To make your visit easier, consider:
- A longer walk or some exercise before the visit
- Visiting a few busier places to see how your dog feels in them
- Working on your "settle" and "stay" cues
- A few short visits to the gym or surroundings
1) INTRODUCTION TO THE GYM ENVIRONMENT
Not every dog will struggle in the new environment, however, we need to understand that it's full of new smells, objects and sounds, so the key to getting your pup used to this new experience will be starting slowly and building the length of your visit up gradually. If your gym allows, take a few short trips inside or around the gym before you're there for a longer stay.
Consider arriving early and letting your pup to sniff, explore and get familiar with the environment.
NEVER push your dog to approach any equipment or people they're not comfortable with, sometimes they just need time before they go exploring themselves!
2) GETTING COMFORTABLE
There is nothing better than games if we aim to build your pup's confidence and help them relax in the new environment. That's why I asked you to take one or two of your dog's favourite toys! Have a wee tug-o-war game or show your best tricks off - it'll help to take your pup's mind off and help them feel more comfortable. It'll also remind them that you're there to guide them and they're not on their own.
Can I tell you a secret? Just like you like to be rewarded, your pup does to! Make sure you're generous with your rewards for any behaviours that you like. Make it snow treats to form positive associations with the gym.
3) HELP THEM SETTLE
Settle protocol will be your best friend in situations like this. The more you practice it in different environments, the more reliable it will be and the less stressful your visits to public places will be.
The blanket that you took with you is what I call a "pub mat". It's the mat that doesn't take much space, that you can take anywhere you go with your dog and on which good things happen. It will be so much easier for your pooch to settle when they have something to settle on!
You can talk to us about what mat training exercises you can do or give your dog a nice long lasting chew on the mat, so they can enjoy it while you train and also learn that once the mat is out - they rest!