Not many people I know online will know this, but people who know me back in Holland certainly do; I have been scared of dogs for a good part of my life. It's rather strange, as I grew up with a Bouvier des Flandres, but it got to the point where I would not go to a park or forrest, and I would cross a busy street if I would see someone walking a dog coming towards me. I would not visit friends who owned dogs, I knew all the dogs in my neighbourhood and knew roughly when they got walked so I knew what time to be home by.
And now, I'm walking a German Shepherd every single day and loving it!
Anyway... Nephew Aaron (6) has always been a bit scared of Keesha. She is rather big and can get a bit jumpy and tends to nip when excited, so I can see his point. He came over today just as I was going to walk Keesha, so I suggested taking him to the park on his own, and walking Keesha when he left.
At first he agreed. We went to the park and he had a good time on the slides and climbing frames, but after a little while he started thinking out loud of all the things we could be doing with Keesha. Like, running with her and playing fetch and maybe hiding her ball 'so she can sniff it out'. I asked him if he was absolutely sure, because Keesha would be going off lead so she could run, and yes, he was absolutely sure. So we went back to get Keesha!
Aaron did great! He was a little...let's say uneasy, at first. I could tell, because he kept saying how Keesha was 'a good girl, really, a really good girl.. isn't she?', reassuring himself more than anything, but after a while he was running with her and playing fetch. I was so proud of both of them!
And then, on our way back, he asked if he could hold the lead. Now she's on the Gentle Leader she can't pull like she used to, and I showed him how to use it. Not pull it really hard, but ask Keesha to come with you.
He did great!
They got to walk together for a little while, and I don't think I've ever seen Aaron more chuffed with himself. So very cute!
When we got home, Aaron told me that he will never be scared of Keesha again, and that next time he comes over he will play with her and come for a walk with us. Yay!