I told you all last week that the plumber was coming, and I was bracing for the worst.
As is pretty usual with real life, the whole thing was a mixed bag. I’m still not sure what kind of conclusions I can draw from it.
There were good times and bad times. The plumber was working in the downstairs bathroom, which is not visible from Silas’s crate. Silas did not bark obsessively the entire time. That’s a good sign. Calming down isn’t one of his strong suits. He did bark obsessively every time the plumber walked through the house. I suspect this is partly a problem of arrangement–no matter where I put Silas’s crate, for part of his trip to his truck and back the plumber had to walk almost directly toward it. That’s not something he’s great with anyway–people walking quickly toward him is a serious barking trigger.
On the other-other hand, it certainly could have been worse. I didn’t see any really serious red flags. Silas maintained control of all his bodily functions, which is the point where all the books say “You’ll absolutely have to medicate the dog to train him through this.” Except for the very closest points of the plumber’s walk-by, Silas was taking treats.
Another good thing: using the stream of Christmas deliveries to enforce “doorbell=crate” has turned out to be really useful. Doorbell rings, Silas runs to the door to bark, I stand up and call, and he’s practically in his crate before I can toss the treat in.
I think there’s a tiny ray of hope here, especially if I can start with someone who isn’t a stranger.