The Des Moines Farmers Market is huge. It fills eight city blocks and draws roughly 20,000 visitors each day. On a whim, Aryn and I decided to take the dogs and go hunting for new meat sources... and kale. Lots and lots of kale.
The rules regarding dogs at the market are as follows:
1. Dogs must be under control on a short leash (3 ft maximum) and by the owner's side at all times.
2. Dogs need to be kept away from produce, plants, and prepared food products.
3. Dogs need to be courteous and able to socialize with people and other dogs.
4. Be understanding - not everyone is a dog lover and some fear dogs.
5. Be prepared to pick up after your dog and bring appropriate pick-up gear.
We brought Ruby and Jayne. We figured obedience titles and temperament certifications would prove beneficial in the congested, chaotic market environment. The dogs did great. It was a testament to their thorough training and stable temperaments that they did so well. We were there for nearly two hours, and not once did either one of them leave heel position. And no, they were not wearing prong collars or head halters!
To give you an idea of how much of a big deal it was that the dogs did so well, take a look at this photo of the Des Moines Farmers Market crowds:
Most of the other dogs at the market didn't do as well as ours did... not by a long shot. Aside from a few of our dog training buddies who were also at the market, Aryn and I were the only ones that were actually using 3-foot leads. Most people had 6-foot leashes, and some dogs were even on retractable leads! Most people were not watching their dogs, and the dogs were not trained to stay at their owners' sides. It was a mess. People, train your dogs!
Surprisingly, we only met one person (in a crowd of 20,000) that made a scene about a "vicious" dog being at the market. As we rounded a corner, a man visibly recoiled and made obvious movements to get away from the dogs. When we turned to look at him, he angrily shouted, "Those dogs can attack at any moment!" We looked down at Jayne. He was in perfect heel, not looking at the man at all, and being very zen.
Yes. Jayne was being a vicious beast. Buddy, you have no idea.