Did I tell you all the story about the time my husband’s boss came over?
Probably not. Let’s just say that after a quite inappropriate greeting, Silas spent the whole evening in his crate, where I fed him an entire container of treats.
Since then, we haven’t had anyone else over. No, wait–we had a nurse come to do our health examinations when we bought life insurance, but we took turns sitting with Silas in the car in the garage. (I thought that was a stroke of dog-management genius, if I do say so myself. I did not want to make the nurse nervous before she jabbed me with a needle.) We aren’t exactly social butterflies to start with. Hence Silas’s discomfort with people in the house: I genuinely thought it wouldn’t make any difference as long as he liked people when we were out, and then he got very nervous about those people, too, and it was all a big mess. Now we don’t really know people well enough to say, “Hey! Wanna come over and listen to my anxious dog bark at you for an hour?” Or, even worse, the more dog-trainerly: “Hey! Wanna come over and throw my dog a huge handful of treats and then leave immediately?”
Anyway, today the plumber is coming. We’ve been down to just the upstairs bathroom for months now, thanks to a water leak, and I finally put on my big girl pants and told the landlord about it.
I’m very curious about what will happen. I know that I’ll start with Silas in his crate, wearing his Thundershirt, listening to his soothing music. If he’s calm enough, which is doubtful but possible, I might let him out on his leash+harness. If he’s an absolute wreck, I’ll take him to the garage. I’ll also be putting the baby gate in the downstairs hallway, since our tiny guest bathroom is probably too small for the plumber to work in with the door shut. That one’s mostly just a courtesy: if I were working in a house with a dog who barked like Silas, I would prefer to be behind a gate.
Either way, I probably need to use whatever data I collect as a starting place for some training with him. I just hope it’s at the level getting the neighbor he likes to come in for a few minutes, rather than a trip to the veterinary behaviorist.