Before I could even say anything, one of my buddies leaned over and said, "You can't do that. Don't distract him, he's a service dog." WOOHOO!!!!)
Today is Christmas Eve, so we've got some stuff planned. The parents invited me to both lunch and dinner, so I decided Kaline would go to lunch, Juno to dinner. Mom was a bit worried about how Kaline might behave at lunch, which of course got me worried. We were going to Carpaccio which is a nicer place, so if he decided to be a pill it would not be good.
So we did the two pack walks, and when we got home early, instead of letting Kaline rest, I took him right out again to work in a hardware store until it was lunchtime. Worked like a freaking charm. I took him into the restaurant, put him on his mat next to my chair, and except for rising to a sit when Dad showed up, Kaline was silent and practically motionless under the table for the entire meal. I reached down every now and again to stroke him, praise him quietly, and/or give him a treat. He was so good. Even Mom was impressed!
|Wearing a Christmas ruff and settling like a champ.|
I think we all know Juno is going to be a star at dinner tonight. Grin.