Honey Wants to Be an Underwear Model
On Saturday, Honey will walk by Victoria’s Secret in the mall. And I know just what she’ll be thinking: “I’d be a cuter model in the store window than that stupid stuffed thing.” And she’d be right.
But we don’t take Honey to the Pet Expo at our local mall to show her possible employment opportunities. We do it to check out local pet-related businesses and organizations, practice good behavior in an unusual and stimulating environment, and be good ambassadors for dogdom. And of course, we do it just because it’s fun.
What Dogs Should Go to the Mall (or Pet Expo)?
I’ve been reading all over blogdom about Pet Expos throughout the country. This is a fun time to meet local rescues, check out trainers and other dog services, and sample all kinds of goodies (well, your dog would sample them, I guess).
But Pet Expos are great places to take your dog. What kinds of dogs?
- Puppies – In your first month with a puppy, you should introduce him to at least 100 new people. This is also the time to introduce your dog to slippery floors, shiny surfaces, strange noises and anything else you want him to feel relaxed about in his future.
- Dogs in Training – Which should really be every dog. We never stop learning, do we? What a wonderful time to practice “stay” in a distracting setting. And it’s never bad to work on impulse control.
- Reactive Dogs – I can almost hear you in my head. “Are you kidding, Pam? I’d never take my crazy, lunging dog to a building filled with strange people and their dogs.” But one of the most effective ways of working with reactive dogs is to allow them to see what causes them to react at a distance and rewarding them for not exhibiting unwanted behaviors. That means that your visit to the Pet Expo might never get you in the door. You’ll probably spend it in the far reaches of the parking lot with your dog watching other dogs and their people enter the building. But if you want a bunch of “set ups” to work with your dog, you won’t find a better one.
Pamela and Honey Go to the Mall
This will be Honey’s fourth visit to the Pet Expo at the Shops at Ithaca Mall. We took her when she was a wee puppy (sorry, no pictures). We returned last spring to continue work on her socialization and training. And this past October we got to test our little ‘fraidy dog around spooky Halloween decorations.
Since we’re just beginning to use agility equipment in our attempt to build Honey’s confidence, I’m really looking forward to visiting the 4H Dog Agility area. Last time, they had several pieces of equipment set up in the mall for dogs to try.
And of course, we never go to the mall without visiting the SPCA annex where cats are available for adoption every day. Now that’s the kind of “pet store” I like to see in a mall.
But I guess we’re just yokels. Our friend Elizabeth takes her Corgis Jon Farleigh and Dewi to her local mall (they’re pet-friendly all year around) where they check out Tiffany’s. I’m just pleased they’re humble enough to still associate with dogs who get their bling from the Salvation Army thrift store.
Tiffany’s or not, I’m happy our local mall sponsors this event twice a year. It’s fun to do something different with Honey. I love learning about other pet-related activities and businesses in the area. And it’s great practice to build Honey’s confidence and good manners.
If you’re an Ithacan, stop by the Shops at Ithaca Mall this Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. And have some fun shopping with your dog.
[Pink Dog photo by Glenn on Flickr.]