This Round Goes To Me

Silas just can’t handle seeing the things that go on in front of our house. The neighbor sitting outside with her dog. The little dachshund from across the way. Squirrels. Teenagers on the sidewalk. Cars driving by. It wasn’t always this way–I have pictures of him next to the open windows up until he was about six months old. But, now all of our front windows stay under serious cover. Our floor-to-ceiling living room windows have old-fashioned metal blinds, firmly closed. Our stair landing window has one broken blind slat, so it also has a tension-mounted curtain.

Silas, however, is a smart dog.

Above my front door there are two tiny windows. If Silas sits on exactly the right stair, he can see out these two tiny windows, down to a little sliver of the sidewalk and the back edge of a parking lot.

At the back edge of that parking lot, there is a large electrical shed. Our side of that electrical shed is, apparently, the place to hide from the high school that’s on the next block. You can imagine how well this goes over with Silas, who has been increasingly obsessed with sitting on “his” stair and staring out the little windows, waiting for someone to walk by so that he can bark.

I have struggled to find a way to cover these little windows. One problem is that there is nowhere to mount any kind of curtain-hanging hardware. The other problem is our HOA, which is run by very cranky and extremely particular retirees, who, I am sure, care deeply about my window coverings.

This weekend I took a nice walk through the townhouses, looking up at people’s above the door windows. Because we have a little roof over the door and a dimly-lit hall, the only thing you can really see in anyone’s window is a dark reflection.

I trotted back home with a little joy in my step, and taped black paper over the inside of the windows.

The view from outside? A dark reflection.

The view from inside? Nothing. I really do hate to cut Silas off from the world completely, but an obsession with barking at every person who walks past our house is the opposite of helpful.


I miss my little bit of unfiltered natural light, but I do not miss Silas’s burgeoning OCD.

I have to confess, I giggled when he went to sit on his stair and realized that he couldn’t see out.



16 thoughts on “This Round Goes To Me

  1. We have to enjoy our triumphs when we get them! That was very creative thinking. I’ve been heard more than once saying “ha ha, I win” to my 7 month old puppy when I’ve outsmarted him on something! 🙂
    Silly, right? But he’s really the only that hears me!


  2. what a smart little pup!!! I cant believe he found that one step that he can look out the window!! Another suggestion, so that you can still have some light, is go to a store like Target, Walmart, whatever… there are shelf liners that work really well for a window because they are foggy yet clear like. Silas wouldnt be able to see through it. I use it for bathroom windows when I don’t want my neighbors to see “all” of me. Its also way cheaper than those window liners at Home Depot.


    1. I’m kind of afraid that anything cuter or more transparent will show from the outside. I am thinking about putting up some pretty paper to face inside, though, because the black is quite ugly.


    1. Kaya and Norman are emotionally well-regulated.

      One day I would like to take the time to train Silas to accept the outside world without barking, but it’s too lofty of a goal for right now.


  3. That is awesome. I took patterned wrapping paper and did the SAME THING to our transom at the old house because, well, FELIX.

    Even if Silas is super disappointed, think of how freeing it must be to be relieved of all that added stress? He’ll thank you in the long run…I hope! (We have seen a huge change in Fe’s reactivity in the apartment, where all he can see from our window is our deck)


    1. I was really becoming afraid that he was going to train himself to be dog reactive (which, miraculously, he isn’t) just by sitting there watching for excuses to bark.

      He does pretty well looking out the patio door. He can see trees and birds. From time to time a cat runs across the garage roof and he has a meltdown, but it doesn’t happen that often.


  4. Way to go! I always celebrate when I find a way to outsmart one of these guys. It happens so rarely, so it’s cause for a party!


  5. We have the same problem with our three reactive Miniature Pinschers. Currently, there is a sheet covering the living room windows! We have vertical blinds that the dogs can easily part to see through the windows, so we have tried many different things to try and block their view. Although I feel bad taking away their “window on the world”, I know it is not good for them to go over threshold when something exciting (dogs, kids, bicycles, skateboards, strange looking person, etc.) passes by our house. I try to give my dogs time at the window only when I am in the room to distract two with food and pick up and remove the third who wouldn’t care if I was waving filet mignon in her face. This system has been working pretty well, and is the most successful one thus far. In the past, I once used my dogs’ agility tunnel to block the window and came back in the room to find one of the dogs balancing on top of it to see out of the window!


    1. Weirdly, I’m afraid people from the HOA will notice it more than the black paper. The black really does just look like a dark reflection from the outside. Also, black paper was free!


  6. So I’ve covered up some front windows in our house because there’s one by the door and if someone knocks on the door and peers in, they can see me sitting in the living room. Which I dislike, because if I am not expecting someone, I often just don’t answer the door. I don’t want to be sold whatever it is, I don’t want to donate to your charity because I volunteer and donate already with ones I like and picked myself, and I don’t want to be converted to any religion. So I won’t answer the door. The number of flyers and pamphlets left behind has assured me I’ve never missed out on anything important by doing so. But I don’t like when strange faces are peering into my house. [/tales of a hermit]

    But I still wanted natural light. So I bought this:

    Perfect solution! Lets in light, obscures view, looks okay, not permanent, easy to apply!


    1. It is pretty! But obviously, you do not live with Silas. I just had to stick a magazine between our curtains (which fasten at the top and the bottom) and the blinds, because there is ONE broken slat in the blinds. This leaves a hole the size of a quarter, which Silas can stare intently out of. Poor little guy.

      Fortunately our black-paper windows are in a weird corner, so I don’t have to see it all the time. I’m definitely keeping the nice films in mind for when we own a house, or if he gets bad enough that we have to cover our French doors.


      1. Oh Silas! He’s definitely determined!
        And ohhh the concessions we make for our pets. I left a small part of the window uncovered at the bottom so the cats could still look out. lol. Opposite kind of concession, I suppose.


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