It’s OK to Troll Your Dog, or How to Adjust Training When it is a Little Off
We all live with little recorders, we who have dogs. I suspect cats are the same way but my allergies have not gone away to the point where I could consider staying in a house with one let alone letting one into my life.
Over the 40,000 years, give or take a few, that we have lived with what descended from Wolves, we have co-evolved.
They learned that if they keep these weird bipeds around, they will get food for them, provide shelter and security, and perhaps even help make their lives easier.
Being intelligent and social animals, what eventually became Dog learned. They learned how to live with human’s quirks and figured out how to read us. There are many stories of how dogs know what you’re doing before you even do.
Trust In Dog, this is my story.
You see, I’ve learned how to troll my dog.
Anyone who has a herding dog understands that you have to give them opportunity to exercise. Both mind and body being worked leads to a happy dog. In my own case, my own happiest times were when I was working out for Inline Skating. My schedule was five days of weightlifting plus 100 miles of skating per week in peak season. My dogs couldn’t keep up with that so I also had to walk them three times a day.
While you’re out, your dog is watching what is going on. Taking it all in. Being a recorder of what is going on and how you react to it.
Life is a bit more settled here, I’m not quite so active, and I have a fairly rigid schedule. I’m up early, sometimes as early as 4:30 in the morning. I walk Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM), out into the heart of Wilton Manors and pass by City Hall about the same time daily. I know when the shift change is happening for the police, and when the Fort Lauderdale Police are speeding down Wilton Drive every morning to get their donuts at the Courtyard Cafe.
Seriously. Donuts. Literally.
When I get home, there are more “scheduled activities”. Rack gets fed. I get my coffee.
Rack watches. I go through my own machinations waiting for sunrise. I simply didn’t realize that I was training him for that.
Between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, my drip feed irrigation gets turned on by computer. The orchids get watered, hibiscus cuttings are being rooted, and my flower pots are getting a thorough drink. Somewhere around half way through, I tend to go outside. Drip Feed Irrigation works with small sprinklers and small sprinkler heads and they all get clogged up fast. I have to go out to clear them all.
To go outside, I take the wireless keyboard off my lap, set it on the table, pick myself up and… DOG.
I put two and two together. The next day I would test my theory.
It was right about sunrise that morning. I was sitting in my low Poang chair and moved my feet close to my body against the tile floor.
I heard trotting to the back door. Rack thought it was his time.
I simply sat there. Was looking at a news article on the BBC news that moment. Rack got bored at the back door and went back to the corner.
*SCRAPE* my soles said to the floor.
Rack ran to the back door again. “Got bored, did you?” as he trotted back to the corner.
This time, as Rack trotted past, he looked over at me. I was having aspersions cast at me. Yes, my dog was giving me Shade. I had attitude being given. My left lip curled in a half smile.
I waited until he sat down, gave him a couple minutes.
*SCRAPE*. This time, not so fast. He walked over and I felt his whiskers brush against my left arm.
“What’s a matter boy? What do you want?”
On the word “want” he was over at the back door. “You’re early!”
He went back to the corner. I gave him a couple minutes.
In time, I moved my hand. The keyboard creaked a little. Plastic on plastic. Rack ran to the back door.
“You’re early!” I said in a sing song voice.
I did take it easy on him and followed through. I did take a mental note, keyboard works too. I always put that on the table when I get up out of my little chair.
We went outside and he watered the big palm.
The next day was the same. The Scraping of my feet against the floor was less of a trigger though. I started out with the keyboard instead and he was back at me. This time it was nose under my arm and two brown eyes boring holes into my soul.
“Rack, I’m not ready yet” Forgetting that “Ready” is a trigger for him as well. I caved early and took him out.
What I was up to was trying to reeducate my dog. Certain breeds of Dog like the McNab and other top ten intelligent breeds really should be looked at as a “Peer”. A sentient being with a different kind of and different level of intelligence, but intelligence none the less.
Rack is an extremely intelligent dog. He learned that scraping of the shoes on the floor or the creaking of the keyboard means Out. He learned by my telling him he’s being early that he wasn’t going to get that ice cube I use to cool down my coffee.
He also learned that the second mug of coffee was when he gets ice cubes. You don’t want to give a dog as many ice cubes as they will eat since they will wear down their teeth or even break one. I’m only giving him one a day. If he gets one off the floor, that’s a different story.
So this particular morning, I see a smiling black and white face looking at me from around the corner.
“Rack, you’re early!” I had my pretzel roll in the toaster, eggs in the microwave, the water hadn’t even been boiled for the coffee. That sent him back but I knew he was listening. I had to blunt this particular sharp edged dog. Begging for food and treats is not something he is known to do but he does understand that I am a soft touch, especially for his prized unsalted hard pretzels.
The microwave beeped. “Rack, you’re early” as he looked in at me again. Hard to resist that smiling face but I had to. Time to get schooled!
The Tea Kettle whistled, and got poured into the iced tea glass, coffee mug, and the herbal iced tea in the decanter for later. “Rack, really you are early!” sent him back to the corner.
I decided I would see how close he was listening. My egg,cheese, and onion on a pretzel roll sandwich was partly consumed as Rack decided to check things out again. I didn’t particularly expect that but I never feed him in the kitchen. He was still waiting on that ice cube.
When I finished breakfast up I realized he wasn’t coming back out. I was washing dishes, clearing and drying the counter, and then opened the freezer. Very carefully, quietly, I reached into the ice bin. He didn’t hear it. I was able to get five cubes for the coffee and go on my way.
He never got his cube that morning.
So moral of the day is that if you think you are being watched… you are!
In other words, you aren’t paranoid if they’re actually watching you!