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Wherever you go, remember a new walk may surprise you with some novel experiences for your dog which could be a little too exciting or a bit of a worry! Scentventure Guide Emily said Nell used to be scared of bridges and it wasn’t something we realised until we had a day out and found ourselves stuck in a moving crowd with a panicky dog. When you encounter something they seem to be having big feelings about:

  • Allow the time and space to explore – loosen up that leash!
  • Avoid trying to physically move/pull them toward or away. 
  • Don’t be tempted to lure toward something as it can create a stressful conflict between food acquisition and trying to avoid the novel item. Instead, be calm, offer verbal reassurance and allow them to make a choice to move toward or away. 
  • If they’re too excited in proximity to the novel item, break out your toolkit (ABC, 123, Let’s Go etc) and move them to a distance where they can observe more calmly. 

Exit Strategy

Whatever plans you make for your day out, it’s beneficial to also work out an exit strategy for your dog (which you’ll hopefully not need!) for use in the event that they’re not coping. 

Planning ahead means you can ensure that an exit is logistically possible so it’s easier to make that decision in the moment. By discussing the exit strategy in advance with the group, it can also help avoid the additional stress of disagreements on the day as everyone is prepared that this may be a possibility.