Autumn is truly upon us, and we have only a little bit longer before our first real snow.
Autumn always brings a sense of urgency that we'd better seize its short days before winter takes over.
For that reason, we've been getting out to enjoy it, and Hachi has been
going places where there are other people on the trails. That's a novelty for him because our home trails are empty.
Over the course of each outing, he's gotten slightly less afraid of strangers with repetition but it's sad to see how
scared he is. His head swivels from side to side hypervigilantly watching for incoming people. He might bark like a big tough dog when he sees a stranger but it's totally based
in fear. If we move him far enough away from a stranger, he can calm down. We do our engage/disengage game, where he looks at the stranger (the "engage" part) and then at us ("disengage") for a treat.
I am now completely convinced that his fear isn't being sufficiently treated by meds yet. The adjustments to his meds must happen so slowly that it's taking a long time to get where we need to be. I don't think that our behavior modification training will help much until he's less anxious.
The amazing thing is how fast he recovers from each episode of fear over seeing strangers. I took this photo of him shortly after two off-leash dogs had galloped straight up to us as Hachi and I wandered around well away from the trails (he was on-leash). It was undoubtedly scary for him but he calmed down pretty quickly.
He and I have a tradition of a sweet morning greeting. Hachi is so excited to see me when he comes out of his crate, wiggling his whole body up against me asking for pats. If I stop patting, he leans into me and wiggles again. It's such an uplifting way to start my day. I love our little guy.