The closest small dog run to my apartment is not terribly inviting. It's on the river so it's windy and cold on all but the warmest days. It's also relatively small and has vinyl floors instead of soil or grass. Brian and I had looked at it when we first started taking Hadley out for walks and decided it was too dirty, uninviting and filled with overly boisterous dogs. Nope, we won't be putting our clean little darling in there. Well...
Kate, the trainer, felt very strongly that Hadley needed the kind of exercise she could only get by running around with other dogs and that we'd made the wrong decision. So, since I'd followed her advice about everything else, I decided to try this as well.
The first time we brought Hadley in there she was very unsure, barely acknowledged the other dogs or greeted them with her head low and rear end down. Her tail was not tucked...she wasn't afraid...but very submissive and uncertain. The other dogs were very exuberant with each other but obviously sensed her nervous energy and stayed away from her. She spent a lot of the time hiding behind my legs and I felt so guilty for not having socialized her with other dogs sooner. I determined to come to the dog run more often.
The winter weather has been uncooperative but I've still managed a few dog run visits with her and I see an improvement each time. I still wouldn't say she loves it but I'm hoping that one day she will.