25 July 2008

A Day of Firsts

Today has been quite a day for Molly. We had a long drive because I needed another treatment with a person a good ways from here. She handled that wonderfully despite the heat. DH had blocked off the sun on the worst side with a white sheet to ensure that she wasn't baking in the heat and still had plenty of air. But the car trip was nothing new.

On the way home, we went to the big pet store to which we had a gift certificate. She has been there before, too, so that was nothing new. We had to have her fitted for a seat belt harness and doggie undies for a bitch in heat (she isn't in heat now, but we want to be prepared with well-fitting undies for whenever it hits). She also needed to try on dog booties--I'm worrying about the heat of asphalt burning her feet on occasion and the far different terrain of the east coast of the US for our upcoming trip.

DH fitted the booties and she said nothing and didn't try to remove them. She did lift her feet extremely high and walk fun, but nothing else. She has tried a pair before, so that also wasn't totally new.

Then it was time for the seat belt harness. I can't bend down very well on a good day and not at all after treatment. So I couldn't help. DH and I also had no idea how this should fit. So the shop person fitted it for us. We told Molly to sit and she sat calmly and cooperated perfectly! For strange woman to put it on and adjust it and take it off. I'm proud of her.

Then the woman fitted her again for the undies. Molly was a little less patient that time, but still well behaved (the woman was impressed). The first size was a little small (it fit but had no room for adjustment--Molly seems to be filling out still), so she had to try the next size up. We had to be sure they weren't far too large to sit properly. With two pairs on and off and lots of fiddling, it is understandable that she got a little uneasy. But she didn't do anything bad. She just wasn't totally calm.

We weren't far from where my mare is supposed to be getting covered by a stallion, so we took a quick drive by there. Nothing exciting.

Then comes the huge bunch of firsts. We went to the airport to get her a little used to all the people and the noise of airplanes and everything. We park in the short term parking. It is clearly nearing time for landing and departure, because there is a ton of traffic. I put Molly's harness and vest on her. She needs a potty trip before we go in. The only grass is across the busy driveway. So we walk up to it and I tell her to sit. She sits and waits calmly. When there is enough of a break, we cross the road. I give her her potty command and she does her business--while she is doing that, another car passes and a large sonar airplane takes off about one kilometer from us. She didn't even flip an ear. She's never been that near an airplane before, especially not one of that size. We crossed back, again with perfect behavior.

Next we go into the building. This requires going through a large automatically rotating door. Molly has never, to our knowledge, seen a door like this before. DH was in the section in front of us. Molly did want to pull forward towards him, but otherwise took it totally in stride. Very impressive, IMO, for a very big first.

We walked up and down the airport, past lots of bored people, including a bunch of little kids. Molly loves little kids, but she walked nicely with me and didn't try to pull towards any of the people.

I decided I needed the bathroom. Molly went with me into the handicapped bathroom. This is another first. She's only ever been in the bathroom here at home with me before. She took it calmly, sat on command, and waited patiently until I was ready to go.

She did make one "error" after that--she was very happy to see my DH when we came out and jumped up on him. He often allows her to do this at home, but it's not good in public. But we did get her settled quickly and she was quiet.

We walked around a little more then decided to up to the upper observation floor. We took the elevator. She's never been in one before. Molly looked a little worried when it started moving, but said nothing.

Once upstairs, we sat down in a row of seats facing out over the tarmac where airplanes park for loading and unloading. There was an older couple a little ways away in one set of seats and to the other side there was a family with kids. I told Molly to sit. She sat between us and watched out the windows. Nice and quiet and calm.

When the family with kids walked in front of us, the littlest one probably just having learned to walk and with a pacifier in his mouth, Molly sat calmly and wagged her tail with a cute BC smile on her face. I did put my hand gently on her collar to be sure she couldn't go to the kid, but she didn't even try. Such a good girl!

A little after that, an airplane landed and taxied in. Even though we are inside, it is still very noisy. But she just sat there and looked and looked around at the people.

After it was parked, we also started hearing lots of yappy small dog barking. We decided it was time to call it a day and went back down in the elevator and out to the car.

All in all, it was a very successful first outing to the airport. She was calm and controlled despite the people and her biggest weakness--children. We don't have access to children on a regular basis, so it isn't something we can easily control to train her with. We only can rely on public access situations.

Our firsts for the day:

First time having a stranger fit her with a harness and undies. She's used to her BeBop harness and thrift shop kids underwear with tail holes cut in them, but that is at home and with me and DH. Being calm for a stranger she'd never met before is a very big deal, making it worthy of a first list.

First trip to the airport.

First exposure to big noisy airplanes.

First rotating door.

First trip to a public bathroom.

First time in an elevator.

First time sitting around in a no-regular-dogs-allowed space (somewhere to which she only has access because she's an SD).

What a day!

Obviously she has gotten lots of praise throughout the time. I didn't even take treats with me because I know she doesn't want them and often spits them out if she even takes them. So we had only praise to let her know she was doing the right thing.

Since we got home, she's also gotten a lot of treats.

You'll have to forgive the lack of pictures. Airport security forbids photography.



Woof Molly

Wow, they actually let you in the pet stores? We've been banned from them for some time and they've even circulated wanted posters of us. Honestly, it was just a big misunderstanding.
Desert Pups here just saying woof and making new pals cause we're new in town.

Woof, woof,
Scuba, Keiko, Norman and Toby from Life Inside The Fence

kbw2212 said...

Good girl Molly! I bet you are even wondering what all the fuss is about because you were just doing what you are supposed to do. Right?

Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Thank you both of you. It's nice that Mommy and Daddy let me know I'm doing the right thing. I just love experiencing new things!


Samantha said...

Yay, well done To Molly, Airports are so noisy, sounds like she did great! :-)

Tansy said...

My Dogness, Molly! You are such a Credit to our Breed. You sure do understand Work! Big Barks to you and your best person!


Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Tank you Sam and Tansy. I did good and I loved it. I got to see little kids. Maybe next time they will talk to me? Kids are my favorite--they're better than balls and horses and sheep.

Tansy, Mommy says I'm doing one kind of work, but she's hoping for me to get to learn the real BC work some day. It's fun being an SD, but I wanna be a cow dog!