Practicing Pet Store Patience

We’ve had another few zero degree days here in Chicago so outdoor adventures were once again put on hold.  Eko’s appetite is never on hold though, and he burned through another bag of food which meant it was time to visit the pet store.

When I first got Eko I was so proud at how quickly I taught him to sit politely and then lay down.  However, I was quickly humbled when I brought Eko to the pet store for the first time and he absolutely disregarded everything I taught him.  That’s when I learned the hard truth that Eko can resist everything but temptation.  These days I continue to bring Eko to the pet store as often as possible to practice patience and good manners.

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Eko was quite impatient when we arrived and he tried to dart in on his own

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I like to practice polite “sit” and “stay” commands in areas of the store where Eko is most distracted.  It’s not easy, and there are usually a couple whines involved, but Eko does his best

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As a reward I let him sniff through all the fun toys (no picking them up though!)

 
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Eko’s loose leash walking (and my shoulder socket) get put to the test as we walk past aisle after aisle of interesting products.  Eko wants to smell them all, so it’s a good way to practice walking past distractions

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The pet store also offers plenty of novelty.  I like introducing Eko to different stimuli to challenge him mentally and to help practice being polite when confronted with new experiences

rhodesian ridgeback, dog blog, marking our territory, pet store, adventure, However, once he started licking his lips at the bird I thought it was best we move along!

By far the greatest challenge at the pet store is picking up Eko’s food and making it to the checkout aisle with Eko retaining his good manners and sanity.  He can barely contain himself when surrounded by stacks and stacks of food.  He really lays on the “puppy-dog-eyes” when we’re in the dog food aisle.


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“Come on, Will. Just let me eat them all right now!”

Would it be easier to pick up Eko’s food on my own? Of course.  But the pet store offers the ultimate challenge for Eko’s patience and some well needed humility for me.  I also like the knowledge that if Eko follows my command perfectly in a pet store, then following that command anywhere else in the world is a piece of cake.

23 Comments

It looks like you’ll never have a problem with impulse buying for Eko. He’d never make it to the counter. You’ve given me some new ideas. I wonder how a cat would do in a pet store. Of course I would have to have him in his zippered cat carrier. He is just not sociable with other animals. However, he loves people once he knows them and won’t leave them alone. He even taps his tail in beat to someone tapping their foot. It’s his own language.

Will, I admire your love for your boy. I have the awful job of finding a home for a great dog that belongs to my neighbor. She’s allergic to animals, and the pup was dumped on her by her irresponsible son. grrrrrr The Humane Society says they will take her if she has shots, spay, etc. I’ll feverishly keep working on it until I can find her a good home, but if the H.S. is my only choice, so be it. Please keep me in your prayers for a good (and quick) resolution to this problem. I’m just too much of a softie with animals and a real push-over in this instance. But, she would be too much for me to take on, especially with Tuffy.

Dottie and TC

My dog LOVES watching the birds, as well as the hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, and sniffing for cats (though I NEVER let her near the cats as chaos will definitely occur)! And she has a love of sniffing through the cat supply aisles — maybe she thinks cats will be near by?
I love your map widget! Is that places you and Eko have visited? So cool!

The pet store is total sensory overload, it’s like Disney Land. I can’t even imagine what would happen if Eko and the cats met up. I was lucky enough to go on a year-long road trip with Eko as my co-pilot. We hit just about every major metropolitan area from coast to coast – it was the adventure of a lifetime.

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