Teaching not to fear public places?
For six months I've been driving to a trainer's house to work with my Dutch Shepherd (and he's lived with the trainer for several years before I adopted him). Remo's the most chill dog ever around the trainer and around the trainer and me.
Three weeks ago I brought him home finally. In those three weeks he's gotten more and more adjusted. We do lots of play and walks all around the neighborhood, where he's gotten pretty unconcerned with the kids, dogs, and traffic.
Here's where I am in desperate need of advice: the trainer took Remo out in public, to parks, pet stores, etc..., and he was great. When I take Remo out, like to PetSmart, for example, he is a different dog. I have worked really hard on being calm and reducing any anxiety I might have that would affect his behavior, but as soon as we get out of the car he's straining at his leash, running ahead (unless I hold tight and end up choking him), and looking shell-shocked.
I'm not sure how to do this right. We're great at home, and he was great in public with his former trainer. Is it a matter of my needing to give him more time with me in order to calm down, or is there something I could/need to be doing to help him become more open to the experience?
This is really the only hitch in our beautifully developing relationship, and if time and patience are all it'll take, then I am happy to give it. If, however, I'm doing something to traumatize him, I'd really appreciate some of your wisdom.