Ray has very different relationships with the neighbors on each side of us.
On one side (our West side) he has always been very cautious about the man there. Perhaps he reminds Ray of somebody from his past. They did have an unpleasant confrontation during Ray’s early days with us (the full story is in his book).
On the other side of us (our East side) is a family of five, plus McKenzie, a Scottish Terrier. McKenzie pushes his nose through our fence periodically to get Ray’s attention and all seems amicable between them.
We have had many walks with Ray where we have turned East and passed their driveway. Sometime ago now, the two adults were outside chatting and Ray pulled us up their driveway to say hello. This has not been an uncommon experience as he not only seems very relaxed and happy with their attention, but of course he also often gets treats.
The other day started off much the same in that we turned East and crossed the end of their driveway. There was nobody around but we noticed that both their cars were there, so somebody was presumably at home. While we were just noticing the overall scene, Ray started pulling on his leash and he was clearly trying to go up their driveway.
He had never done that before when nobody was around and, as Carol had his leash, she asked “What should I do?” Given that we have a good relationship with these neighbors, I said let him go wherever he wants and let’s see what is on his mind. He pulled us up to the steps, which lead up and onto their front porch, and stopped. After a brief backwards glance, he then went up the steps. Carol kept the leash slack, and we followed him up to their front door whereupon he promptly sat down!
My curiosity got the better of me and I rang their door bell! The woman (who he really likes) opened the door and was clearly delighted to see that Ray had come for a visit. Mckenzie also came out onto the front porch and he and Ray said their “Hi’s!”
This went on for a few minutes, and then I noticed one the daughters just inside the house and a few feet from the door. Ray appeared to notice her at the same time and pulled his way through their front door opening, into their house, and proceeded to get another load of stroking and general shows of affection.
After probably five minutes or so, we gave Ray some treats, bid our farewell, and directed Ray towards the steps down to the driveway. He followed us quite willingly as we continued with his walk.
These kinds of experiences make us marvel at how far he has come in his social skills and comfort level in such situations. Is does however raise the question of whether we are going to have a problem in the future. He may decide that he wants to visit everybody, regardless of whether he knows them or not!