My dog Max is terrified of garbage trucks. No matter what I do — talk soothingly, give him his favorite treats, put him in another room of the house — he acts as though the Evil Death Star has come to suck him into its atmosphere.
I got a book about calming dogs' fears, and one of the things it mentions is yawning. Seriously. Dogs yawn sometimes when they are trying to calm themselves, so the books suggests that we humans yawn when our dogs are nervous. This is supposed to show the dog there's nothing to worry about.
I've tried doing this when the garbage truck comes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I walk casually into the room yawning, trying to be subtle. "I don't know why I'm so tired, but it sure feels good to yawn. Why don't you try it, Max?" But he looks at me and bolts from the room. I follow him yawning, and since it's early in the morning, yawning comes naturally to me. However, have you noticed that the more yawning you do, the more tired you become? So by 7AM, I'm ready to go back to bed while Max is shaking at the top of the stairs, hoping the garbage truck can't find him. I sit on the stairs with Max and move into deep yawning, stretching out my legs and my arms. He looks at me like I'm crazy.
The garbage truck is backing up now, brakes screeching, and Max tears downstairs to sit in the shower stall. Yes, that's what I said. I go to the window and watch the garbage guys hurl my trash can half way down the street, then they roar off to terrorize more dogs in Brooklyn. So I go to work on my novel and I hit this confusing part in the story. I'm not sure what my character should do. I sit there, yawning a little, stretching, and then it becomes clear what my character needs — a dog.