✨ Make sure you have got all of your supplies, the right gear/equipment before you set off - most importantly a favourite interactive toy & lots of food.
✨ Don't just leap straight out of your car head first into the chaos, sometimes it might feel better to just 'get it over & done with', I promise you this is NOT one of those times!
✨ Give yourself & your dog a chance to acclimatise, open the car or boot door & just watch the world go by, absorb it all before you even leave the safety of your car (another reason to make sure your dog is secured in your car & that you have worked on threshold boundaries).
✨ Check in with your dog before you start, will they take food? What kind of food will they take? Will they play? Are they naturally checking in with you? What do their eyes look like? What's their body language communicating?
✨ Once you're out of the car do some engagement work with them to...
A) continue to check in with where they are at mentally.
B) to help remind them that when you're out together you're working together as a team.
C) to make sure you're on the same wavelength before you're in the thick of it all.
✨ At the beginning of your outing it can feel tempting to be very 'on' with our dogs & be asking a lot of them constantly for fear that if we stop communicating with them they will mentally tap out. Whilst this is a valid concern we also need to give them an opportunity to sniff & explore to take in their new environment & settle in to where we now are. Remember, you knew where you were going, they were plopped in a car & as if going through a portal to another dimension have ended up here, give them a chance to get used to that!
✨ However, do still layer in some engagement work & games alongside asking for check ins if they aren't automatically offering them. Always mark & reward voluntary check ins, especially in a situation like this.
Let me know if this new structure to the beginning of your outings helps reduce some of the anxiety surrounding them.