Monday, August 20, 2012

Am I The Only Dog Parent Who...

Am I the only dog parent who expects a higher understanding of action/consequence than is possible from her dogs? One who totally understands they're probably not going to get what I'm trying to lay out for them but doesn't care?

Let me set the scene.

I had chopped up some zucchini from my garden-with-a-squash-problem and realized, though I do love me some beer battered fried zucchini, that 2 whole large zucchinis' worth was probably a bit too much for me and the Hubster.

So I chop 'em up further for an impromptu, let's practice 3-dogs-taking-turns-with-commands training session.  I zucchini'd each of them for sitting in turn.  Then I zucchini'd Sadie for a high five (Hurley & Maggie also offered one up).  Then Hurley (got another high five offered from Sadie & Maggie - 3 dog training is going so well).  By the time it was Maggie's turn, she was pretty excited and her high five knocked half of the zucchini from my hand.

Hurley & Maggie hoovered the floor.  Sadie just maintained her sit & looked at me for permission (I had been telling the two who weren't supposed to be high five'ing to stay).  That's my girl!  So I slowly fed her every remaining zucchini in my hand as Hurley and Maggie watched. She got about twice as many the other two stole from the floor.  I actually said to them "Look at Sadie getting all the rest of the treats because she's good."  I did not add "neener, neener, neener" and for that I am proud. 

Am I the only dog parent who does this?   While it was powerful for Sadie as she was amply rewarded for her behavior, Maggie & Hurley were also rewarded by the food they scarfed up.  Probably more rewarded than they felt punished by not getting the rest of the zucchini.  I mean, it is only zucchini after all.  I don't think Hurley even drooled over it.

Am I the only pet parent who does this?  In the moment, my sole (and snarky) purpose to teach Maggie & Hurley a lesson but it was Sadie who got the most out of it (unintentionally).

I really hope they learned their lesson. Seriously.

And this girl?





She's Awesome!


9 comments:

  1. Haha, I think your response is entirely natural! I'm having trouble getting past the fact that you can get your dogs to work for zucchini, though :)

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    1. So long as it's food, they are all over it. There have been a few things I tried that they spit out - leafy vegetables are a no-no and Sadie's the only one who'll eat asparagus ends.

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  2. Actually I find it hard to resist a good neener neener in these situations. For which I am not proud.

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    1. Full confession: I stick my tongue out at my dogs all the time.

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  3. Silas is smart, but not border-collie smart. It was a constant refrain between my husband and I as we tried to get through the puppy months: "He's a dog. He does not have a complex understanding of cause and effect." We just kept expecting him to understand one more behavior in a chain than he could.

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  4. I do it too, but sadly I don't think Delilah gets it. :-(

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  5. I have a Jack Russell and I'm sure she understands every thing I say to her. Whether she actually listens to me is another issue, but I know she understands me. ;)

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  6. There are a few things about which I'm unwilling to form opinions: Does God exist? Are there such things as ghosts? Do the parents on Toddlers in Tiaras have souls?

    Although everything I know about higher brain function tells me dogs can't understand everything I do, I've seen amazing results from just leveling with them. And even when they don't understand our language, they have an amazing understanding of body language and intent.

    I bet your neener moment got through loud and clear. :)

    Oh, and yay Sadie. And if you ever perfect that tandem training thing, let us know.

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  7. Ha! I am sure we do stuff like this though I'm not sure. The girls are notorious beggers and Hades tends to hang back so when I decide to dole out a scrap, like everyone's favorite, cheese, I always give Hades the biggest piece. As if anyone realizes that!

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