Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Socialization

After our trial we drove straight to the Poconos to see Dave's parents and aunt and uncle.  I was worried that Jonah might be a little grumpy after a stressful day, but he was wonderful.  He actually wagged to meet Dave's aunt and uncle and was quickly on his back asking for belly rubs.

We all went out to ice cream, and Jonah was mostly good on the walk there and back.  There were lots of people, a busy road and other dogs.  He was perfect with other dogs, good with cars (and motorcycles), but questionable with people.  While most of the time he walked by quietly, he barked at four different people.  I have a bit of a sense of what dogs will bother him at this point, but I can never tell with people.  He barked at three men and one little girl.  I'm guessing the girl looked at him and got excited, and we know that men make him more uncomfortable in general.  Dave really doesn't like it when he barks at people, as he was dog-shy as a kid and knows how scary it can be to have a strange dog bark at you.  It's a bit of a bind:  he won't get better if he doesn't meet people, but he can be rude when he does meet people.  On this trip there was a little more going on than ideal, and he was overstimulated.  We should try to keep him out of those situations, but again it's hard to know how many people will suddenly show up or what dogs will walk by or what kind of vehicles will be on the road.  We're making progress, but sometimes it's very slow.

Today Jonah got to take two runs out to the millpond and he enjoyed swimming both there and in the lake.  He got lots of cookies from my father-in-law, Burt, whom Jonah has always been somewhat shy of.  Jonah warmed up to him this weekend.  One of the highlights of the weekend was when Burt grabbed a handful of cookies and asked Jonah to sit.  Jonah sat and received a generous collection of cookies.  Burt asked for his paw, which Jonah obediently gave.  More cookies.  Then Burt looks over to Dave and asks, "What else can he do?"  As soon as the words are out of his mouth, Jonah drops into a down and starts wagging, staring expectantly up at Burt.  It was hysterical.  He got lots of cookies.

When we left, everyone commented on how well behaved and nice a dog he is.  I was proud.  I know I can be critical at times, but he really is a truly remarkable dog and we are so blessed that he graces us with his presence and asks so little in return.  

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