It just takes a long time.
It’ll be two years in August since Torso Boy came to stay with me. He was oh so very clearly a townie dog, and for the first year I was sure he’d never get off the leash. I think the rapidfire change of humans and locations after Mamaliberty died disoriented if not downright traumatized him. He had no useful survival habits at all, he didn’t trust me at all, and except for the part about sleeping all night and most of the day nothing that happens here seems to have had any similarity to how he used to spend his time – at all.
It took quite a while – like, a year – but he gradually came around.
Almost a year after that now – he’s still got me worried about snakes but other than that he’s no longer the suicidally independent little idiot he was when he arrived.
He can run and play during walkies, but never gets out of sight. If I seem to be falling behind he’ll stop and wait before turning that corner. The sole exception is when he gets a whiff of Dharma – when that happens, all bets are off. He hates all other male dogs but I suspect she might be the only female he ever met, caring not a bit that she’s not that into him. So when Landlady’s around, the leash goes on. I’ll be pleasantly shocked if he ever loses that particular bad habit.
He has discovered the sublime pleasures of the Jeep ride. I think he may have been one of those townie dogs who only associate cars with bad things – it took him quite a while to develop any interest in coming along with me when I disappeared in the Jeep. Now he has entered the Little Bear zone, thinking life really isn’t possible without two rides a day.
And he has a happy dance that seems specifically coded to get anything he wants out of an old hermit, so there’s that. He’s a sweetheart.