Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose? – Petula Clark, Downtown.
Falcon took his first trip downtown recently. We have done a lot of work in woods and on recalls and meeting people and dogs in controlled settings it was time it was time to expand our horizons.
First, we went to my office where he encountered his first set of steep steps. Up until this point he has only climbed a few steps on and off my deck.
I walked up a few steps and just watched him out of the corner of my eye as he looked up the stairway and then back at the steps. After a few seconds he was walking up very slowly. I encouraged the slowness as I’ve seen dogs (and puppies) try and fling themselves off steps. Had he not gone up the steps I would have held off on this visit for awhile and gone into the office at a time when I could spend as much time as needed to get him comfortable just going up three or four of the steps.
We then met my upstairs workmates Ann and Mandy and the puppy had a great time exploring Mandy’s trashcan.
Navigating the steps going down went well and Falcon did a great job of watching his feet. We then met people in other departments
and I took him to our printing area so he could hear some strange machines.
After that we took a walk around Knightstown. Granted with a population of just over 2,000 it isn’t a huge metropolis, but it was a very good place to start introducing the sights and sounds of a city. Knightstown is on U.S. 40 and it gets quite a bit of traffic. We were there the day before a fall festival so there were more people out and about than usual.
Basically, I just walked and if Falcon stopped to look at something I stopped as well. We just watched whatever it was until Falcon was satisfied he had processed it and deemed it not a threat. There were of course lots of treats for checking in with me as well. He was most fascinated by two women putting up signs for the festival and he went behind them and sniffed some of the signs.
We set outside the Burch Tree Café and watched the festival preparations and met some people as they came out of the café. Then we went to a bench along U.S. 40 and watched the traffic. We saw motorcycles, semis and cars and trucks of all sorts. Falcon showed a lot of interest in the movement of the vehicles and he would watch motorcycles the most, but after about five minutes he laid down on the sidewalk with his chin on his paws and watched. I figured it was kind of like a good television show for him. Not too scary, but with enough plot turns that it kept it interesting.
One thing I’m doing with Falcon is being more patient. He gets to choose at what pace we travel and what we stop and look at. If he stops I don’t try and make him move on or even reward him for looking at something. I just let him process. However, I am ONLY doing this if he isn’t showing any signs of fear at what he is looking at. If he is just curious and trying to figure something out, then we just stop and stare at it and once he is ready to move on, he gets a reward. If he was showing fear; then I would move away from whatever it was until we could watch it from a safer distance and then I would have been rewarding for looking.
So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares
So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown, don’t wait a minute for
Downtown, everything’s waiting for you – Petula Clark, Downtown.