Uncertain at the Park

Uncertain at the park

Silas just couldn’t decide if he was having a good time at the park yesterday afternoon or not. He ate some treats! He never eats treats when we’re out, so this is a sign of the lowest-possible stress.

Then he got stuck in an infinite loop. Leaving the turtle pond to either side was too scary, so we just had to keep walking back and forth. He would get to one end and then flatten to the ground in a panic, then go to the other end and do the same. Finally I used my most powerful park trick–a cheerful “Are you ready to go back to the car?” can work wonders.

After that he settled down enough that we didn’t have to go directly back to the car. He asked to go down his favorite side trail instead.

He got stuck again on that trail, though (I should have known better than to go, once he’d been so overwhelmed), and then he pulled like crazy the rest of the way to the car. But, I don’t know, he seemed kind of happy pulling back to the car.

This is why we don’t go to the park more often.

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9 thoughts on “Uncertain at the Park

  1. Oh Silas. Geez, this is a bit of a tough one. My first thought is that you should go to the park more often. How about really short trips/short wanders and leave before things get stressed and then gradually increase? Have you tried clicker training? I certainly don’t have all the answers nor do I claim to be any type of expert! Just trying to help.

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    1. He’s usually much happier there. This is the “good” park, where he’s usually pretty pleased with himself. Hence my confusion about this particular trip; I don’t know what was different to set him off.

      We were only there for about 45 minutes; our usual outing is 30-45. Taking him for less time is hard, because the “scary” part is usually going and coming from the car.

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  2. Poor Silas! It’s sad that a place of so much joy for other dogs puts him in such a panic. I guess all you can do is what you are doing, introduce him in small doses and try to keep him below threshold. Hopefully with a lot of time (and patience!) he will have more fun there. You’ve made an awesome start at the very least and have a lot to be proud of.

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    1. Thanks. This was a weird trip, for sure. He’s usually much happier.

      You know, I wonder if there had been more dogs through over the holidays. He felt an uncharacteristic need to territory mark on this trip, too.

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  3. Aww – poor Silas. One step forward, three steps back. Hopefully it was just a one time deal. If it makes you feel a little less alone – since Linus has left, Blueberry has been exhibiting some fearful behavior when we’ve been out. When she’s seen another hiker, she has flattened her ears and tried to run away – something she hasn’t done since I first brought her home. And last night she was afraid in the dark of two stumps. I brought her over to them and used a cheerful voice and she soon realized they were not specters of doom. I sort of wonder if it is because we didn’t go out every day when I had Linus. It isn’t like we are back at square one – more like square four. Hopefully she gets over it soon the more I take her out.

    Hang in there with Silas – you are still doing all the right things for him! 🙂

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    1. Sympathy.

      Silas has been generally edgy the last day or two. I was also out of town for the first time ever last week, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. It’s weird how the disruptions in their routine add up.

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  4. Poor little guy, I’m sure with everything you are doing for him, you can help him work through this as well. Keep up the good work, I swear one day you will look at him and wonder where the puppy went!

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  5. Gosh that’s got to be so hard…when Silas is clearly bothered by something and can’t tell you what it is…Your patience and care for him is wonderful

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