I’ve been meaning to get Silas to the park more. It’s the perfect way to very, very casually introduce him to some of his “scary things.” The local park is pretty quiet except during peak weekend hours, so it’s easy to not get too close to anything/anyone. We’ve been thwarted by the weather, though. It is hot here. The dog is a wimp in the heat, I am a wimp in the heat. If you miss going out before 10:00am, it’s best to wait until the evening. Except every time I count on that, it’s rained. And I’m not going to lie–it’s a 20 minute drive each way to the park, and it eats at me.
Yesterday I sucked it up and just went anyway. It was around noon, and the heat index was 101. And let me tell you, as someone with some experience of both, I’d rather have “real” 101 than heat index of 101 any day. We only lasted about 20 minutes before Silas was obviously getting too warm, but it was a great twenty minutes.
We were rewarded with some perfect opportunities and some excellent, if I may say so, behaviors.
1) Silas walked calmly through the parking lot. Well, calmly is overstating it, but he was happy-puppy-at-the-park, not terrified. I think we can pretty safely put this in our “overcome” category, with some caveats. If there are a lot of moving cars, parking lots can still be very hard. But a nice quiet parking lot is no longer cause for panic.
2) We walked past some people having a picnic. Seated people aren’t usually a problem, but I’m taking nothing for granted lately.
3) I had a brief conversation with a lady about what kind of dog I had. (Hilariously, she seemed alarmed that he was “so big.” He weighs 33 pounds. I don’t think English was her first language; I’m wondering if something was getting lost in the translation.) Silas just walked along while I talked. This one is a big deal. Again, she was seated and not terribly close, but she called out to us. People making noises have been touch-and-go lately.
4) The garbage truck drove by. I guess they’re allowed to drive through even when the roads are closed. Cars are Silas’s first and most pervasive fear, and he didn’t seem to care.
5) We drove past some pedestrians without incident. Silas does not like people walking by while he’s in the car. We’ve been working a lot on this one, and it’s nice to see some results. Of course, he was exhausted by then, so maybe he just couldn’t muster the energy. I’ll take it.