We headed out for our Nose Work class that was at Swasons Nursery. I'll be talking tomorrow about the awesome class that Catty and I had. I arrived extra early and brought D'light along so that we could walk around this new environment. Arriving right when they opened also meant very few people at the nursery which was what I wanted.
We've done a lot of environmental work with D'light over the years and we are starting to expand that work into "busier" new places. This is delicate as we don't want to overwhelm D'light but, we are working at helping him to stretch a bit more in new environments. What is stressful for D'light is the pressure of and in the environment. This means that if there's too much noise or too much activity he has to give his full attention to assess the environment for safety. He also struggles with social pressure - too many people around cause him worry. Of course I know the environment is safe and I will always advocate for him around people but, he doesn't have the confidence to trust this. So, we are working at building trust and confidence while carefully choosing the environment to work in. With D'light I always have a back up plan of leaving if the pressure is too much for him. D'light defines what is too much not me. So it's really important for me to pay attention to his body language and to not have him stay in a challenging environment for too long. This working session lasted about 15 minutes which was plenty of time.
We head in and this is a fantastic nursery!
We find this amazing Daphne that smelled heavenly
Love the flowers!
Here's the information on this deciduous Daphne
"Who are you all?"
D'light wasn't so sure about the automatic doors. I waited to see what he wanted to do next. D'light and I have a very strong relationship with lots of trust built up over the years. If he doesn't want to move forward I won't make him and if he needs some support from me (talking to him, doing some touch with him) to feel safe I will do that for him. I let him take the lead in these adventures as that's important for him and for me in being able to see what he is telling me.
He moves forward
And inside we go. I have high value food with me and he was rewarded for moving forward. A good sign that he took the food - often times he won't take any food if he is stressed. You can see from his ears that this was a challenge for him to make this move forward, through the doors.
Inside we find an amazing Koi pond and no one around which is perfect.
"Mom, check this out!"
Both D'light and I were amazed by the Koi!
Silly fish come right up to you and there's a sign that say not to feed them.
We move on and slowly wander through the nursery. D'light is doing great and he's curious about what is all around him.
Lots to investigate
Look who we find! It's Erica our Nose Work instructor.
D'light says "Hi Erica, I haven't seen you in a while!"
D'light has been on break from Nose Work for over a year. Erica and I decided that he needed a break as he was showing signs of stress when doing Nose Work. The stress was due to the social pressure of the environment so it was time to work on feeling safe in the environment.
As Erica and I were gabbing Erica says "Look at D'light"...
Yup sweet boy alerted on the odor that was down and inside this bench. This is called and inaccessible hide.
"Yummy treat and thanks Erica for telling mom to look at me!"
Erica and I talk a bit more about sweet D'light as he takes in the environment.
We move onto more of the nursery and going through this door was easy peasy.
So much to explore
Curious boy and this is really, really wonderful to see.
"This was a pretty cool place!"
This was a really good outing for D'light and time to go back to the car as Catty is ready for class!
"Mom says we are going to do more environmental work like this so keep watching for how I do!"