I know I promised to bring the camera today, but I forgot. Sorry!
I loaded the boys into the Sprint today and we drove to meet a pet sitting client. She's been a member of the dog group for years, but she quit competing right around the time I moved here, so we'd never really met. She needs someone to look after her two dogs, and I need work, so we both win!
The hope is that I'll be able to bring the boys with me when I house sit at the end of May for her, so that's why they came along. I left West on his car-control strap, with his thundershirt and calming cap on while I went inside. Archie was crated.
When I came back out, he was just chilling, lying on the passenger seat. He did not appear worried at all!! I took Archie to the backyard, then came back and got West. I just used Archie's marti-lead (thanks to Premier for custom making that one!), so I was extra careful to make sure West was well under threshold. He walked with me beautifully and when I opened the yard gate, he WENT IN AHEAD OF ME. I'm fairly certain he hasn't ever crossed a new/unfamiliar threshold ahead of me before.
I let him off, shut the gate tight (6' privacy fence for the win!) and opened the door to let the two resident dogs into the yard. The owner of the dogs agreed to watch from inside, so as to not intimidate West. The young havanese immediately started a game with West, and he was more than willing to play! Even Archie joined in a bit! West was coping very very well, so after about 10 minutes, I invited the owner outside (into her own yard..) to see how he did. West noticed her, but kept playing. We sat outside for almost an hour, with West mostly playing, Archie eventually being removed and returned to the car, and overall great fun. West actually approached the owner totally of his own accord in a very friendly and almost confident way! He did VERY well.
The neighbour's dog was barking at us a good part of this time, and at one point, the neighbour male came out and shouted a few commands and some "no"s at the dog. West was a bit worried by this, but didn't bark and just approached me for reassurance. He was able to return to dog play almost immediately! Fantastic bounce back!
Eventually, we had to call it quits, so I put West back in the car (with thundershirt and calming cap in place) on his strap. I went to meet the neighbour, and when I returned to the car, West was almost totally relaxed, sprawled across both seats. I had to shove him over to sit down! Normally, he leaps up as soon as he hears me.
After we got home, I played with Archie out in the yard for a bit, then went in. I brought Archie in, let him get a drink, then put him away and opened the door for West.. who bounded in, covered HEAD TO TOE IN MUD! Sigh. I guess he went down to the creek for.. a roll? Jeez. His thundershirt and harness both need a wash!
All in all, a very very good day.
Look how CLEAN everything is!! Sigh. Spring, I love you, but.. mud?!