It’s easy to tell when your fearful dog is “misbehaving.” There’s nothing subtle about barking or flattening to the ground in terror. The improvements are harder to notice, in part because a dog who doesn’t react is just behaving “like he ought to.” It’s also easy to rationalize away improvements. “Oh, he must not have seen that,” or “I’ll bet that was a fluke,” or “We just haven’t seen anything very scary lately.”
The truth is, I’ve been running a little tally of stuff with Silas that is starting to tip toward the near-miraculous.
Some of them I’ve posted here. Yesterday I talked about him being perfectly content at the scary park. Last week, I posted when he politely declined to be petted by a stranger. There have been a lot of smaller things that I haven’t really mentioned, though, because in isolation they seem trivial.
–Two times in the past week or so, Silas has walked calmly all the way back to the car instead of bolting in a panic through the parking lot.
–Last Friday at the park, a car drove right past while we were playing, on a road that is usually closed to car traffic. Silas kept playing.
–Sunday a man roller-skated by us while pushing a stroller. No big deal.
–Tuesday, he didn’t bark at the landscapers at all, even when they were fairly close to the house. He didn’t even get off the sofa. (We did leave before they got right to our door.)
–Also on Tuesday, a group of people walked nearby while we were at the park, and he didn’t care one way or another.
–He will now reliably eat treats outside in places that he’s been before.
There have been a few bumps in the road, but it’s been a remarkably pleasant few weeks. Enough of these “flukes” are happening in a row that I’m starting to think of them as long-term improvements.