If It’s Summer …
If it’s summer … it must mean that Lilly suddenly is terrified to come inside, but only in the evening. How many years now has this pattern emerged? Five, six years?
Saturday, May 22, marks the first day this spring/summer season that Lilly suddenly acts like coming inside is the worst, most tortuous, and scary thing imaginable. And, me? I go from Terrific to Terrifying.
I hadn’t given it much thought, honestly. I called for Lilly to come inside, but she didn’t.
Usually that means, she is “busy” doing something else, so I walked outside and around the east end of the house to see what she was doing.
I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t impatient. I didn’t say a single word, and yet … there she was in the tall grass near the dog pen, writhing around like a worm. (The behavior is actually called “worming.”)
Lilly tucked her ears back. Her pupils were huge, and she squirmed and squirmed around, as I approached. (Maybe some day I’ll get some video of it.)
Ah, summertime … when Lilly freaks out.
I reached out to hold her collar so that she couldn’t worm her way down the hill, and she screamed. Outright, full-on screamed.
I did eventually get her inside that night, but I put the summer rules in place. Lilly can no longer go outside (except to the dog pen to potty) after dinner because getting her back inside is a beast.
My latest trick, when one of us forgot and let her out, involved walking with purpose toward the street with a leash in my hand … as if we were going for a walk.
I’ve only had to do it once so far, but it worked. I lassoed her and turned back toward the house, giving treats along the way inside the door.
Bets on if it’ll work a second time, if necessary?
Mayor of Stumped City
We’ve talked at length with our dog trainer and our behaviorist about this seasonal, recurring problem. No one can figure it out.
It’s entirely possible that Lilly just REALLY likes being outside in the summer, but I suspect it’s more than that.
And, if you’re thinking, “Just leave her outside,” I’ll only remind you that we live in a predator-heavy area. So, that’s not a safe option.