Thistle's first visit to The Pets Market

I’m in a new place!  Lots of smells and lots of dirt.  There are people and dogs.  I am worried, I don’t know those people, but I’m with my best friend so I am safe.  I don’t feel like saying hi to those dogs.  Too worried.

We are walking through people, I am still worried but I follow my friend.  Big loud metal thing!  I am scared and try to run.  My lead is tight and I remember I can’t run away and being near my best friend is safest.  I stick close and we get out of the crowd, whew!

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My friend and I go to the table and it is nice.  I say hello to a little white dog, very nice dog.  I am feeling better and relax a bit, the little white dog’s friend isn’t looking at me.  I start sniffing around. I meet a bigger dog!

She is lovely, we go under the table together and I feel much better!  It is nice and safe under the table and I have a new doggie friend.  Their owner doesn’t look at me either and I am getting lots of treats for being good.  This isn’t so bad.  I give other-dog some kisses and got some kisses back.  I am looking around and curious.  Thinking hard, this is okay.  Different but okay.  So many smells, lots of dirt.  I like smells and dirt.

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We are leaving now!  I am getting treats and feeling much better.  I am in my car.  That wasn’t so bad!  Next time I will sniff more things and pee on something.

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I read about The Pets Market on Instagram and was curious.  I have a scared, reactive rescue dog that I have been training with to build up her confidence and to teach her how to be calm in a city environment.  It is very important to me, for her own health and safety, that I can teach her to be calm and relaxed.

Her name is Thistle; weedy and a little spiky.

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Thistle is scared of people and, sometimes, dogs. I say ‘sometimes’, because in April 2015 she was attacked and injured by another dog and was scared of dogs all the time.  It wasn’t until November last year that she started liking dogs again.  With people, I don’t think she’s had any bad experiences.  She is just a naturally timid dog and did not have those important social experiences when she was a pound puppy.  Of course, the bigger people are the scarier she thinks they are! I have been attending dog training classes to work on this in a group setting and she has been learning very well.

So when I heard about The Pets Market I thought it was a great opportunity to take her somewhere new and challenge her a bit.  I went later in the day, after 3pm, because I wanted her to lightly try out the market setting (and also so I could have a quick get-away if it proved too much for her).  Something I have learned with Thistle is to always be prepared to leave if it becomes too much.

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When we arrived Thistle was a little alert but still relaxed. We walked calmly past some other people and dogs.  She had a freak out over a moving trolley but were able to look at all the stalls.  Dog treats, pet portraits, photographers and fancy collars - awesome!  I planned ahead, I didn't bring any money with me so I would spend time working on her and not buying items. Next time!

The Pets Market @ CERES runs every last Sunday of the month

The Pets Market @ CERES runs every last Sunday of the month

We met the face behind Doggy Tea Breaks and her lovely little dog.  We sat at the table and watched lots of different dogs walk around and people walk past.  Sometimes Thistle got worried, because having too many people looking at her scares her - she’s very self conscious that way.  She hid under the table with the Dog Trainer’s dog Diva as we chatted about the day.  Her confidence was returning, she was looking around and learning that nothing was going to hurt her.

Lily and Elmo

Lily and Elmo

I decided to end our trip then, when Thistle was relatively relaxed and curious about the smells, so that she had a good memory to carry with her.  I greatly enjoyed how nice and polite everyone was, the lovely dogs we met, and this opportunity to take my dog out in a safe and controlled environment.

Next time I’m bringing money to buy things. Come say hi to us!  But please, don’t stare at the dog.