After six months of meeting and spending time with new people and dogs in the familiarity and comfort of the Therapy Center and the Love Dogs Reading program, it was time for Julian to experience dogs in the real world.
So I invited him to meet two of our dogs in a different environment than the Center or Rise.
Julian had met both owners before but he had not met their dogs.The dogs are both large and the location was new to Julian.
There would be so many more distractions and stimuli.
We met where I train, a store where dog grooming was happening with very loud noises, hair blowers, barking dogs, people talking.There was lots of colorful merchandise all around.
The lights were very bright.
People were coming and going and moving quickly, some with dogs.We met outside and at first Julian was very hesitant to greet the dogs.
Both dogs were quietly waiting for him and we had them in the down position.
One dog did seem to attract him however as he looked so much like his friend, Bailey.
Boise is another beautiful Golden.
The other dog was a breed he had not seen before, an Airdale named Cassidy.
When walking up to the dogs, Julian did exactly what he had been taught to do, all on his own. He put out his little hand and said Stay to the dogs! Wow!
We approached the dogs and Julian put out his hand to Sniff.He needed a little coaching and he held my hand as we approached each dog but he did it.
And before you knew what was happening Julian was asking to pet the dogs. All on his own he asked.
Then we went inside and the dogs took their spots on their blankets and everyone got comfortable.
Julian wanted to brush the dogs so he did.
Then we got on the floor and read a story with the dogs.
He was still a bit nervous with all the distractions in the store. He looked up at the lights and lost his focus several times, but quickly regained it when asked to interact with the dogs.
We spent about an hour together and by the end of that time, Julian was able to walk through the store to the front door, through people and barking dogs.
We asked if our two dogs should go in front of him or behind him and he chose behind. So he bravely led the dogs through the store.This simple walk through a maze of dog treats and food and toys was quite an accomplishment for Julian.
At one point a very tiny dog started barking and we were all startled! So much noise from such a tiny dog!
But Julian kept his composure and stayed on point and continued making his way to the door.
We took the dogs to a potty area and Julian saw how they needed to go potty.
He stayed right with them and did not flinch when they walked around.
Such a simple day, making new friends in a new place with new stimuli, but for Julian, it was a great day out in the world.