In Tim's case as you know we have been taking everything super slow and at times we have wondered if we were going too slow introducing him to new stimuli and environments. Who knows? Maybe we have been too cautious, but when it comes to working with a super fearful dog like Tim I would rather be over cautious than under cautious. After all what is to lose in going slower than needed? There is a LOT that can go wrong when going too quickly and overwhelming the dog. Go too fast and we would have never built up a trusting relationship so he wouldn't be able to navigate all the new environments in the world, and could end up just shutting down more and or becoming more fearful, and worse he wouldn't feel like he could trust us to keep him safe.
Tim has made a shift. What we are realizing is that he has gone from a boy that new environments were truly terrifying to him, to a boy who is still anxious about new people and places but there is a curiosity that has crept in now and offers him a break from straight anxiousness. This manifests as him not shutting down when we encounter new things. Not going to Dave for quite so much reassurance as he has in the past, and his recovery time when we have been out in a new situation is much quicker. He is able to go into brand new experiences and face them without his tail tucked. What an amazing rattie he is!
We had not ever taken Tim into a pet food store. But we felt it was time to see how he would do. We chose to go to an All The Best Pet Care, rather than a big box store. All the Best is a great pet food store. They are very accommodating to their customers when they bring in their dogs for a visit. I love that I can go in and let them know that I will be bringing in a fearful dog and they will support whatever I ask them to do as far as giving treats, or not. I let the nice employee know that Tim was a bit nervous but I would appreciate him seeing if Tim would take a treat from him. If Tim didn't want it then we would just not push it. Yes we are still going slow, but we are challenging him more and Timken did Rattastic!
|Tim before we go in. What the picture can't tell you is the noise level. Busy busy parking lot with lots of car noise. Tim can be sensitive to unfamiliar noise but he was doing ok, tail not tucked, although he was nervous, he was also curious.|
|Walking toward the doorway to the store. As far as we know Tim has never walked by a strip mall before.|
|He balked at the door but he did go in on his own!|
|Already there is something new to Tim. Not only is he in a store but there is a huge dog coming his way...|
|The dog was so sweet, he was so curious about Tim, Tim did a bit of an air snap at the dog and the big guy moved on.|
|Foster dad trying to get Tim into looking at toys...|
|Tim "kissing" Dave, this kiss is one of the ways Tim tries to settle himself.|
|Good news! Just a couple of minutes in and Tim is sniffing the rug. I had to wonder if he smelled us and even our dogs in that rug as we used to spend a lot of time doing adoption events in this very store on this very rug!|
|This is Big Dog's dad and an employee of All The Best. He played this offering a treat to Tim just right. Notice his head is turned to the side? AND notice Tim is taking the treat! A little Timken Lean there but tail is relaxed.|
|Tim anticipating those treats coming from that packet. It is good to note that Tim's leash is not being held at this point, he could move away any time he wanted to, but he chose to stay for more treats...|
|Even more relaxed now, he is done that shift I was mentioning, from nervousness to curiosity. "Can I have more treats please?"|
|I love this picture, I don't know if you can see the subtle difference but Tim is curious and he is intent on that treat and that is over riding whatever fear he might have of the new guy and environment. This makes me very happy...|
|A little closer....|
|...and the man even offered a little chin scritch and Tim stuck with it.|
|Then the man asked Tim to sit and Tim slammed his rear on the ground! Good boy!|
|He went to Dave for reassurance but instead of the usual climbing up on him routine, he stood for a pet and kept watching to see if more treats were coming. What a change from a previous post over 5 months ago when taking a treat from a new person caused Tim to completely shut down.|
|Everything was going well so we decided we better take a quick trip around the store and then leave on a good note.|
|Tim eating a treat I threw down by this little stuffed dog. He was a bit skeptical of the toy but he managed to take the treat, although as you can tell he wasn't real comfortable with it.|
|Ahhhh perfect, this nice lady was right near the door to go out and Tim got a see ya later treat! Love her tattoo :)|
|Walking back to the car, tail still not tucked, and he wasn't spiraling or going to Dave for reassurance.|
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