Before we went on vacation, I posted that we were in a pretty bad place. Silas had randomly, although not without warning, gotten too afraid to get in the car. Since I have to drive him out to the park for walks, we were completely housebound.
I was hoping that vacation, which included a lot of driving, would be a reset of sorts. He’s always better if my husband and I are both in the car. I’m not sure if he finds it reassuring, or if my husband being along is just a guarantee that we aren’t going to the vet. He also prefers to ride on the freeway.
Tuesday we put my theory to the test and went for a little outing. We’re at near-crippling levels of spring pollen, so we kept it indoors with a trip to the local PetSmart. (As I’ve said before, know your dog. Silas adores PetSmart and behaves perfectly, but I also know to keep the trip very short.) Silas hopped right in the car, although he was a little anxious once we were moving.
On the way home, my husband remembered something he needed from the grocery store, so we made a quick stop. Maybe something from the trip did sink in. I had a bag of liver treats that I dispersed in a slow-but-steady stream, and Silas watched quietly as half a dozen people walked through what I had mistakenly picked as the quiet corner of the parking lot. That included two ladies who walked directly in front of our car. The ferocious barking at people walking toward the car thing is a newer behavior that I don’t let Silas practice if I can help it, so maybe it’s going to be easier to eradicate than I imagined.
The real test comes this afternoon, when I’m planning to take Silas out solo. The one thing I know for sure is that I’m walking a fine line between capitalizing on the residual confidence from our trip and overwhelming him. I hope that getting him out twice this week will be just right.