A turn of the head

Batting her eyelashes at Luke saying "you know you want to chase me for this ball."

Dogs are smart, in fact they are far smarter than we humans give them credit for.  They are sneaky smart and depending on the dog; crazy unbelievably smart.  "I was just gone a second," "I just turned around and.........."  I hear these sort of statements all the time and explain why in the blink of an eye a great dog can become a very naughty dog.  As I said they are amazingly smart, so smart that they can be constantly watching you and make it look like they are not.  I can barely move about my house without both Elsa and Luke knowing.  Of course as Tilley and Jessie got on in years and lost their hearing I could sneak out of a room without them knowing but if their hearing is good then they are watching like a hawk.

When I watch my own two (wow, two sounds weird to me) playing I get a glimpse of the intelligence that I deal with.  Elsa loves absolutely nothing more than to be chased; she will grab a ball and torment Luke until he gives in and goes after her.  If Luke happens to get the ball and try to keep it then Miss Elsa kicks into her "smarts" routine.  She knows perfectly well that if Luke keeps the ball the game is over.  She bats her eyelashes and pushes her body on his, wrapping that long tail of hers around him.  She sits on his head until he gets really mad and starts to growl; then she licks his mouth, teeth and tonsils until he is thinking she is pretty darned cute.  All the while I can see her looking at the ball during this whole routine.  As soon as he is bit by the "cute" bug she goes for the ball and runs off with it to start the game all over again.  He sits looking at her like he can't believe she got him again.

Many counter surfers do just this; they look like they are ignoring that roast on the counter edge.  You have a false sense of "they would never," thinking not your dog.  Meanwhile your dog has seen the roast and is plotting it's demise; they are watching and waiting for your departure.  All they need is a split second; a moment of attention loss and they are on it.  "I literally left the kitchen for one second."  That's all they need; they had the whole plan of action played out in their head and all they were waiting for is your part in it.

I will often have food on counters or tables when I'm in the room, I make a lot of food both for humans and dogs.  The other day I was leaving the kitchen for a moment and got a glimpse of breakfast dishes on the table; I stopped and thought for a moment.  Hmmmmmm..............if I leave them  there and Elsa jumps up and gets them then I will have a behavior to then get rid of.  Nope.  I picked up the dishes and put them in the dishwasher before walking out to get what I needed.

Just yesterday I was going out to the gym; I contemplated leaving the dogs in the kitchen for the first time.  They have been in there when I have to go outside and pick up but not for a 45 min. stretch.  Elsa is always in her ex-pen if I go out, it keeps her safe and ensures that I still adore her when I get home.  So I thought "is it time?  Should I give it a try?"  But then I thought better of the idea; she is only 6 months old and there is a great deal of "stuff" to get into in the kitchen.  I will try in a couple of months; for now the best option was to avoid a problem behavior.

When  a dog gets something that they want but are not allowed to have it is because we allowed it to happen. Once they start this behavior then they are watching more closely for your split second lack of attention.  Each and every time that they do get something they are rewarding their own bad behavior; fueling a behavior that will most certainly grow.  So when you consider "I'm just going to run upstairs for a second," think twice.  Scan the room, what are they going to go for?  If you have any doubts at all bring them with you upstairs; it most definitely beats undoing a bad thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love to hear from you.