For the past six months, we've battled the crowds at Super Store on a weekly basis together. Actually, we cheat and go during the weekday so it's a lot easier than going on the weekend. Grocery shopping with a puppy added an entirely new dimension to the regular grocery shop routine. In the beginning, it took a lot more time than I was used to because of the distractions, objections and challenges. Now it seems the only work to our weekly grocery shop outing is the actual grocery shopping. Here are some of the challenges we have over come:
- We were stopped by the door greeter every week for the first month we started going together so the door greeter lady could page the "manager" to make sure it was okay that I bring Breton into the store and of course, it always was. On one occasion, she even came looking for us in the store while we were shopping because a customer told her there was a "dog" in the store. After the fourth visit, she started remembering us and now greets us with a wide grin and asks me every time, "still training 'ey? How is she? She's a good dog?" I always smile and say, "yes, she's a very good dog."
- The first four months down the produce isle was always the most challenging part. There was always torn pieces of lettuce, smooshed grapes and pistachio nut shells on the floor for me to anticipate and correct Breton from helping herself to. While maneuvering my cart, and watching the floor I was also watching for people who used their carts to "push" Breton out of their way. That's right, it happened, a lady pushed her cart right into Breton as if to shuffle her along! Thankfully there was no harm done, Breton didn't really notice and I was too caught off guard to say anything. Keeping her tail tucked in when she is sitting so that it doesn't get run over by a cart is another skill I've learned to watch for. These days, Breton can down-stay in the produce isle while staying focused on me as I casually shop from counter to counter. She no longer dives for pieces of food on the floor like she used to and instead just stares at it. She stays close to my leg and follows every cue (almost).
- Unloading the groceries from the cart at the check out stand has gotten a lot easier too. There is often pieces of candy or other food on the floor that Breton used to get on her belly and try to crawl towards, or twist and pull me around for. I was always the "slow" one at check out, unloading my groceries with one hand, and holding Breton's leash in the other. At Super Store, you have to pack your own groceries, so as soon as we had everything unloaded and scanned, I would be re-loading one handed again. Yes, I was the "slow lady" at the grocery store line up that people cringed at getting caught behind. Not anymore though! I put Breton in a down-stay, I unload, load and pay and am no longer holding up the line up (except when I forget my purse in the van and the cashier tells me to "run" while she waits for me. That happened yesterday).
Yesterday we had class with Breton's sibblings, Schooner and Digby. We went to West Edmonton Mall where Maria had us practice off leash walking in the mall! We went to a safe quiet area, just in case anyone decided to bolt, but no one did. Breton did very good and stayed with me while I did left circles, walked backwards, zig-zagged and changed pace. She only left me twice to go visit her brother's who were watching from the side.