Another routine incident!

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!

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33 thoughts on “Another routine incident!

    • His face? Imagine big brown eyes looking at you from a face that says “Nobody loves me and I am hungry. Please share just a tiny piece of your food with me” …. and he is very good with that look!

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  1. Loved this, it reminds me of my parents dog – Briar… she’s a senior and she’s learned just what she needs to do to get her cookies throughout the years. It became such a problem that they had to cut out extra treats all together for a while. She would paw at the door just 15 minutes after going out because she thought she would get another treat, stare at the jar because she thought she deserved them, etc. The lengths they’ll go to to get a little something extra 😉

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  2. Smart thinking in how you handled it I say. It is great the patience you and Carol have with him. So who is easier to train, dogs or teens? LOL! Just had to ask it since I know you passed that stage, but I am in the thick of it.

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  3. I can understand your wanting to let Ray know that he can trust you….things will still be waiting for him when he comes back. Excellent way of showing him. I guess the same can be done with our treats and going outside….but Kali would probably eat my share. Mom loves ginger marmalade too.

    Shoko

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    • Hi Maria – I think that it is all about trust. From feeding to training to touching. If a dog owner does not develop that trust, then the dog will likely be a problem (although more accurately it is the owner that is the problem). For rescue dogs, who may well have had that trust betrayed in their history, I would suggest that it is even more important to work on it.

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  4. I love your posts but I’m never sure who is training who (isn’t that the way it always is?). Today your lesson came out on top. I have a similar routine with Hazel. I feed her and Morgan in the kitchen. Morgan get’s her food on top of a cabinet (as Hazel will eat it otherwise). Then I go to the gym. When I get back, Hazel will come out to finish off whatever Morgan didn’t eat. Today I forgot and grabbed my coffee to go to my computer and I felt the laser eyes. Yes, she got the leftovers. Laser eyes can penetrate the skin.

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    • The big problem with Ray (and the background to many Posts), is getting him away from thinking that he can demand attention. He is slowly learning that good things will happen without his prompting! He has come a long way….. but will probably always be a work in progress, and that’s fine with us! 🙂

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      • That’s it though, isn’t it, they do learn don’t they, and it doesn’t have to be with anger or punishment to get the desired result. It makes me so angry to see a dog cower when its owner turns on it. Ray is a credit to you as you are to him.

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        • “Old school” dog training methods are sadly still used. Our guidelines are two simple questions:
          Q1 – Do you want your dog to please you because he wants to.. or because he is frightened of the consequences if he doesn’t? The answer to us is obvious.
          Knowing that the mental ability of a dog is much the same as that of a 3 yr old child….
          Q2 – If you wouldn’t do it to a 3yr old child, should you be doing it to a dog?
          Those two questions can resolve so many training issues, but you can’t tell anybody who does not want to listen!

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          • Good points Colin. The trainer taking the course I attended said on ‘recall issues’ that a dog has to want to be with you, and praise/reward is the way to do it. Barney ran off in the New Forest once and would NOT come back. We were looking for him for over an hour, and eventually Hubby saw him, called him, and he came straight way. He couldn’t chastise him then for coming when called, though he wanted to throttle him for running awy in the first place! As it happened, it was a lesson well learnt for the dog, as he never went far from our sides again. That day we still don’t know who was more pleased (and relieved) to see who.

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            • I would suggest that you “guys” handled the New Forest incident very well. So often one sees a dog owner clearly annoyed and taking it out on the dog, not realizing that the dog is taking it all in! To have screamed at Barney at that time would have given him every reason not to respond to the call next time. Why would he? He might get screamed at again! Well done. 🙂

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              • We think so too. Dogs respond to ‘the now’, which is why I could never understand why owners got so mad at their dogs for accidents in the house when they had been out all day. The poor dog didn’t know what it had done to displease them. I remember taking Maggie out back as a pup and she didn’t do anything, but as soon as she came in, she looked Hubby square in the eye and squatted in front of the radiator! It was me who tapped her on the behind and scooped her up in mid flow. She never did it again, and even now is very positive in letting us know she wants to go out. Apart from the couple of times she has been poorly (only the top end), she has adapted very well to the boating life, and we in turn give her plenty of opportunity to do the business even if she hasn’t asked by taking her out for short walks regardless.

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