Wow, overall hugely successful. First I took him to Happy Tails which is a dog daycare center just down the road. He needed his nails trimmed so we got that done. He HATES this, he expressed his anal glands
Going to start taking him there every few weeks until he gets used to it and I can do it myself. Amazingly, they said he was really good!
Then we stopped by the local convenience store, a lot of traffic there. Met up with the breeder who works there, Spirit always loves to see her. We sat and watched people come and go. One time he saw a group of people walking towards us (more in the direction of the door) and he started barking and was clearly alarmed, very much out in front of me. I think that was the only negative this morning, not sure what the trigger was. He was completely fine with people walking by, even people walking by closely.
Then we went to Tractor Supply where I got to take him in with me. He was a little concerned about the automatic doors opening and closing so we hung around the entrance for awhile. Other than that, no problems at all. He took a treat from the cashier with no hesitation.
THEN (LOL), we went to my son's work which is a home theatre store. Spirit adores my son, he was so excited to see him
Spirit got to meet up with the installers in the back, and then the owner dropped by with a huge lab named Gus ... so Spirit got to meet a new dog -- gotta love that!
On our way back home, we dropped by a police station where I asked for a police offer to come outside to meet Spirit. Spirit did great, and the policeman was so kind. He commended me for getting Spirit out and talked about the GSD he had as a child.
Spirit is sleeping soundly now ... a tired pup is a happy pup
I learn so much about Spirit when we're out in public together. Really helps me identify what we need to work on. I don't think he will ever be a social butterfly, but he has to learn to be comfortable in the world, or at least to trust me to watch out for him. I think just getting out and about on a regular basis will go a long ways towards that.
If anyone has any comments or suggestions for future outings, please do share
I do not like him barking at strangers when he feels uncomfortable. I want him to sit and observe quietly. He can be uncomfortable, that's fine, but I'm not liking the barking, makes him look like a mean dog and it's going to be scary for people when he gets bigger.