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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday's TRAINING TIP (on Thursday!): "What's that?!"

Elaina and Natalie made their way into Total Soccer before I could get FLD Scout's blue working jacket on. They each had a game at the indoor arena.

Elaina, aka "Beast," shakes it up during her game.
Natalie kicks the ball toward goal for an assist!

Scout easily heeled at my left side to the entrance, but as we passed into the space between the big double glass doors, she balked.

"Wooooof!" I couldn't tell if she was startled by her own reflection in the glass, or the toddler kicking a soccer ball around just inside.

Scout, sit, I said to get her attention back on me. I had to coax her with a finger tap above her tail.

Scout, heel, I said, once she was sitting and settled down. I opened the inner door. She stepped across the threshold with me and yipped a couple more times, overtaken by the yells and whistles coming from behind the two-boarded soccer fields to the right and left of us, and groups of youngsters bouncing balls while they waited for their own games to start.

Scout, settle, I commanded, this time with a finger poke to her side. She whipped her head around to look up at me, and strained forward against the leash.

I waited. 

When the tension on the leash relaxed, we went to find the girls.

Taking FLD Scout to her first indoor soccer game gave her good exposure to kids, noise, slippery metal bleachers, ball distractions, and the always-a-temptation public arena floor. She needed some reassurance negotiating the bleachers, but after the second time moving (we inadvertently sat with the opposition) she gained confidence.

An alert FLD Scout shows interest in soccer-arena activities.


1. STAY CALM  Your reaction will travel through the leash to your puppy.

2. REDIRECT  Give your puppy a command to take her mind off whatever is scaring her. Use name recognition or a finger poke to refocus her attention to you.

3. GO SLOW  Don't overwhelm your puppy. Stay at a distance from the offending object until your puppy calms down. Turn the other way and approach again, stopping before your puppy acts nervous.

4. REWARD APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR  Don't forget to praise your puppy when she gathers her confidence!

It didn't take long for FLD Scout to settle down in the arena. She was very interested in the kids (and their soccer balls) who were waiting to play, but she was happy to hang out and observe instead of participating.

FLD Scout settles into a "down-stay" in the bleachers. She is tied to the rail while I take pictures.

Young John takes a seat next to FLD Scout...

...who can hardly contain herself to greet him! John did a remarkable job ignoring her, even though he was just as interested in her as she was of him.

Both girls' teams won their games! YAY!


  1. Good girl, Scout. I can imagine those big doors could be a bit intimidating at first...and all of that noise and activity. :)

  2. Thanks, Jess. Scout recovers quickly and then she's fine. We hope to take her to my sister's graduation today!

  3. Glad to hear both girls won! Nice pics!