If you look closely, you can see how intent I am in this photo. There I am. Looking up at Him. That’s the way we Scotties are. Focused. I wanted that treat and I wanted it THEN. Not later. Not the next day. RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
See how I’m sitting patiently? Waiting? Could it be a low-fat animal cracker? (The kind she buys from Stauffer’s online? In the cute little plastic bear cookie jar?) Or could it be a Lean Treat? The ones my doctor calls “crack in a bag”? This stuff makes me crazy. I love it. And I’ll do almost anything to get it.
I’m really good at sitting. And staying. And coming when called. (It takes around three calls sometimes, but I do come when I’m called believe it or not.) I did really well in school a couple of years ago. Even though my teacher, Miss Kathy, told the humans in the class that we didn’t understand a word they ever said. We all shared a laugh bark under our breaths about that little joke. Miss Kathy is really smart. Believe me, she is. And I loved going to her school where She learned how to teach me things and how to practice skills with me, but, really, you have to know that we understand everything you say. We do. It’s just the game of life we canines live. Speak to us and we speak to you. It may not be audible, but we speak just the same. (More on this little communication game another time.)
It’s to our advantage that you don’t know what we’re thinking. Even though we know what you’re saying. How else would I have gotten out of the house the other night on nearly a full moon if I hadn’t stepped all over Their stomachs and walked around a little while? While They were sleeping. (What? Of course I sleep in the big bed! And They’re welcome to join me there every night, which They do.) They couldn’t figure out if I needed to “pee” or “poop” — Their words, not mine — or what. So, She finally took me outside. Notice I said, “took me” not “let me”. I got a free ride down the steps and out the back door. Success.
Back to the sitting. And the staying. When I was just a wee lad, around ten or eleven weeks old, He took me out in my new yard every day. There’s no fence in front and I even had free reign over this Kingdom, too. Wherever I wanted to go. He taught me that this was my yard and not to go any further. That sounded good to me. He showed me my boundaries. The curb. I was to stop there. We did this every day. Several times a day. For months. I knew that it was better to stay in my own kingdom than to run across the street after a squirrel. (That one’s hard, let me tell you.)
You know, there’s something about those really big metal things that go barreling down the street at high speeds that I just don’t trust. No matter how much I’d like to go after those wheels, I don’t think about it. Much. One, because I consider it gauche for a Scottie to chase cars when squirrels and chipmunks do just fine. Let those who slobber and clobber go after the big metal things. And two, because They have put the fear of Their God into me if I do. But lastly, I get a treat if I sit and stay at the curb. It’s that simple. I should carry a little sign, “will obey for praise”. I wish some of my distant cousins would learn this simple rule of life. “Obey and you will be rewarded.” Remember, we Scotties aren’t stupid. As much as we don’t like being told what to do, we’re not dumb.
See, since I understand every word, I like to hear praise. Trust me. It’s not just about the food thing. After all, since the world revolves around me, it’s sooo nice to be told how great I am.
What You Learned Today:
- Repetition is the key to teaching me things. Practice, practice, practice.
- Rewards can vary from food treats to verbal praise. Mix it up a bit, but do it consistently.
- Good behavior gets rewarded. At least in my world it does.
- I don’t like metal things on wheels. This includes scooters, motorcycles, trucks and bicycles.
- If you’re a human, just ignore a dog’s bad behavior and it’ll go away. Just like Miss Kathy says it will.
- I love chipmunks.