The Doodle and the Tortoise
Lizzie and I spent special one-on-one socialization time together at La Encantada Shopping Center walking around, sniffing, meeting people, and even practicing a few down-stays.
Lizzie has had a few children run at her at the dog park. Combine those negative interactions with her disdain for barriers, and I've got a dog who barks defensively more than I'd like. I've been rewarding her with food for looking without barking at fences, walls, children, and any other people who might startle her.
La Encantada is a beautiful outdoor dog-friendly mall that provides the perfect setting for me to catch her being good. Children's stores, restaurants, fountains, grocery carts, and so many other sights and sounds are the backdrop for us to walk around, meet a few people, and practice some basic obedience skills.
Closer to the finishing line of good behavior...
Lizzie did really well. She barked at one bigger dog who I didn't notice soon enough so our proximity was too close, and one man who did not hear me say that we were training. She growled at one of the nice employees at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, but quieted down with a reminder and reward. She met two lovely women who were incredibly gentle in how they approached her, and she did not bark at one single child. A few elementary-aged kids ran by us and Lizzie just watched. I could tell she was skeptical of their jaunty strides, but she kept her commentary to herself.