When Ray moved in with us (March 2013), it became immediately apparent that he was highly food motivated. Given the amount if work needed to get him to feel some sense of harmony with the world around him, together with the basic concept of positive reinforcement training, being food motivated was a huge advantage to us!
He was soon introduced to number of businesses that were receptive to dogs, such as our Lululemon store and our TD Canada Trust Bank. We also introduced him to our local veterinary clinic. We did not feel particularly comfortable there so we decided on another vet, but all those businesses made Ray welcome and gave him various treats. They also all had glass entrance doors and, as noted in his book, Ray would often take us to the most unlikely businesses seemingly because of their glass entrance doors!
Ray has only been to that local veterinary clinic twice, that I recall, over the past 4 years. Once was when he slipped out of his collar (the pre-harness days!) and went straight to the vet clinics front door and waited. The other time was around 2 years ago when we bought some special dog food from there. Things have just changed!
The other day, we went down town to a cafe that allows dogs on their patio so we could sit out in the sun and relax with lattes. It was a beautiful Fall/Autumn day so what better thing to do!
To get to that cafe, we would be going past Lululemon (treats for Ray), and after our cafe stop I needed to go to the bank (more treats for Ray). We anticipated a very nice relaxing and uneventful afternoon with a happy Ray by our side.
The first “hitch” was Lululemon. The biscuit bowl was outside… and empty! Ray resolved that situation very easily by sitting in the doorway and staring at the staff. It worked. One of the staff who knew him brought out a handful of biscuits and dropped them in the bowl. Ray was happy.
At the cafe, apart from Ray stretching out and being a bit of an obstacle for other customers (which got him many diversionary treats as people carefully stepped around him), everything was fine.
The visit to the bank after the cafe was, from Ray’s perspective, text book perfect and so we headed back through the town to go home. When we are quite close to our street, we have to cross a relatively busy road at a signal controlled intersection. On the other side of the intersection is the veterinary clinic (ref. paragraphs 2 and 3).
We got our crossing signal, and as soon as we were on the other side, Ray started pulling towards the veterinary clinic’s parking area. We followed him, always intrigued to know what he has in mind… and ended up in front of the entrance door with Ray staring through the glass. We waited, being pretty certain that he would eventually realize that nothing was going to happen and turn around (that is his general behavior now)… but not this time.
He eventually got the attention of one of the staff, who came and opened the door and invited him in. He then received lots of attention as well as the inevitable treats. It was not long before a lady in a white coat (Vet? Vet tech?) came into the front counter area, and immediately wanted to greet Ray, and give him more treats!
What does Ray know that we do not always acknowledge? He knows that perseverance pays off, as does patience. He knows that he may not get through the front door, but then he may. If he got through the front door he may not get any treats, but then he may. He also understands that there are some mystical processes taking place when you stare at somebody long enough!
Once again, I must conclude that we can learn from him! What a positive attitude!