Shakeup

Last week was a nice chance to get out of our (bad) rut. This winter I’d let our world close in just a little too small, and I was having a lot of trouble recovering. I couldn’t even get Silas in the car, let alone out to the park.

Last week we went on vacation. Which, with a dog like Silas, means “we went to visit our family, because they don’t care if my dog is crazy.”

It’s always interesting to see how Silas does in a different environment. Usually he surprises me in a good way. On this trip, he decided to upgrade my teenaged nephew to his “good” list, as opposed to his “tolerates” list. I haven’t seen anybody make that move in a long time, so it made me particularly happy. Plus, I now have hilarious photos of Silas licking my nephew’s ears. My niece, on the other hand, has learned to walk, so she is officially OFF the “tolerates” list.

I continue to be surprised by Silas’s reaction to cars when we’re not in our typical city-block context. At Mom’s house on a rural dirt road, Silas is sometimes afraid of the cars and sometimes really neutral about them. One day–but only one–he barked at the cars driving by. He’s also learned to navigate gas station parking lots without panicking. (It would never have occurred to me to even try. We always took turns sitting with him, but a few trips ago he started asking to get out.) You see this pole?

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The one between the car wash exit and the road? Silas peed on it. I was so proud I took a picture.

Here’s a hilarious one for you, though–after all this, on the way back home we stopped at a station that had less of a grassy area than I thought. So I took Silas across a perfectly quiet dead-end street to a vacant lot. (Pro-tip–watch your step walking around gas stations. There’s some scary stuff out there.) He was okay but not great, until he spotted a little stretch of sidewalk. Then we had to GET OUT. Apparently the sidewalk was the last straw. It was all the proof he needed that I was trying to take him on some kind of real walk. Silly dog.

That set up another nice turn of events, though. I’ve written here before about how Silas gets hysterical if the car is parked and he can see people moving. After he rejected being outside, we sat in the car while my husband went inside, and he didn’t bark at a single person. That was after mega-stress, and in pretty close quarters. (Not a miracle cure, alas. At the next station he couldn’t handle people being barely visible on the other side of the gas pump.)

All in all, definitely a good trip. Silas needs to rest–he always sleeps for a week when we get back–but I also need to capitalize on what was hopefully a reboot of his feelings about the car. We’ll see how it goes.

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4 thoughts on “Shakeup

  1. Ruby’s in-car reactivity can be wildly variable like that, too. Once (while wearing her Thundershirt) we drove through narrow streets in a mountain town and passed several people walking dogs without a peep. Other times she can’t handle people waiting at crosswalks across the street.

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    1. Silas is fine if the car is MOVING. He’s okay with most things if we’ve just stopped for a minute, like at a red-light. The only exception to that one is people waving big signs. (This is now “the” way to advertise things like apartment complexes around here, so more of a problem than you’d think.) Sitting in a parked car is very hard for him, though.

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