Friday, April 10, 2015

Teaching The Dog To Beg For More Breakfast

"He knows who to go to, you're the soft touch in this house!"

Yes, I am.  Everyone in this house begs food from me.

Oscar, my orange wing parrot, knows that if he says "Hello?" enough, I'll probably cave and give him a sample.  Mango Season is starting, the neighbor's Hagen Mango tree is beginning to drop fruit.  They gave me permission years back to hit the tree for my Mango Needs.  It helps the people who live there because nobody wants a two pound fruit falling from 30 feet up smacking into their car.

It will leave a dent.

I must eat about 200 pounds of Mangos each year.   Strictly speaking I also pass them out to friends I know who enjoy them, and I make jelly which uses up a lot of them.   Mango puree with a bit of lemon is wonderful to bake chicken in, and the puree itself is tasty.  Recipes use up a lot of Mango in sauces.

Oscar knows that and he starts chattering, and moving to the end of the cage nearest me when he sees me making up my breakfast bowl of Mango Chunks and Yogurt.

I really should just add that to the blender and make a Mango Lassi, but this is easier.

What shouldn't have surprised me was when Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM), began to beg for it as well.

I was having a bit of an Indian themed breakfast that morning.  A bowl of cereal was long forgotten as I grabbed the egg, mayo, and Curry Powder from the fridge.  Making a Curried Egg Salad Sandwich was easy, mash it all up in the cereal bowl, spread on the toasted English Muffin, and enjoy.  Just a dusting of Curry Powder on top.

Rack was there, boring holes into me with twin brown laser beamed eyes.

*Sigh* Rack, at least wait for me to get the stuff finished before you glue yourself to my side.

The toaster announced it was finished with a thump and I made my sandwich.  Surprisingly good this morning.  Time to add mayo to the shopping list.

That left me with a bit of curried egg at the bottom of the bowl.  I could rinse that out in the sink...

Nope.  Ok, Boy, here you go!

He proceeded to try to lick the white off the glass.

Some dogs are truly aggressive with begging.  Pawing your leg or arm.  Barking incessantly like Oscar and his "Hello" routine.  Other behaviors which are truly unacceptable.

Rack is like Lettie was.  Sit down nearby, in sight, and stare holes through you.  If he hears the dreaded "Not For Dogs!" he heads out to the other room, mopes, and stares from a distance.  I guess that's the McNab Dog Way.

Otherwise, when I finish, I tend to leave a little morsel in the bottom of the bowl for him.  I do this because his stomach was quite unsettled when he was a puppy.  When we got him, he was severely underweight due to worms, stress, and the trauma of being an Owner-Surrender.  He simply would eat only under certain conditions, and certain foods only.

If I ever met the guy who had Rack before, trust me, I'd have a "conversation" with that man.

Two courses are done.  Final course.  This was what got Oscar talking at me.  You simply can not out-shout a parrot.  No way, No how.

I began to slice some mango chunks into the orange bowl.  Rack came back sniffing.  The first time I gave him a mango chunk he walked away, I thought I was safe.

That mango was a bit under ripe.  A little sour, a little on the Yellow side instead of the bright orange I was hoping for.  I sliced the flesh away from the skin with the butter knife and piped up:  "Oscar?  Mango?".


When he learns how to say Mango, I am truly in trouble!

Rack feigned studied indifference.  I padded across to the living room, dropped a mango skin with a bit of sweet and sour yellow Mango flesh still attached.  May as well give him the bits I don't like.  He will work on that fruit, skin and all, through the day.  I gave him something to keep him busy.

All the gloves were off right about now.  Rack realized I was giving Oscar Mango so he wanted some too.  I heard a deep humming and realized that Rack was glowing with antici... pation!

I filled the bowl with 8 ounces of mango chunks, and 1/2 cup of plain homemade yogurt.  Lost in my own sweet reverie I was wondering if there were any more trees around ready for the picking.  It's still on the early side but have Mango Pole, Will Travel.

Rack didn't care.  Laser Beams were boring a hole through my mind saying "Feed Me, Seymour!".

I was in trouble.  "Let me finish my breakfast, will you?".

Rack doesn't like being told no, so he did his avoidance act.  Looked away just enough that I was in the corner of the eye.

I laughed at the pitiful display as I finished all but the last couple spoons of yogurt and one small bit of yellow mango.

"Here you go, Rack, Two treats today!"  I dropped the orange bowl on top of the curried egg bowl earlier.  You'd think he was starving with the gusto he tore into the yogurt.

I finished making up my coffee, quietly, as Rack tried to lick the orange off the plastic bowl.

The thing with him is the Social Aspect Of Feeding.  He's a weak beta dog.  Rack will eat only when asked, and invited.  If he's eating, he's very easy to disturb.  However if I am eating, being the pack leader, he will power through the meal and make it a point to finish.  After all, he's used to me giving him that last bit of food when I finish my meal.

I'm making a good approximation for how a pack of dogs, or even wolves, eat in the wild.  The Alphas eat first, the Betas get the leftovers.  I'm speaking dog.

He understands.  Finishing the last bit of yogurt, I lift the two bowls from the top of his purple food bowl.  "I've got to rinse these for the dishwasher, boy."

I turn to my work and he proceeds to try to taste the purple to see if purple plastic tastes different from orange plastic.

All in all it's a good day to be a pet.

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