Monday, March 29, 2010

Meet 'n Greet-less

This week Zachary starts Canine Good Citizen (CGC) class.


True, he was a bit young last time (8 months) and being your typically friendly Golden he was totally incapable of keeping his rump on the ground while the nice stranger came up to say "Hi." Then there were the heeling issues, the separation anxiety...

He was just a youngster, after all. Now that he's a Big Boy, I'm hoping things will go a bit better.

As I see it, there are three main areas of concern:

1. Greetings
2. Ignoring another dog
3. Supervised separation

So yesterday I decided I had procrastinated long enough and it was time to start practicing.

Off to the Library we go, sporting a dapper scarf and bag of treats (that's Zachary in the scarf and me with the treats.) The Library is a wonderful place for Meet n' Greets, full of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I used the Library a lot when I was preparing Beau for his CGC. We'd sit outside, lots of people would walk up and ask to pet my dog, Beau would practically be bursting out of his skin to show them his undying love and affection... ah yes, the good old days...

I don't miss them one bit.

(No, really, I don't.)

Now I'm sitting on that same bench with a dog who is very different from Beau. Zachary is cheerful, curious, friendly, cute as can be (Beau is more handsome than cute) - but most importantly, Zachary is calm. Zachary isn't going to jump on anyone. Zachary isn't going to mouth anyone. Zachary isn't going lunge at anyone (in that oh-so-over-the-top friendly way.) Zachary isn't to pee on anyone (remember my "not missing" comment above?)

This should be easy.

And so we sat...

... and sat...

... and sat...

... and no one stops. I had a few older women smile wistfully from afar, a couple of little kids playing tantalizingly close (like, 2 feet close while eating cookies) for a good 15 minutes, and that's about it.

In the 30 minutes I sat there, just one teenage girl stopped to pet him. I must have watched 50 or more people walk by. He was perfect, either sitting or laying on a loose leash with a happy smile and a gently wagging tail.


It was beyond weird.

Yes, he was good while another dog walked passed and then chilled out with his owners nearby. Yes, he was good when the rickety cart full of books rattled past. Yes, he was good when people walked within a foot or two of him. Yes, he was good when the teenagers ran past. Yes, he was even good when the little kid offered him part of his sugar cookie (thankfully his mother nixed that one!)

So I guess it was a success.

But why didn't anyone want to pet him?

The only time I'd seen that before was with Beau when it was dark. Beau is a darker and bigger dog with a huge head, and I think people were just plain scared of his looks at night. Here, it was broad daylight, Zachary looks about as intimidating as Winnie the Pooh, and...


I'm hoping it was just an aboration - some strange alignment of the stars that caused people to pass by as though he didn't exist - because it's going to be awfully hard to practice Meet 'n Greets if nobody wants to stop by and say "Hi."

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