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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Training TIP: TAKING YOUR FUTURE LEADER DOG PUPPY TO A CONCERT


Jen (and her guide dog, OJ) left this comment in response to my post "FLD Gus Goes to a Concert" from last Thursday.

Great idea to bring a future guide dog puppy to a concert.  I wish OJ had been to more of them as a pup.  He's going to one with me on Wednesday, but will stay in another room while the main band play, as he is afraid of loud things like drums and it will be very loud!

Jen's inability to have OJ with her during a loud concert underscores why it is important to expose all Future Leader Dog puppies to concerts.  I have taken all my puppies to middle school concerts, outdoor performances, and other indoor music gigs, and all behaved very well (although once we were worried about FLD Mike's snoring distracting a piano trio at the Clinton-Macomb Library!).


Carleton Area Concert


HINTS ON TAKING YOUR FLD PUPPY TO A CONCERT


VENUES

You don't have to spend a lot of money on tickets to a big name concert, especially if you want to fully enjoy the performance (after all, you MUST keep close attention to your puppy's behavior).  Here are some local, low cost ideas:
  • Local middle or high school band concerts--even if you don't have a child in band.  Ask your neighbors or check school calendars on their websites.  Spring is a popular time for concerts as well as during the Christmas holidays.
  • High school football games often feature their marching band during half-time.
  • Parades with marching bands.
  • Outdoor performances at neighborhood parks in the summertime.
  • Many libraries offer free music during winter months.
  • Community celebrations during the 4th of July.


STRATEGIES

Call ahead for permission to bring your FLD puppy.  I have always been warmly welcomed with my puppies!
  • Tire out your puppy BEFORE attending an event.  Take a long walk or schedule a "puppy-play-date."
  • "Park" your puppy before entering.
  • Be prepared to focus on your puppy.  Put your puppy back into a "down" each and every time he or she gets up.
  • Reward your puppy for "settling."  If your puppy is very young, withhold a meal and use that kibble as "rewards."
  • Bring a special chew toy to occupy your puppy.  Put some smooth peanut butter in a Kong and freeze it ahead of time for a long-lasting treat!
  • Always be willing to educate the public, especially about not petting your puppy while he or she is "working."  We are ambassadors after all!


Don't hesitate to take your puppy to a public concert.  One day a handler will be glad that you did!

FLD Gus about to tackle the bleacher stairs at the end of the concert.

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