As it’s the weekend before Christmas we needed to exchange some gifts with friends and family. Setting off on Saturday morning we drove down to Tintern Abbey to meet up with a friend and her beautiful one year old white German Shepherd, Millie in a car park.
So far Willow has been rather nervous around other dogs, despite having been fostered with three other dogs, including the most enormous Bull Mastiff I have ever seen, and initially this was the case with Millie. Millie is a very bouncy excitable dog, but ultimately very sweet and gentle. Initially Willow tried to keep as far away from Millie as possible but once we started walking with the two dogs, she relaxed and happily trotted along on her lead while Millie, off the lead, bounded and bounced all around us.
After our walk we retired to The Anchor Inn for coffee and cakes. The staff were more than happy for us to take the dogs inside but we opted to stay outside where the dogs didn’t have to be on best behaviour. Willow had obviously relaxed really well by this point as she started playing with Millie, which was lovely to watch. I actually had to check with our friend that that was what they were doing! The funniest thing was watching Millie trying to be submissive to Willow because, given the size difference, she had to get down very low to be below the level of Willow’s head!
We will definitely be visiting The Anchor again, but in the meantime leaving Tintern we drove on to see Husband’s brother and his family. Because she was in a new environment, Willow spent the first couple of hours sat in a corner watching everything happening around her. Eventually, again, she relaxed and quietly wandered around getting to know everyone. She was extremely well behaved the whole evening, either sitting quietly or gently making everyone fall in love with her.
This morning we had more giant steps forward. We took her for a walk along a canal towpath which is very popular with dog walkers. To get there we had to negotiate some quite busy roads. So far Willow has been very nervous around roads, scared to walk near the cars and having to be carried. As mentioned above she has also been very nervous around strange dogs. On this walk she dealt really well with both. She was obviously not happy but she kept walking when there were cars around and also allowed some strange dogs to come up and touch noses with her.
I think, having made such progress, she’s allowed to take a little nap.