Today, young Solo made his first real visit to an environment he’s only seen once – when he was just 6 weeks old – and only from his owner’s arms. While he’s been doing a great job learning how to interact with Glimmer, he is exhibiting intense anxiety when his owners are either out of sight, or several feet away. He’s also exhibiting fear of strangers and fear of new places, and since his age and the covid situation have denied him important exposure to the larger world, young Solo hasn’t been socialized.
Today, we went to a local pet store to begin the process of changing this. Slowly, he was introduced to a new environment, strangers, and even a couple of other dogs. At first, he was very nervous and tended to keep his tail tucked between his legs. But, as his owner allowed him to explore each area and sniff at everything that caught his attention, Solo began to come out of his shell. He met several strangers, and as he started to feel more confident, his tail came out and he began to show more interest in what was around him than he did in keeping track of his owner. He even approached people of his own accord and sniffed at them very politely.
During the exercise, Solo also met a couple of dogs. The first dog – a heeler mix – was very well-behaved and sent him lots of calming signals. A greeting was not permitted, however, because Solo was staring at the other dog, and we didn’t want her to misinterpret his body language. The second dog – a pug mix – was less polite; she stared very intently, and Solo – who had started to growl – was immediately but calmly taken into a different isle, out of the other dog’s sight.
Overall, Solo handled all of his experiences very, very well. His owner did an awesome job of staying calm, redirecting him when it was necessary, and reading his body language correctly and removing him from any situations in which he had had negative responses. It was a fantastic first adventure in a new environment, and I know that he’s going to get better and better as his owner takes him into new situations and teaches him how to deal with life. Way to go, Team Solo! 🙂