I took Dante on his first "official" outings today. We headed to Office Depot first. How could I forget to take pictures??
The Office Depot in my town is really quiet. Like we were there for about ten minutes and we saw one other customer.
When we got out of the car there was an UPS truck in front and a yappy little dog in a nearby car. Dante was very distracted by this. After a few minutes I decided just to take him in. And as soon as we walk in the door, I had the best "check-ins" from Dante. We walked around the near-empty store for less then ten minutes, and Dante did great. He did bark once. I am still not sure if it is a nervous thing or just his sassy-ness/boredom. The manager came over and asked to pet Dante, and he did very well and held his "sit." I am very thankful that Dante is getting such welcoming responses from different places around town!
We then had to make a quick stop at Target. My plan was to walk Dante in to the Pharmacy counter where my mom was, and then walk out with her. Estimated time: about five minutes. Just enough time to get the exposure, but short enough to leave on a sweet note.
Overall, I have not been getting stopped with Dante as much as I first expected. We usually get one or two people who actually stop us and ask (or not) to pet him. We walked through with lots of "look at the puppy!"s but not a single person stopping us. Until we reach the Pharmacy.
Dante was doing GREAT, like he had been there a thousand times. As we approached the counter, there were two - to put it frankly - completely out of control kids. The younger one looked about five or six and came over with outstretched arms yelling "I'm gonna give her a hug!" I quickly put out my hand trying to keep him back while I said, "Wait a minute!" By this time the older kid (seven or eight), and their Dad had turned to see what was going on. I tried explained in the simplest manner I could that they had to wait until I said it was okay, all the while trying to keep this kid off my puppy.
Being a teenager myself, I always feel awkward trying to correct people's kids, especially while their parents are present, but their dad had absolutely no control over them.
I really should have turned and walked away without another word, but at the time, it didn't come to mind. Dante sat, and they pet/hugged him.
After a minute, Dante had had enough, and I knew it. I looked at my mom, and we both knew that he was starting to get overwhelmed. I knew that the only way we could stop was to leave, so we started to head for the door. The smaller kid came running, trying to pet Dante, and with that I had had enough, and blocked his hand with mine and said "you cannot pet him," very firmly and with all the niceness I could muster.
We found a bench outside and sat down. I did not want to leave on a bad note, so I gave Dante some ice cubes and he was fine. I decided that I would walk Dante in and out really quickly with lots of praise and treats so that he wouldn't have a negative association. He trotted in like he owned the place, and I gave him a hug when we got to the car.
Looking back, I should have hightailed it outta there before it started, but we are both learning as we go.
Dante really is handling his outing amazingly well. He is very interested when we go out, but still listens very well. He has never seemed overwhelmed by places, but I think I am going to say "no petting" when we are in new places, until he is completely comfortable there.
Dante still does not settle very well, even at home, so we are going to keep our outing really, really short until he can do that better at home, and then work up to it at different places.
So far this pup has amazed me at how smart he is, and how well he handles situations. Even today, he recovered amazingly well, and we ended on a good note. Oh, how I love this puppy!