While we were on our most recent trip, my husband went for a job interview. If the job had worked out (it didn’t; they wanted to hire him, but for a 20% pay cut. LOLOLOL.) it would have meant moving across the country. I know that Silas couldn’t handle the process. It seems like my best, in some ways, option was to see if he could stay alone with my mom overnight. He adores her, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the stress of putting him in boarding. In the real situation he would have to stay for three or four days, at least, which made it really important to do a test run before I counted on it working.
My husband and I left at about 9:00 on Thursday morning, and we came back around 8:30 Friday night. Silas did just fine. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it so easily next time–he obviously had no idea that us not coming home was even a possibility the first night. On the second night, he made Mom take him outside around dusk and wait on us for the next half an hour. Luckily for her we came home.
Very interesting things happened while we were gone. Mom’s house is usually pretty busy with people in and out. She tones it down a lot while we’re there, but I didn’t explicitly say “Hey, no strangers while we’re gone!” On the first day, my brother, who Silas knows but isn’t really comfortable with, brought a friend of his over to do some yard work. Silas and Mom were outside when they pulled up. Silas did not bark at them. Mom even took Silas over to meet them, and he did not bark. When I took Silas out the day before, he barked over the neighbor being on his porch.
Then it gets crazier–the second day, my uncle came over. I’ve introduced Silas to him a few times before, but it hasn’t really “taken.” Silas did not bark. He walked over, gave my uncle a good sniff, and then went back to the sofa.
Our followup appointment with the behaviorist is tomorrow, and I had to get to the bottom of this so that I can talk to her about it. After we got home, I had my uncle come back over. Silas alarm barked at him more or less the whole time he was there. It wasn’t anything too bad, but it was pretty constant. I don’t know if he’s just being overprotective (something that is definitely true in other contexts) or if he was just too depressed to bark while we were gone, or what. I would say that it’s me stressing out over the fact that he’s going to misbehave, but sometimes I haven’t even seen the person until he starts barking. And he doesn’t do it all the time. It’s been ages since he barked at someone in the park or a store.
I do know that I’m going to have to give Mom firmer rules for next time. She has a “well, he handled x okay, so let’s try y” attitude. Poor Silas had to deal with my brother, his friend, my uncle, my brother coming back with the baby, and she let something slip about Silas seeing my little cousin next door. He was a wreck all weekend after all that.