So… I had some yard work to do out front today. The weather is just gorgeous and I felt bad about leaving Mugen inside because it was super hot in the house and we haven’t done the first start of our A/C unit yet. Lucy was already firmly entrenched in her post-lunch, pre afternoon nap, nap.
So… I grabbed the long line and went out front.
We’re not allowed to have our front yards fenced here, so I checked around my big tree to make sure there was nothing for him to eat and to see how long the lead would go and then brought the pup and his bowl of water outside with me while I filled in the front flower bed with beauty bark.
I wasn’t sure how Mugen would do, tied out like this, but we’ve been working on tie outs for dog class. Mugen needs to let me walk away from him out of his sight and not freak out about it, but we’re not quite to that stage yet. All in all, Mugen did great. He laid in the shade next to his water bowl and watched me do my thing from ten feet away. He ignored other dogs when they came by. He was just awesome.
Then… down the street, I heard a noise. The street sweepers come by every spring to clear away the remaining pea gravel from winter grossness off the roads. I hadn’t known they were coming today.
Oddly, Mugen didn’t notice it first, I did. I’m very glad. As they got closer, I just casually got up and walked over to the line and put my hand on it as though it were any other day outside with the leash on. When the noise came, he freaked out. I have never seen him freak out like this. He tucked his tail between his legs and wedged himself between my feet and cried like a baby.
I stood there calmly and waited for the freak out to be over and then I snapped my fingers to get his attention. When his eyes locked on my face, we started doing some drills. Rapid fire sits, downs and stands.
This is what I do with Lucy whenever she gets scared. I call her, I have her sit. I have her down, and then I have her stand and then sit again and then I praise (never over the top, just a quick, “Good sit!”) and then she’s fine. I’m finding that she’s getting scared less and less.
So… when the second truck came by a few minutes later, I glanced over. Mugen was standing up, alert, but watching ME, not the truck. I had him sit and he sat on the grass and didn’t leave the spot while I finished my work. No whining. No crying. No tail tucking or freaking out.
Good boy Mugen. Good boy.