We just got caught out by Ray’s routines yet again. I cannot decide whether to work with his routines for his peace of mind, or whether to deliberately change them around a bit in order to get him used to some variables in his life. I am leaning towards the latter idea but, in the meantime, he is keeping us on our toes!
Ray typically gets his long walk in the afternoon. We leave generally around mid-afternoon and, as we work our way back home, we give Ray the “Mailbox buddy” instruction and he proceeds to take us there. The mail box run is significant to Ray because he gets a treat for getting us there and another one just before we leave. Try leaving the mailbox without giving him his second treat and you have a large dog sitting on the sidewalk with legs braced to resist any attempt at moving him!
Earlier this week, Carol had an appointment in the afternoon so we took Ray for his walk around 1:00pm. He showed no signs of objecting to this change of timing and quite happily followed instructions (“To the bank Ray!”). Of course he used his charm to get a really good size biscuit from the teller lady, and enjoyed the attention (he has always warmed up to women much faster than to men). The rest of the walk was quite uneventful and so, knowing that we were much too early for the mail, we worked our way back home.
As Carol was starting to get ready to leave for her appointment, Ray was his usual restless self. He knows our routines so putting on shoes, or getting a coat from the closet is always recognized by him that something is happening and, if it is not a walk-time, then it is clearly a cause for concern. Once he realizes that one of us is staying he settles down and seems resigned to the “pack” splitting up yet again!
This time was different however. While Carol was getting ready, Ray was standing facing the front door! When he gets into a stand and stare position, it usually means that he wants to go in that direction but he rarely goes through the front door! We watched him for a few moments trying to work out what he was trying to tell us. The timing was not right to leash him up and let him out so we could follow him, as who knows where we could have ended up.
Then the proverbial light went on! In Ray’s mind, we had some unfinished business. He had been on his walk but we had not gone to the mailbox, so he had not had his treats! Carol was back from her appointment earlier than expected so we had time (before dinner) to do the mailbox run. Ray was so happy to know that all was, once again, well with his world!