The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

30 April 2013

Fun with Sonja, going to the doctor, and retrieving tribulations

Sunday we had lovely fun with Sonja after very efficient errand-running with Juno in the morning. I just wanted to get things done, not do real training, so I took Juno to the Farmer's Market, bagel store, and Trader Joe's. We finished everything in about an hour, maybe less. No one noticed I had switched dogs, which I found a little odd. But it was, as always, the best being out with Juno!

In the afternoon, we met up with Sonja on the Stanford campus. While Chief was working on his poolside down-stays, I took Juno and Kaline over to an empty field to romp. They were off-leash most of the time, with e-collars on. Not that I actually need one on Juno, I just had it in case other dogs showed up and she gave stinkeye. Which didn't happen. Kaline had a great time running around and retrieving sticks, and then we came back and moseyed off-leash with Sonja and Chief. It was so delightful. I love the freedom the collar gives me and Kaline.

Sonja, being the fabulous friend she is, drove all of us to Foster City to get my mom's car (she left it with a friend who drove her and Dad the rest of the way to the airport). And then we (Juno and I) got invited to dinner at Buca di Beppo! So freaking delicious. And it was good I brought Juno, cause one of the other people there is afraid of dogs touching her. Can you just imagine Kaline giving her a Doberpoke?! Aaagh! Someday though, we'll go back and I'll take Kay.

Yesterday everybody got to go to the doctor. After our three walks in the heat, Kaline and I headed to my doctor's office so I could get checked out for some things. Also, my wonderful GP totally understood my airport paranoia and wrote me a prescription for a service dog, just in case. Not that I would ever show it to anyone and make them think it was okay to ask for that. I just want to have it.

Kaline was good in the exam room but man, was he squirrelly in the elevator! Ever since he was in the transparent one in Palo Alto, we get the knocking knees. I tried to distract him by asking him to sit, stand, come, touch, all of which he did, but he was not happy. Urgh. And he was pulling and sniffing a bit while we were walking.

Nonetheless, I was proud of how he did at the exam. The nurse always does my damn blood pressure before the exam, which for some reason just sends my anxiety through the roof, plus it's painful. Fibro + squeezing = OW. I sat in the chair and asked her to wait to put on the cuff. I cued Kaline to lap-up, and he did it immediately, and so gently. He was perfect, and I haven't been that calm for the blood pressure ordeal in years.

He tested out our new mat on the slippery floor (not too much sliding, yay) and held a nice down stay during the rest of the exam. Of course, his highness refused to pick up the mat at the end. “Get that? What does that mean? I have never heard that command everrrrrr.

Next we went to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, and since we had to wait, I decided to work on, you guessed it, not pulling and not sniffing. It was a little bizarre. After being such a puppy ass in the doctor's office, he was perfect in the pharmacy. I think I told him leave it once. And I always had a nice loop in the leash. Good boy.

Then later, I had to take Juno to the vet just to make sure nothing was wrong (she's been limping off and on). Kaline came for moral support and still weighs 69.8 pounds. Sigh.

And today we had training. Kaline worked on hold and out (good) and retrieves (AWFUL). So I got Juno, and Anne set up a little course of objects for her to retrieve, going from easy (plastic water bottle, leather dumbbell) to hard (keys with no leather tab, metal Coke can). She picked up every single one like it was the greatest pleasure in the world to do so. I loved on her BIGTIME. I got so spoiled. She learned retrieving so easily with the clicker. Not so for wee Kaline ... He only retrieves the things he likes. Somehow, we shall advance to metal, the leash, and the roll-up mat!!

27 April 2013

A non-guilty McDonald's trip

The parents are gone for two weeks in Holland, so I may be posting more due to there being no one around to tell me to get off my computer! Kaline and Juno don't really care.

Today was mostly a Kaline day, because Juno has been a little bit off, physically, and the vet said to rest her this weekend and see how she is Monday. She's not precisely limping, just not moving quite normally. I had wanted to take her to obedience class and then to meet my friend Marissa and her new SD prospect, Macro, but instead she stayed home and Kaline came.

He did really well at class, and even got a compliment from Anne on his hold & out skills! Woohoo! She wants me to start working him more on weird textures and objects, like Coke cans. At the end of class, he got a little over-affectionate with Lynn, who used to babysit him on the sidelines when he was little. She was kneeling down to him and he went for a hug, and tipped her over! Yikes.

On the way home, Kay and I stopped at McDonald's to grab some lunch to-go. Right as we walked in, this little girl barely taller than Kaline came up to pet him, and I asked her not to because he was working. A few minutes later, I heard her and her mom behind us, the mom explaining to the little girl that Kaline is a working dog. They were on their way out, and our stuff was almost ready, so I told them if they wanted to wait a minute, I'd take Kaline's vest off outside and the little girl could pet him.

Kaline was so good with this tiny little human! He could have knocked her over by just leaning on her shoulders, but he was exceedingly gentle, calm, and contained. No fast movements, no paws coming off the ground, just awesomeness. After confirming that the little girl was okay with kisses, I let Kaline go over and he immediately began washing her face all over. She totally loved it and petted him everywhere. He stood so still, except for moving his head to lick different parts of her face. Meanwhile, the mom prompted questions about service dogs in general and I tried to answer them in kid-speak. (I worry about walking the line between speaking in a way they can understand and being a condescending asshole.) At the end Kaline folded himself into a down and happily kissed the little girl's toes. It was absolutely precious and assuaged my usual McDonald's guilt. (Yeah, I know, I really shouldn't eat that stuff, but it's so YUMMY.)

We came home to a very happy Juno—“I thought you were DEAD!!!!”—and watched a bunch of baseball until it was time to go meet Marissa downtown. Her new little guy, Macro, is so freaking cute. He has the most charming, scruffy little face. He's a mix of Black Russian Terrier and Belgian Malinois, and just a sweet, confident, friendly little pup. He's about twelve weeks old and though he was very interested in everything going on downtown—he needed to be carried sometimes so we could walk faster than a crawl, haha—he absolutely wasn't fazed by anything. Kaline was mostly good (only dabbed a paw at the puppy a couple times), except for being distracted by dogs going by several times and pulling. Freaking pulling, I know someday it'll end but it is driving me nuts right now. It was fantastic to catch up with Marissa and meet her new boy! My ego got a bit of a stroke too cause Marissa, being the wonderfully kind person she is, said that Juno is one of her favorite SDs. Heehee. Totally made up for this guy at McDonald's asking if Kaline was very short for his breed (he is PERFECTLY WITHIN THE MALE STANDARD, dammit!!!!).

Anyway! Juno did get to go out once today, a quick in and out to Draeger's. I figured it was less walking than an average pee break, so why not. She was understandably pissed at being left home twice, and was bursting with glee when I put Kaline in the crate and told her it was her turn now. Put on the vest and suddenly she was walking and trotting normally (we did NO pulling of any kind, just walked in, did a block at the counter, got our stuff and headed out again). Very weird. I would really like to know what is up with her right now.

26 April 2013


Kaline and Juno at the grove in the Arizona Garden.
This past Tuesday, my boy Kaline had his first birthday! It's completely insane how fast this year has gone. And I keep wondering what he did with that adorable little fat puppy who used to have to jackrabbit up the stairs. (Still kicking myself for never getting a video of that.)
On our morning walk, Kaline's friend Kelsey, who works at the flower shop where the dogs get cookies, presented him with a rose. Then she held it for him while he gleefully ripped off all the leaves and petals!

For Kaline's birthday, we did our usual Tuesday things—walks and training—but then finished up with a big delicious bagel burger. I think he was a little shocked that the burger I was grilling was for him. Juno gets fed scraps and such (it's too late to retrain Mom) but the only leftovers Kaline gets are things like fruit, vegetables and rice. He was so delicate about eating it too! Juno was like that her first time, licking the bagel until I mimed chomping it and she got the idea. Eventually Kaline ripped chunks off, but they were little, gentlemanly chunks. It was very cute. (Not as cute: The diarrhea that ensued the next day. Perhaps we'll have to figure out a different birthday tradition for him.)

Last week was not a good one for me, being stuck in a pit of depression most of the time due to being off certain pills and to overreacting to various events. But, it led to another milestone for Kaline. The parents invited me to go see 42, the Jackie Robinson movie, and because I was in a fragile emotional state and Kaline is much more attuned to that and proactive about it, I firmly said that he was going to the movie.

It was his first movie in a theatre other than the Stanford. And he was perfect during the movie! Didn't get up once, barely moved around period! He was awesome. And the movie was great. Some kids are raised on the normal fairy tales, but I was raised on stories of Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was my dad's hero growing up and was mine as well. It almost became a running joke in school, because I would do any American history or biography project on Jackie Robinson, always. The movie was quite good, although the ending was a little meh. It was amazing to see Ebbets Field recreated.

So yeah, doing well in a Real Movie Theatre™ was a huge deal, at least to me.
This was not a huge deal, but quite fun nonetheless.
In other fun news, Juno came along to a birthday dinner for my mom's best friend. Another member of our party arrived after I did, and even though she was sitting next to me, she didn't realize Juno was there until I happened to mention it. Win.

She also came to the Dutch Masters exhibit at the DeYoung and was awesome. We met Sonja and Chief, and also went with my friend Julie and her guide dog, Honda. The dogs were all fantastic. Juno did such great blocking. The exhibit was crowded with clumps of people, and every time I went to stare at a painting for an extended time, I'd motion to Juno to block behind me. After about the second one, the little movement from my right hand was all I needed, and she'd swing herself around in a most wonderful fashion. The rear end awareness exercises we used to do continue to pay dividends.
Chief and Juno at the DeYoung (Honda only holds dog toys).
 And my mom's friend, Dona, finished the travel-mat prototype! It's slightly narrower than our old one, but I absolutely love the fabric and colors! We already have some ideas for improvements and I'm super excited about it. Now I just have to hope people buy them, cause otherwise I'll look like kind of an ass. We're going to try it out at the doctor's office on Monday.
Kaline on the new mat. If you look closely, you can see the silhouettes of dogs (and a few cats) in some of the dots!

14 April 2013

Tiger Pride 2013

Every year, when the Tigers come to play the A's, we have a weekend of Tiger Pride. Most of my friends have Tiger Pride t-shirts I designed when I was sixteen, and we've gotten about four batches since 2002, when this all started. We get smaller groups now that a lot of people have moved away, but it's still fun.

This was Kaline's first Tiger Pride series—I wasn't sure how he'd do, having to stay down for a whole game, so Juno did Friday night (also because it was cold at the night game, and we all know how Kaline “deals” with cold), and Kaline did the two weekend day games.

Friday, 12 April: A's 4, Tigers 3 F/12

Friday night, Juno, Dad and I arrived at the ballpark well before the gates opened, and ended up meeting my friends Danny and Evanne. Juno was, of course, a star. We schmoozed with our favorite usher, Papa Nick, who works right behind the Tigers dugout and who has known me since middle school, probably. (The Tiger Pride crew have gained the affection of all the ushers on the first-base side, because we started coming with the Tigers were so epically bad.)

Juno waiting to go in.
We got to sit in Nick's section, cause he's awesome like that, and the game was pretty good. My nominal favorite Tiger, Max Scherzer, was pitching, and he was decent; the offense just didn't do much. Prince Fielder homered to give us a 3-0 lead, and then we gradually let the A's chip away till they won in extra innings. It was a really good thing I had Juno. Not only was it a ridiculously long game in terms of time, it was cold. I was miserable. Juno, with her nice double-coat topped off with her grey Cloudchaser, was just fine. Slept under my seat the whole time, then helpfully pulled me up the stairs and out of the stadium.

Juno being a pretzel under my seat.

Less pretzel-y.

On the way out, we passed some middle-aged female A's fans perched at the side of the concourse, booing anyone wearing blue and orange. They were like high school bullies. So I flipped them off as we went by. One of them then decided to come up behind me and grab me by the shoulders, telling me authoritatively, “You're too young to be doing that.” Just writing about it is making my heart rate shoot up. She is bloody lucky that I freeze in fear when I get grabbed by a complete stranger, instead of freaking punching them as hard as I can. I should've punched her, and I should've responded that she was way too old to be doing what she was doing, but instead I said, “Fuck you, I'm twenty-seven,” and rushed outside to find enough open space for Juno to lie across my lap and lean into my chest. She did that as soon as I sat down. I was shaking. People have no boundaries. But my dog is freaking awesome.

Saturday, 13 April: Tigers 7, A's 3

Kaline's first Tigers game was a smashing success. We got to the park later than normal, still an hour-plus before game time, and met up with Danny, Ryan, Evanne, Sonja, Hendrik and Chief at various times, along with my Tigers buddy Sabrina, the #1 Don Kelly Fan.
Me with Ryan, Danny and Evanne in our Tiger Pride splendor.
Kaline did incredibly well with the crowds packed in the concourses—it was a beautiful Saturday, there was a giveaway, and Justin Verlander was pitching for the Tigers, so it was a really well-attended game, especially for the A's. Crowds really send my anxiety through the roof, but watching Kaline be completely cool while trying to find a way through was amazing at calming me down. He's going to do great with the Leading Through Crowds tasks, when he is old enough to learn it. I think so, anyway.
Me and Kaline with Anthony.
I took Kay to meet all our favorite ushers, like Anthony, Mark, Other Mark, and Rod. They all loved on him, and I didn't say no because you totally want the ushers to be on your side; it was cool to watch Kaline accept their pats and kisses without really getting lovey back. After the game, I found Sabrina (who has a Doberman) and her birthday group and unvested Kaline, who had done really well. He immediately went into social-butterfly mode then, kissing everyone, giving hugs, draping himself across convenient laps. Super cute, a great reward for a good day's work, and the humans thought it was great too.

During the game, to my delighted surprise, Kaline curled up under my seat and barely popped up at all. He did slowly wheel himself around, trying to find the optimum orientation, but he was calm and down and that's all I really cared about. Our only minor issue was that he wanted to do a little sunbathing, and kept sticking his head and one paw out into the aisle, where he could easily get stepped on. I was able to get him to crawl backwards by just holding a treat against his chest. It was actually quite amusing.

Head in the sun, nose and paws safely within our row!
And the Tigers won! Not without a lot of scary-ness, after Justin Verlander departed, but still, a win! And toward the end of the game Kaline and I moved up with Chief, Sonja and Hendrik, which was great fun as well. Kaline finally stuck his paw in Chief's face one too many times and Chief told him off. Attaboy, Chief!! Everyone was charmed by the pups. Cause they're freaking adorable.

Sunday, 14 April: Tigers 10, A's 1

Today's game went quite well also. We got there before the gates opened, so we'd have lots of schmoozing time before the game. Kaline did well in the small handicapped line (which I am so grateful for, by the way—no having to wait in big crowds of hostile A's fans. They're super mad at the Tigers right now, because not only did we eliminate the A's from the 2012 playoffs, we then failed to beat the A's crosstown-rival Giants in the World Series. Much bitterness).

We visited with Anthony, Sabrina, and other Tigers fans during batting practice, which Kaline found alternately fascinating (ooh, flying baseballs!) and really boring. It was great fun introducing him to other Tigers fans, because when they heard his name they'd smile with recognition. You don't really get that with the general population, haha. Donnie Kelly came over and made Sabrina's day by signing the baseball he'd given her on Friday and taking a photo with her. What a guy!
Donnie Kelly and Sabrina.

Anthony set us up with excellent seats and we happily watched the Tigers pummel the A's. Kaline was a little more fidgety today, because though it was sunny, it was windy and kind of cold. He was wearing a Cloudchaser under his vest, and he was still curled up under my seat shivering. About halfway through the game I wrapped him up in my dad's big hoodie, which seemed to help. Hopefully once he fills out and puts on more muscle, etc., maybe he'll stay a bit warmer. If not, we're going to have to figure out some kind of plan for night games ...
Curled up early ...
... bundled up later. 60 degrees with wind = winter blizzard in Kaline land.
Kay was definitely more on his game today—any sign of anxiety (including when I made joking distressed sounds) and he was pressing himself against me. I was super pleased with his whole weekend performance. It was a lot more than I was expecting! I have much more confidence now about taking him to ballgames in the future. He got to love on Sabrina after today's game too. Then he nested adorably in the back seat on the way home.  
DPT from Kaline.

09 April 2013

Baseball! and update

Last night, Juno and I went with Sonja, Chief & Co. to the Giants game! It was a night game, plus ballgames require very long down-stays, so I figured it would not go well to have Kaline. Well, the temperature at least would've agreed with him. It was absolutely lovely out at the park. Juno was incredible as well—I was so glad to be with her.

During the game, Juno curled up so tiny and silent behind my legs and under the seat that no one in our section except for the fan right next to me knew she was there—until I got her up during the seventh inning stretch and told her to “shake off.” Chief charmed everyone, because he is so freaking adorable! He was an extremely good boy.

Something about being with Sonja gets Juno to do her best with momentum pulling. She doesn't even require a target (which she does if we're with family), just Sonja's presence. It's bizarre but I'm not gonna complain. After the game, when I really needed the pulling cause I was stiff and sore from sitting, Juno pulled magnificently! I was so thrilled! It makes me super excited for our BLD, since maybe because it's so comfortable, she'll want to pull more.

Juno was great in the crowds, as always, great with her blocking on the elevator (which is so much fun, because usually I end up with the singing elevator operator). She is such a wonderful girl, a perfect baseball buddy.

Kaline has been doing well also. He came to a lunch with some family friends, who pretty much never see me working him—I always take Juno to their house. He was perfect. It was funny: the under-table space looked very uncomfortable, so I set him up next to the table instead; but he would not settle until I put his mat behind my legs and told him “under.” Once he was in Proper Service Dog Position he immediately settled and didn't move until it was time to go. Attaboy.

He also had his best movie-settle ever. Friday we did the last Hitchcock double feature and during the first film, Psycho, he had one tiny pop-up. Just one! I was beyond thrilled. He was more fidgety during The Birds, but you gotta have reasonable expectations for an energetic adolescent. His blocking in the crowded lobby was excellent. He stood in front of me and just kept watch, not sniffing people or trying to stare at them and solicit attention. Though we do still have a lot of work to do with The Stare. He stares at dogs because he's interested, but it's rude and some dogs can see that as a challenge—that's problem one. Usually taken care of with a leave it and if necessary a correction. Problem two is him staring at people, generally because he wants to keep watch, but humans interpret it as an invitation to pet or distract him in other ways. A bigger problem, because strange humans are nearly impossible to train!

We had a huge windstorm the other night and Kaline seemed to be completely unbothered by any of it. Another plus.

This coming weekend, the Tigers will be in town to play the A's. Juno is going to the night game, Kaline to the two day games. I am hoping against hope to somehow run into Al Kaline and get to introduce him to my little Kay. Either way, we will have a great time. I love taking Kaline to baseball events, because many fewer people give me blank stares when I tell them his name.

03 April 2013

Birthday fun

Sunday was my birthday, and of course I did a bunch of things with my two best friends, Juno and Kaline.

Kaline got to do his usual morning of work. He was a little spacey in the Farmer's Market—he didn't sniff or really do anything naughty, but he just wasn't as focused as he usually is. He settled in though; after we had worked the market a while, we went to the bagel store and he settled immediately under the table, without being told. And he only had one pop-up, a little while before we were ready to go. I got to do some fun education with this lady who wanted to know how long it takes to train a service dog.

Trader Joe's was not nearly as much fun as usual. At least two separate sets of kids (I assume siblings) had been given miniature carts by their parents, so they could push them around and pretend like they were being useful. Instead, the little trolls were racing the tiny carts around, screaming and yelling as they went. Kaline was understandably unnerved by just the running and screaming. Maybe unnerved is the wrong word. He wasn't frightened, but he was clearly concerned and distracted. Then, in addition to the running and screaming and general racket of multiple tiny carts, one of the kids almost hit Kaline twice, once with his cart, once with a flailing fist.

If it wasn't obvious, badly behaved children annoy me. A lot. I feel like a 9-year-old should definitely be able to behave as well in public as my 11-month-old puppy. Who despite his distraction, never barked, whined, play-bowed, or lunged. We ran into our usual friend, who complimented Kaline on not reacting to the kids beyond the staring. In a moment of passive-aggressiveness, I recounted the misbehavior of the various children to him knowing that just behind him was the mother of the kid who'd almost hit my puppy. Hopefully the semi-indirect calling-out will inspire her to put her spawn on a leash. Or just leave them in the car.

We finished up on a positive note, with a great mini-outing to Walgreen's. I love having Kaline do the buttons there. There are all kinds of fun challenges to work on, and in the absence of the crazy offspring, Kaline was his usual awesome self.

We broke up the day with a double-dog outing to the grove. Juno didn't run much, but I think she enjoyed herself nonetheless. Kaline made several new friends, including a little five-month-old Australian Shepherd named Sierra.

For dinner, my parents took me to Buffalo Wild Wings in San Jose. I know, I should have higher standards. But I absolutely love the food there! I took Juno, and was super glad I did, because once our server found out there was A DOG under the table (Dad told him), he took every opportunity to squat down and try to interact with Juno. Juno wouldn't even make eye contact with him, merely staring off, head comfortably on her paws, while he made a bit of a fool of himself. “You are beneath my notice,” she was clearly saying. He didn't get the message. I probably should have said something, but Juno did such a good job of it nonverbally! It was too funny.

Mom gave me money for my birthday, so I could order the custom 8x8 BLD leash for Kaline that I've been wanting. Woohoo! Definitely a good birthday! Except for the whole getting older part. Boo on that.

02 April 2013

Hitchcock night at the Stannie, and pre-birthday

Last Friday, Kaline and I went to our second-to-last Hitchcock night at the Stanford Theatre. He got to burn off all his energy at the grove right before we headed to the theatre, and he had probably his best night ever, behavior-wise.

We met Sonja, Chief, and Hendrik there to see North by Northwest. We had pops, candy, and a big tub of popcorn. Kaline really wanted some popcorn but eventually listened to my leave it command. The people in front of me and Sonja were so taken by our awesome puppies. They were amazed at how mellow Kaline was acting (thank you, grove!). He only had two really legit pop-ups during the movie; the majority of the time, he was asleep between my feet. Sometimes he'd fidget and get up momentarily to switch positions, but Juno does that too so I didn't count that. I figure it only counts if I have to give him the cue back into the down.

Obedience class was off the next morning for Easter weekend, so everyone got to sleep in. Because Juno was coming to the movies and pre-birthday dinner, I got in a bunch of work with Kaline in the morning. We came along with Mom to Stanford Shopping Centre and did stuff in Nordstrom. We had lunch in the upstairs bistro, where we had the mini-access challenge a little while ago. No problem this time.

I initially set Kaline up next to the table, where they'd kindly taken a chair away. He was not settling though and kept rolling his hip so that half of his body was sticking out from under the table. So I moved his mat to just in front of my chair, so he would be lying behind my legs. Once I put him there, he hardly moved at all. Yay! I would be thrilled if that became his favorite settling spot. Then we're in physical contact and that always makes me warm and fuzzy.

After lunch, we let Kaline run in the grove, then came back to do Macy's and See's Candy. As we came into See's, one of the employees said something kind of loudly, trying to get the attention of another customer. My brain, however, interpreted the noise as MAJOR ACCESS CHALLENGE STARTING so I got this huge rush of anxiety and adrenaline even though nothing was actually happening. I went off to the side and got down toward Kaline's level, and being the wonderful boy he is, he put his head over my should and leaned into my chest. I never taught him that particular position, he just does it, like he's giving you a hug. Good little man.

Junebug came to see Admission with me, Mom, and a family friend. Our friend just loves Juno, so I don't quite know how to tell her not to try and get Juno to come over and say hi while she's working. Luckily, with Juno, I don't really need to—unless you're my dad, or former coworker Alex, you can do whatever enticing things you want and she'll just stand there and not look at you. Maybe you'll get a little tail wag if she knows you, but that's it. One of the many reasons I am totally crazy about my little Scoots.

For dinner, we went to this Italian place. I am not the biggest fan ever of their food—it's decent, nothing to write home about. But they have the most amazing olive oil for dipping the incredibly delicious bread in. The olive oil has all this garlic in the bottom of it ... it's heavenly. So, with Juno comfortably snuggled under the table, I basically had bread for dinner. And then ice cream. I always get peppermint at this ice cream place because then Juno can lick out the bowl in the car. Heehee.

01 April 2013

Our new favorite place

Kaline needs to run on a semi-regular basis. He loves it and boy, does it tire him out! Problem is, there are not a lot of off-leash places I know of which are not also dog parks. (I will never take either of my dogs to a dog park, unless it's empty. Too many stupid people.)

Well, I had a training session with one of my clients, and she introduced me to this beautiful little grove quite close to me (right next to Stanford Shopping Center) where you can just let your dog run. I think we've been back almost every day since then. I take Kaline on his e-collar, as a precaution, and just let him loose. He's been having such a blast! He's met several other dogs who played with him, and we've had a fantastic time practicing recalls and emergency sits and downs at distance. My mom went with us one day and was quite impressed with how good my little guy was!