When I got her out of the car, and got her gear on, she wasn't very interested in working. We've encountered this problem before, many, many times. This is where I've established a checklist with follow through.
- I check to make sure my treats are high value (zukes salmon, she only gets them when working in public)
- I check to make sure there aren't other dogs around (these can cause her to become stressed even when she was previously working well)
- I check my mental functioning level: Am I giving her my full attention?
Along the way, we stopped to greet a couple people and got some very interesting comments!
As we heeled towards an elderly lady, she motioned for me to stop. She said she'd been watching us and was so impressed (why, thank you) but then proceeded to tell me that she has "a little Pomeranian and then got a big black and white dog that would have eaten the Pom if they hadn't trained it not to. It just happens with that breed." I curiously asked her what breed the big black and white dog is, she wasn't sure; just that it would have eaten the little one without training!
Another was from what appeared to be a mother and her son who were pushing groceries down the walkway. The mother asked if she could pet Bailey, to which I replied sure. Bailey wasn't so interested in being pet so she sat and faced me. This lady then asked Bailey to sit. Bailey didn't respond. She asked again. Bailey didn't respond. Rather than let the lady get frustrated, I cued sit with a signal. Bailey sat and the lady says "I knew you could do it! Now, can you shake?!" I just said no...
A third interaction involved two young men. They had watched her pivot while heeling so one says "hey, my dog can do that!" Before I can say anything, his friend bursts out laughing and is laughing so hard he can barely breathe. Then they just kept on walking, so I did too!
I've been good about working her in completely new places where I would have left her in the car previously! Training DOES work, I guess!