Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Dog Training in Hell

Shopping malls — airless, soulless, synthetic — occupy one of the inner circles of my personal Hell (even closer to the center than yoga classes). That said ... they do make for pretty good service-dog training grounds, so this afternoon saw Freddie donning his red jacket and braving the shiny concourses of Oakridge Mall for more bootcamp. To avoid overtaxing him with a 2-stage transit journey, we travelled in the Mom-and-Dad-Mobile, which is in our care for another week or so (and I'll just add here that the parking lots of malls graze the very Hub of Heather's Hell).

On that note, let's go ...

Public access test #1: how does the dog exit a vehicle? Athletically, in Freddie's case! (We're aiming for calm and controlled.)
Entry into the building must likewise be calm and controlled. I'm waiting here for Freddie to give me his attention.
Waiting inside The Bay department store — "Psst ... Freddie! Over here!"

Oakridge Mall — not insanely busy, but plenty of distractions nonetheless

(Ah, how the circles of Hell beckon and gleam!)
And we're off!

Pretty good heel position ... unobtrusive, as a service dog should be
(I'm fortunate that Freddie isn't freaked out by shiny floors, as many dogs are.)

'Course, he is still freaked out by escalators.

I wouldn't have thought this place would be very interesting to Freddie (as opposed to, say, a butcher) ... but I was wrong.
The direction of his nose suggested he's acquired Paul's penchant for pastries!
Nope, Freddie ... it's venison liver bits for you, my friend!
Headless Mannequins and Service Dog Chic

Good ad for Earth Hour 2014

Remember to power off March 29th, from 20:30 to 21:30!
Eyes (or Nose) on the Prize

Heather's artsy concourse shot

More escalator training

Not sure how far I'll take this, however. I read something on a service dog website about dogs (especially shaggier ones) being prone to foot injuries on escalators.

Missing here is a shot in the food court (Hell's Cuisine), where we did not eat, but I tested my blood sugar and found it to be OK.
Paul's artsy concourse shot
(Spot the dog.)

Fido knows the selling power of Fido.

Outside, at last ...

Freddie: Can I lose this jacket and go to the dog park?

Heather: Dog park sounds like a good plan, Freddie. It's in one of the outer circles of Heaven. [Aside: It's a good thing this puppy is so charming and lovable because service dog training is frickin' hard work!]

Stay tuned for our next post, in which Freddie discovers a special Vancouver connection between BEER, BIRDS, and the Commodore BALLROOM!


  1. loved your article :) and I can believe you that it takes a lot work, but keep up the goodwork!

    1. Thanks, Frances! And thank you for the link to your blog, which I will check out right after I walk Freddie. :)

  2. Wonderful post. I can just imagine the hours you and Freddie have put in to achieve this level of skill.

    1. Thank you, Mark! It's much easier braving malls and (this morning) pouring slush when I know I have a cheering section. :)

  3. I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.
    Dog training beaverton


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