We have been working on building Zephyr’s confidence pretty much constantly since he came to live with us. He has always struggled to go anywhere other than the field next to our house. When we have taken him to other places it has always been with the support of another dog…. that was until recently when we took him to Dartmoor. Following on from that we have continued with taking him out alone, not for long and not far…but alone. These small steps (over 3 years!) have finally started to pay off and recently we have been able to take Zephyr to our local pub for coffee and to a coffee shop. I have purposely chosen to go somewhere that has a large and open outside seating area as a starting point for Zephyr and this has been at the end of a short walk during the quietest times of the day to help reduce any additional stressors that he might have to deal with. I have not asked anything of Zephyr while we are on these trips, during the walk he is free to stop an d sniff and change direction and generally take his time to take in his surroundings and when we reach the pub/coffee shop he gets to lead me around the garden sniffing and taking it all in. Once he has done this he will sit by me while I drink my coffee. We don’t stay long and I ensure Zeph gets all of the reassurance he needs.
We have even managed to progress to taking him inside our local pub – it was very quiet, we were the only ones there which made it the perfect opportunity to try 🙂
The small steps really do give the biggest rewards!