It’s Tuesday. Today I find out if my theory regarding Chris’s weird behavior is right.
Last Tuesday, when we visited this facility for our weekly therapy dog visit, Chris didn’t want to exit the car. His method of refusing is to assume a stiff sit position and stare.
There isn’t any head shaking, or cowering or other overt behavior. He just makes like a statue.
Otherwise, Chris reacts normally.
Today’s destination is the rear of the church. I pull in and park under the tree. It’s a beautiful October 10, 2017, at ten minutes to one in the afternoon. Our appointment is for one o’clock.
I open the back door, and both Bernie and Chris jump out and go about doing what they always do.
Great. Normal behavior from Chris.
My theory is… because I didn’t come to this tree and let them out last week… I thought Chris had reverted to his past behavior.
At that time, he was required to stay in the car while I took Bernie into the facility.
When it comes to my understanding dog behavior, I am not the sharpest tool in the box. I read dog behavior books. I observe Bernie and Chris. I think I do all the right things.
Apparently, this is one of those times.
Bernie and Chris run around and sniff and do their normal dog activity. I pick up their poop. I open the back door, and they both leap back into the car.
I drive around to the front of the church and park. I get out, pull open the back door and… just to be safe… I usually don’t have to tell them to get out…
Bernie leaps out and runs across the short distance and waits at the front door.
Chris stares at me, in his stiff sitting position.
Well, that didn’t work.
I’m stumped. I am disappointed.
I’m not sure what I say next, but within ten seconds, Chris reluctantly jumps out of the car and immediately sits next to me.
I turn and start walking, but turn back to make sure he is following me. He isn’t.
This time he doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t leap forward, but he comes and continues to walk by my side the rest of the way to the door.
Meanwhile, Bernie takes advantage of the opportunity to sneak inside. I intend to leash Bernie at the door. Unfortunately, some person inside the door opens it. Zip. Bernie is inside.
Oh well. Chris and I arrive at the door, go through, and I look for Bernie. I find him and leash him. Chris is unleashed, glued to my side.
Within a few minutes, Chris leaves my side. As we pass people sitting in chairs, they start petting him. Bernie is also petted.
I greet folks and share my dilemma. My theory was wrong.
I remind them how Chris acted last week. Today the same situation continues to exist.
No one has any suggestions.
For the rest of the hour, we chat, and both dogs wander. They get petted and talked to and loved. Both Bernie and Chris enjoy the attention.
And I wonder how Chris will behave next week when we come. Will he continue his reluctance to exit the car? What else can I do?