Wednesday, September 14, 2022

How Do Dogs Learn This Stuff Or A Self Taught Dog Genius Has Learned Me

Picture it.
South Florida. 5 AM. Almost every morning.

I have a routine.  I just don’t know how I’ve been manipulated this way.  I will say that as far as “bad habits” go, this is a pleasant one.

You see, I have a pattern of things and in order to get my things done, I have to do his things.

His is Rack.  My McNab SuperDog(TM).  Oh I’m fine with it but he’s learned these behaviors so well that I didn’t realize how much he twisted me around his little white paws until I went on a drive.

I don’t drive often, it’s probably for the best.  When I do, it’s rarely very far.  Out to the park frequently so I’m the little old dude from Pasadena.  In the Jeep Wrangler.  

This particular day I had to go far.  “OTP” it used to be called.  Over The Turnpike.  It’s slang here for West Side Of The County.  West of 95.  Not somewhere I usually go.

My inline skates need a new liner and I thought I would go look in a shop for a new pair.  They didn’t have what I am looking for and since I am a VERY high end inline skater, I have to think twice about what I do.

This trip OTP gave me an excuse to think about things.  In this case about what I have to do to do my workouts.

I open my eyes at 5AM.  Pull the earplugs out of my ears and in the gloom I notice that I am being wagged at.  Even in the dark I know I have to pet Mr Dog.  He always is on the little mat that I keep by the bed, rolled on his back, wagging his tail, he is expecting tummy rubs.  Always gets 100 rubs plus about 10 or 20 pets on the head.  

I’m a soft touch.  But he knows if he has to use the back yard tree, to say something.  A wee little whine is enough.  Not today, I can go about my own paces and come back into the bedroom.

Now, being an athlete that works out every day of the year, I watch my weight.  Down to the fraction of a pound on the digital scale.  Rack has figured that out and expects that he will be weighed too.  I was putting on my cargo shorts and looked down and he was sitting on my toes, staring up, with one of his feet on the scale.  As if to say My Turn.

He is underweight and I need to watch that closely.  I’m fine, according to Scale and Trainer.  

He’s teaching himself to get on the scale so he stands up and puts weight on the one foot.  Scale turns on and I lift his remaining feet.  “38.4 Pounds, we have to watch that!”.

Next he walks to the kitchen and stands by the sink.  I get the food out and over-feed him to help him make weight.  It’s a long haul but someone has to do it.

When the food comes out of the microwave, he walks over to the mat where I put the food down and waits.  

He knows the routine.  Since this is a Bike day, I prep my coffee while he eats, get the light, pepper spray, leatherman’s tool, and 3 “dog bags” for the walk.

He finishes, walks to the door and looks back.

Next thing he’s figured out “Time to get dressed!”.  Collar is easy.  He then stands up to put his head in the harness.  Without asking he puts on the harness.  Foot flies through the air into the chest strap.  Tail wags, looks back.  I snap the harness closed and we step on the porch.

The thing is that all these behaviors were self taught.  When I tell people that My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student, I mean it.

I go for a drive, could not find any of the parts I was looking for and come home.  While we go through the food thing again, he gets three meals just like I do, he hears something he doesn’t like.  “Go Look!.” as he walks to the front door and surveys the damage.  Why bark when you can just look?

I had a siesta today and there were workers across the street on the property there.  Instead of him losing his cool and freaking out, he let me know by putting a paw on my chair.

Who does this?  Who taught him this stuff?  I am frankly amazed at this.  

If we could get him to stop barking at delivery trucks I’d be happy!

He’s not perfect but he’s learned me.  I guess that’s the most you can hope for.

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