It's been a busy week for Talos, he's been getting lots of different public exposure. Today's adventures took him to Frederick, MD, where we got fitted for shoes, shopped, did banking, and picked up dog food.
We started at If the Shoe Fits, a terrific store with fantastic customer service and extremely helpful staff. Talos learned how to lay (not quietly yet, but we're working on it) while I got my feet measured and tried on some shoes. The staff couldn't have been nicer and more helpful, as well as gracious with Talos.
After a quick stop at the bank, it was off to Walmart, which can often feel like a circus, even without a Great Dane service dog in training by my side! It's a Super-Walmart which means it's about a mile wide. Of course, the things we needed were on opposite ends of the store, and all in between as well. Taking any dog into a public place can be challenging, but when the dog is a Great Dane — a young, spotted, blue-eyed Great Dane — well, let's just say it's a lot more challenging!
It's great experience for Talos, so as long as he's well behaved, people are allowed to pet him. At this point in his training, we focus quite heavily on socialization: we want him to have good experiences with as many different types of people as possible.
Talos performed fantastically in Walmart – walking nicely, leaving the food on the shelves, paying attention to me, and staying close. You wouldn't think a trip to Walmart would tire a dog out, but take a look at this video. We've been out of Walmart for ten minutes, I'm getting ready to put fuel in the Element and I look over to see Talos stretched completely across the car with his head on my armrest. He's getting too big for the front seat, but he doesn't realize it yet.
He got in a few good minutes of hard napping, then it was back to work because I had other stops to make. It's hard work, prepping to be a service dog. Those Walmarts are tough on a dog!