How we spent our Christmas

Silas fared pretty well this year, largely because Christmas was very low-key for the humans. My husband’s family had a plumbing problem, which delayed their holiday a few days, and my mom’s family was too sick to do a big to-do. (We had a plan for dodging Mom’s family anyway–lots of children on that side.)

Christmas Day was very easy. A little present unwrapping with my family, aka people 1, 2, and 3 on Silas’s list of “acceptable people whom I don’t live with,” then some time in his crate while my husband and I went to the huge family party on my Dad’s side.

The real test didn’t come until Thursday, with the delayed Christmas party. My husband’s family is hard for Silas, because they’re all dog people. Since Silas doesn’t like to be reached for or for people to act excited about him, dog people are hard for him. I credit Silas’s deep and enduring love for my mother to the fact that he had to work hard to win her over. They’re also loud, and the kind of loud people who wave their arms around while they talk. They’re so loud that I honestly have trouble with them myself. I think my family party of 60+ was less noisy than K’s family of eight (including us).

But, you know, it went pretty well. We left Silas in his crate at my parents’ house a few miles away while we did the dinner prep and ate. Then we put him in his Thundershirt and carried him to the party. This meant that everybody else was already there. Additional people arriving once Silas is in a room can be hard for him. I left him on his leash while we went around and met everyone, and they had already been instructed not to reach for him, pet him, or act excited to see him. After that he was fine loose in the house. He had one or two barking spells with K’s uncle, but I can’t blame him.

I’m not sure if the difference was age, or the Thundershirt, or our improved party tactics, but this year was so much better than last.

Silas still thinks holidays are exhausting:

Christmas

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9 thoughts on “How we spent our Christmas

  1. Well that’s great news!! Did you pat yourself on the back? Sometimes their behaviors surprise us in a good way, I think all of the things you mentioned contributed to the success. Way to go!!

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    1. I haven’t done much back-patting yet. It was so stressful! Worrying about the dog, worrying about my in-laws, listening to all the loud people talk loudly about horrible politics. Honestly, Silas might have fared better than I did!

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  2. I am so glad Silas could enjoy himself and you all had a lovely time together. Sometimes the reason doesn’t matter. It’s all about appreciating the good moments.

    I know exactly how he feels in that picture!

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  3. Sometimes it’s almost equally training the people and the dog, isn’t it? Seems like they respected your wishes and let Silas be. Our boy Forest doesn’t like being approached and if people listen when I tell them to ignore him, he’ll eventually approach them.

    Hope all the family enjoyed themselves!

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    1. I worry too much that he’s going to bite someone. Which is why I keep him on his leash until he’s met everyone. Once or twice he’s been startled badly enough that I do think he would have bitten had he been able.

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  4. Aww, Silas! Glad it wasn’t too traumatic, and you didn’t have a series of frozen dog pics, like we did of Bel (who has quite recovered now, from the “awfulness” of the holidays. New things! NO! That’s what Bel thinks!)

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    1. Silas likes new “things” but can’t stand the new *people.* He likes who he likes, and getting on that list is tough. He did do much better this year than we expected.

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