Yes, we did it again! We changed his routine!
This morning (Apr 9), everything worked as usual in that I gave him his food and then his rutabaga. Being a multi-tasker wherever possible, I was making myself a coffee and getting two slices of bread in the toaster while Ray was busy. He was soon standing in front of me lasering me with his Rotti eyes. As soon as he knew that he had my undivided attention, he went into his den and lay down. This is his routine for getting his biscuit (I just thought … how many dogs get a 3-course breakfast?).
I had the butter and ginger marmalade out, and was ready to start spreading, when Carol appeared. She was getting ready to take Ray outside for his “P and P” as I completed preparing my toast. Ray knows my toast routine so well and, of course, knows that I usually give him a small corner off each slice (now a 5-course breakfast?).
Not entirely surprisingly, Ray was not too enthusiastic about going outside, although he clearly had to! His trotting to the door, then back to the counter where my toast was laying, would suggest that the poor guy had conflicting priorities.
This is not the first time that Ray has had this decision to make and, as he always gets his toast corners, I was not expecting this morning to be a serious issue. It was now simply a matter of trusting that, as in the past, I will save him two corners from my toast!
Carol went outside and called him… but he was not going. He clearly preferred to pace around the kitchen table and look up at the counter top every time he passed it, so I went outside and called him out. He came out and, as soon as he started down our steps, I went back inside and watched from a window.
I saw him go charging around the garden at full speed and, without stopping, came back up the steps to the back door. I heard Carol call him back, and then I heard a very “clumsy” descent down our back steps, and once again witnessed him charging around the garden. This time however, he turned and somehow tripped because he went right down on his jaw. There was no damage done and he got himself organized and charged around some more before stopping for a very fast pee. Then it was another high speed dash to the back door!
This time he was not going to leave, but he still had to poop! I did however have a plan. I was going to go into my room and boot up the laptop, and leave my toast in the kitchen. It was hoped that he would see that I am doing something other than eating and perhaps trust that, once again, his pieces of toast would wait for him. It worked! He went outside; pooped; came back in, and then came to get me… at which time I started on my toast and saved him a corner from each slice!
Why didn’t I just give him his pieces of toast earlier? Simply because I did not want to encourage the thought that he could manipulate or demand his treats whenever it suited him. I would prefer him to learn that he can rely on his treats even if the routine changes a little. It seemed logical to me!