The girls and Decker got to come with my husband and I to my dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner.  This year, unlike most other years, we had a only a small group for dinner.  This year it was just as well for Decker's sake, since he is uncomfortable in large crowds.  

I had to feed my neighbor's animals for her before we left for dinner, so we arrived a little late, but just in time for the yummy food.  Smells were in the air when we went inside the house, and the dogs could tell every ingredient that was used in the preparation of the feast.  

Everyone was happy to see each other, and even the dogs were happy to see my dad's dog, Stuey.  Stuey is a senior Australian shepherd, and it is getting harder and harder for him to move around.  But his nose is in tiptop shape.  He was beside himself with the meal being served, and was right beside the table, in case anyone wanted to give this pleasantly plump pooch a tasty handout!

My three dogs, on the other hand, live a more rigid and structured existence.  They are not allowed to be in the kitchen when we are eating or I am fixing meals.  I can't stand having them underfoot.  So I made the dogs stay in the living room, and out of the kitchen and dining room.  Kate kept on sneaking into the kitchen to vacuum (one of her favorite jobs), and I repeatedly told her to get out.  I guess at almost six years old, one thinks that they can take liberties like sneaking and that all of the rules don't apply to them.  

Tam and Decker were pretty well behaved all night with one exception.  Upon arrival, I had let the dogs out of the truck and we were visiting with my dad outside.  Jessy, my step niece came outside and Decker let out a growl.  He promptly received a verbal correction, and Jessy went back into the house.  

Decker has acted like this several times, when startled like he was.  Sure, he didn't know her, but she came outside when his back was turned.  He will need desensitization in being startled, since he tends to over-react.  When I came into the house, I told Jessy to ignore the dog, and don't try to pet him unless he comes to her.  She took direction well, and later in the evening, he warmed up to her and allowed petting.

The night was fairly relaxing for me as I only had to ride Kate for sneaking around, but the other two dogs were fine examples of dogs in control.  Good nights like that, are good examples for Decker to remember, and will hopefully help him achieve and maintain balance in all circumstances of his life.

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