We made arrangements a week or so before the time with the management of the gardens for Volt to go along with us as they have a strict "NO DOGS ALLOWED" rule, and after SAGA phoned to reassure them I was on the up-and-up they made an exception for guide-dog-puppy-in-training Volt! How cool is that!?
When we arrived, I spent a good 10 minutes in the parking lot getting Volt to settle down and pay attention to me on his lead. Then I put his SAGA "jacket" on and we went inside.
As always, I had more grief with the security guards than I did with the staff of the park, but I was expecting it and respectfully told him we had special permission for Volt to go in.
We went through the gate and Riddick was very curious about the smells and the children and I was very glad I had settled him in the parking lot first!
I knew that this particular birthday celebration picnic would have lots of children in attendance which would be great practise for Volt, and the setting in the park would be something he hasn't experienced yet either.
As I thought, many of the children were quite taken with Volt and came up to him asking if they could say hello. Volt was as good as gold even when he had little kidlets pulling his hair and touching his eyes. He got lots of hugs and cuddles from grown-ups and children and he was in his element. He licked a few hands and when he was given treats he nibbled a couple of fingers, but he was so very well behaved! He didn't bark or jump up and he sat quietly next to me for several hours whilst we chilled in the glorious weather.
A little later in the afternoon I took his training jacket off because he gets quite hot with it on, but he was not off-lead once.
We also went for a bit of a walk through the garden so that he wouldn't be too bored and he was really well behaved. When we passed a drinking fountain where some children were drinking water I said they could turn it on so Volt could have a drink from the arc of water shooting out of the fountain. Much giggling ensued as Volt LOVES drinking water like that, and when we walked away his mouth and face were sopping wet!
The people sitting around us were very impressed when Volt spat out a kid's toy he'd picked up off the grass and a few of the people who have seen him before commented on how much calmer he is compared to the last time they saw him.
I was very proud of him. All that thinking about how he is expected to behave is a lot of work for a puppy!
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