Imagine a 3×3 grid of nine squares. Our property is like the one in the middle. We our property doesn’t touch the street. (You walk down an alley to our house, in case you’re wondering). One long side of our property borders on a pre-school, but we can’t actually see any of the kids, the way the entrance and playground are set up. So all-in-all, things are pretty calm around here, especially evenings and weekends and especially during the summer holidays.
That calm has both benefits and disadvantages for the fear reactive dog.On the plus side, you don’t have people and dogs walking past his fence all the time, getting him all riled up. That has helped him learn how to be calm.
On the downside, if we don’t take him out frequently and expose him to the world’s chaos, his ability to remain calm in the face of other people, motion and noises declines.
We don’t seem to need to worry about it this summer though.
They’re re-roofing the school. This means all kinds of strange men up on the roof, making strange noises and even opening the dreaded door of the garage at the school. We’ve been really pleased with Spencer’s growing tolerance of their presence. He’s beginning to understand that it’s normal they’re there. (But then they do something they haven’t done before, and he barks.)
They’ve also planted things the length of the school wall that’s right near our fence. That means a gardener comes by a couple of times a week to water the plants. That’s tough for Spencer, because the guy is literally just a few feet from our property line. After a few weeks of me working to communicate my lack of concern on this subject, he is barking less intensely and for less time before I can persuade him to come into the house, but he’s still barking when the guy comes by.
Today, the neighbors had their tile roof cleaned by a guy using a high-pressure water jet. I was pretty proud of Spencer that I managed to make him understand that I was OK with the guy being there when he was cleaning the roof on our side this morning. When he moved around to the front of their house, I thought we were done being worried about this guy. I failed to take into account the fact that he would pop up at the end of every vertical stripe, walk along the peak of the roof, and move his ladder before disappearing again for a few minutes.
The guy seemed kind of amused by Spencer. Better that than him being startled and falling off the roof. Because he didn’t appear to be wearing any safety equipment, even when he was walking along the peak of the roof like a tightrope walker, balancing a heavy aluminum ladder. (Who says Europe is over-regulated?)
I had to snap these pictures quickly, because I was afraid the guy would think I was taking them to admire his physique. The ladies out there might understand what I’m saying when I say it was like have the 11.30 Diet Coke guy on the neighbor’s roof, including the fact that he stripped to the waist at some point and you can imagine the muscles needed to balance on that rooftop while carrying a ladder.