On Tuesday, Vienna went to her first puppy meeting. She was excited to see all of the dogs, but she quickly settled in and laid down at my feet. When the meeting started, I volunteered to demonstrate an engagement exercise called stop, start, change direction. Vienna had only done this a few times, but she did fine. The idea behind this exercise is to have your dog really paying attention to your movements. You do not look at your dog, and you are completely silent. You take two steps and stop, then change direction. Your dog should stay at your left side, and just “follow” you. It is sort of like a dance with your dog. You do not correct your dog if it is out of position or if it pulls ahead. You just change direction and start again. I have been doing this with Vienna for the past few days, and she is really focusing in on what I am doing and she is learning to stay in position.
After that, I demonstrated a chin cradle which is a technique to help calm a puppy. That was about all little Vienna did during the meeting. She then curled up in a tight ball and slept for the rest of the meeting. Here are a couple of pictures:
Oh, I should mention that I have changed clubs! I am now with a brand new group that just formed in Danville called the San Ramon Valley Guide Dogs. The change has been exactly what I needed. This club is a lot smaller than the Contra Costa group. We have approximately ten dogs and a fabulous leader :)