Our Dog Has Trained Us Well

Leaf

Leaf

Okay, we have a question for you folks who love to train dogs – Who does the training, the dog or the person or both?

We ask, because our cocker spaniel Leaf, smart little adolescent boy that he is, seems to be training us and everyone else as much or more than we’re training him.

Example: At doggie day care this week, we hear that Leaf scratches with his mighty paw on the gates to let the staff know whether he wants to play with the big or the little dogs. They come running to fulfill his request.

Example: We use our trainer’s suggestion for how to get Leaf to stop trying to lick dirty dishes in the dishwasher when the door is opened. We say, “Leave it.” When he stops, we’re to give him a treat and say, “Take it.” Get the picture? He’s trained us to give him treats by licking the plate or threatening to do so in hopes that we’ll say, “Leave it” followed by “Take it.”

Example: Leaf loves to beg at the table when we eat. Rather than hassle with him at every meal, we put the gate up between the hallway and dining room. He’s trained us to give him a kong that occupies his little mind and focus while we eat in peace.

Example: Leaf has trained us to give him a treat so that he doesn’t go into overprotective mode when an invited guest comes into the house. The guest gets trained, too, to offer him a treat.

So you tell us, who is training whom?

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