Sunday, June 6, 2010
Teaching an Old Dog
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I have to disagree. Well, sort of. Louis is almost six, does that qualify him as an 'old dog?' Well .....
Everyday, as I go about my tasks, Louis follows me, his tail slightly wagging. Watching me. His eager expression seems to say, "I can do that Mom!"
So I tried to train him to take a plastic bottle out of my hand and put it into the recycling bin. It took a lot of effort, and a lot of doggie treats, but Louis got the idea. The next step was to put the plastic bottle on the floor, and get Louis to pick it up and put it into the bin. After more effort, a lot of patience and a ton of doggie treats, Louis got the idea.
It's hard to tell who was more proud of Louis' accomplishment, Louis or me. The whole family was impressed.
What did I do??
Because when there weren't any bottles on the floor for Louis to put into the bin, he began to scan the side tables for them. Stealthily, he would come up to the bottle, for all the world like a great white approaching it's prey, and then, SNATCH! The bottle was his and on it's way to the recycling bin.
And often the bottle slopped out someone's drink on it's way to the recycling bin. I tried to discourage him, I reprimanded him, and I outright yelled "NO!" He would be momentarily halted, but any plastic bottles out of the recycling bin really bothered him. So he would lay quietly on the floor, looking at the bottle. If I caught his eye, he would downcast them, surreptitiously peeking up to see if I had gone back to reading or watching the tv. Then, soft click, click, click of my dog's nails as he was doing a dog tip toe, and SNATCH! The bottle was in the recycling bin. I gave up. We warned anyone who bought a beverage with them, to cap their drink in between sips.
And when there were no bottles around at all? Louis would go to the recycling bin, take a bottle out, dog flip it into the air, and chase after it to nab it, and put it back into the bin.
So, you tell me. Did I teach our old dog a new trick?