In a follow-up to Lucky's freak out a week ago when at the pet store attached to the groomer's, I decided we needed to engage in some basic counter conditioning.
SO! Yesterday we ran out of food, so I had to go to the store to get more. I decided I would take Lucky with me with lots and lots of treats and a clicker and see where we got. If need be, I would let him go back in the car while I ran in for his food.
We got there and I armed myself with the clicker. I opened the door - click. Picked up his leash and he hopped out - click. I closed the door - click. Then we hung out for a bit, clicking and treating for just being relaxed and calm. I took a step - click. He caught a whiff of the groomer and tucked his tail. We backed up 20 steps until he could relax. I played silly games, clicking and treating. (all the while there's a guy sitting in his car watching us like WTF?) When he had calmed down, I started playing the Come Game, backing up towards the store. With each "Come", we'd pause and play more silly games until he was relaxed.
By the time I got to the door, he was sniffing interestedly at it like "Maybe this won't be so bad." So we went inside. We started walking up the aisle furthest from the groomers, clicking and treating for calm, relaxed behavior. Then down the next aisle. And so forth. We got to the aisle 2nd closest to the groomers and he was loose body and waggy tail. We walked up it. Turned the corner to the aisle next to the groomers. We're walking down it, I'm letting him go his pace. We were about 2 feet from the door when he looked up at it. I tossed a handful of treats on the ground in front of the door. He hoovered them up. We walked past the door.
So I went and got his food, let him pick out a pig ear for later, and we left. The only hitch came at the very end - I put the food in the trunk and turned to walk to the back door of the car and he bucked back on the leash. I think he thought I had tricked him and I was going to take him into the groomer's. So I said "No, silly. Go for a ride!" and he immediately got up and leapt into the car.
So! All in all, a successful first outting. We'll have to repeat the trip again soon. Maybe Friday.