We’re back from our Christmas trip.
Silas was a champ.
His medication works smoothly enough that it isn’t always easy to tell what benefits are from training and what are from the medication. But, that’s also the wonderful thing about it–when we take him off the medication, he’ll have a history of good interactions that he can draw on, that felt like just-plain-old life.
Some highlights of our trip:
Silas and Dusty the ancient, completely unsocialized, Golden Retriever mix coexisted 100% peacefully at my husband’s family party this year. Dusty is a pretty serious resource guarder of toys. Silas, on the other hand, doesn’t care at all about his toys but gets really edgy when anybody (or dog) gets too close to me. With people he just gets a little over exuberant, but with dogs he can get a little growly. For the past two years, this has made Christmas a little tricky. In some fascinating dogs-only communication, the two of them seem to have set their parameters amicably this year. Silas wouldn’t even pick up Dusty’s toys when Dusty walked away from them, and Silas does not understand leaving things alone if he can reach them. Dusty, for his part, snuggled my husband and I separately, while one of us had Silas outside.
Silas coexisted quite amicably with my brother’s baby, without even any real signs of stress. She was never on the floor where she could move toward him, or anywhere that they could touch, which is the key to this, but it was a big improvement even over the last trip.
Silas was also better with adult people on this trip–he let my husband’s grandmother pet him, perhaps the only thing that really truly made her happy on Christmas. He and my father-in-law have worked out some ground rules that don’t involve barking. He barely barked at my brother. The only total bust was with my husband’s uncle, who is a very loud, boisterous, “all dogs love me” type. Silas is not good with people like that.
Silas also ate every meal I offered him, which is a miracle.
There are still dozens of things we are working on or should be working on (more on that to come), but we’re in a pretty great place right now compared to where we have been.