Melvin did great with the move. He is completely at ease in the new house and moves from sun filled spot to the next for nap after nap. He sleeps soundly all night. He does all of this while I am at home. When I leave, he is not as easy breezy.
When Melvin joined the family he was gated in an office while I was gone. Max had free roam of the house and they were not ready to be left alone together. When Max died I started working on letting Melvin have more freedom. I set up a video camera to see what he’d do when left with so much room to move. He sat for two hours straight staring at the door that I’d departed from. The door was windowless. He didn’t move a single muscle. So I worked with him, I’d leave for 15 seconds then come back. Then a minute, then five then thirty. Eventually, after about a week, he relaxed and we were good to go.
I did the same this past weekend at the new house. I thought I’d try him in the office that has french doors. I left Kong’s full of treats. He rammed the doors the moment they clicked closed and he was able to bounce them open. I tried again, left the laptop taping him and he just went from window to window and barked non-stop. Round two I clipped the curtains closed. This didn’t correct the barking. It continued for two days regardless of how long I left him. Since he was much more comfortable outside the office I decided to try giving him free roam. Video on – check, keys in hand – check, check. He sat at the door I departed from with the saddest face and waited for me. I’d drive around the block, there he was. I’d drive to the store and return, still there. It was a relaxed sit, but it made me feel guilty of murder. After SEVERAL trips to nowhere, he finally laid down. It had worked.
The next day I realized it was all in vain. He had settled down on a holiday weekend when no one was in town and the brand new neighborhood we live in was not overcome with dump trucks, drill noises and workman. Tuesday morning was if we’d never trained at all. So what did I do? I started over. Love is not always easy.