Saturday, March 22, 2014

Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat

In the house, Cookie's got much better at not chewing up everything in sight. She's got a handle on things so they don't just randomly jump into her mouth any more. Much.

When she does get something to play with, though, sooner or later she's determined to eat it.

She cannot have any toys unsupervised.

Outside, there are so many temping things, sticks and branches in particular.

And with the wild weather, there have been plenty of them in spite of all the snow we had.

It wouldn't be a problem if she just liked bouncing around with the sticks or shredding them. That is, of course, allowed. But like with everything else, if it hangs around her mouth long enough, it gets eaten.

Eating sticks is not such a great idea.

Our bright plan was to teach her to drop the stick when asked, or leave it when asked. Good enough plan, no?

Cookie is a very good girl, always eager to please and from the start she's been more than happy to drop or leave the stick on request. Rightfully, she got rewarded with a praise and a treat.

All sounds good, doesn't it?

Perfectly good plan. But Cookie learned something else from it: "If I grab a stick, and then drop it when asked, I get a treat!"

Can you see where this is going?

Yup. Cookie will grab a stick. Then she'll drop it just long enough to acquire her treat and grab it again (or a different one if there are more around). That is her new game.

How many sticks can she grab and drop per minute?

Just in case you're wondering—a lot.

And yes, she'll leave one if you ask her, just to find another one. She thinks it's a great game and a great way to get all the treats you can eat!

Best laid plans ...

So now what? I guess trying to turn "an empty mouth" into a trick ...? Or teach her to carry around something else so the mouth is occupied doing that? Or just ignore the whole thing in hopes that she will lose interest in both the game and the sticks?

Yes, she's a smart Cookie. Plus we think that Jasmine is secretly coaching her.

So who exactly is training whom?

How do you outsmart a dog who has outsmarted you?

Related articles:
Outsmarting A Smart Dog 

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie


At March 23, 2014 at 9:23 AM , Blogger Brian said...

Oh yea, she is a smart one and taught you exactly what she wants!!!

At March 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...

Yes, she did. That's why we suspect Jasmine coaching her. Though Cookie is quite smart on her own and very observant, figuring stuff out all the time.

At March 24, 2014 at 6:47 AM , Anonymous Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats said...

Two of our dogs did the same things with cat toys. "If I pick it up and bring it to you, you'll say, 'Drop it,' I drop it and then I get a treat."

I had to train them out of it. First, I didn't reward every time they dropped the toy. Though that can sometimes make it even more rewarding so that certainly wasn't enough.

Then I caught them right when they were about to pick up a cat toy, and said, 'Leave it." That got lots of praise and a leave it.

And then I rewarded them for just walking by a cat toy and not looking at it or thinking about it.

Still, every once in a while, Tucker or Lilah will try the pick up the toy game. I don't reward them anymore for the Drop it. Game over. Mostly. ;-)

--Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

At March 24, 2014 at 6:56 AM , Blogger Talking-Dogs said...

She's one very smart cookie ;-)

At March 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM , Anonymous Flea said...

My brand new baby is already that kind of smart. It helps that I give him his commands in some situations when I have no treat, like Sit when he's waiting to go outside. He gets a Good Sit and the door opens. But yes, it's going to be a long road. :)

At March 24, 2014 at 2:39 PM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...

LOL We [humans] have a hard time being at least as smart as our dogs, huh?

Rewarding for walking by a cat toy, great idea. Kind of hard with sticks, since they're everywhere!

We are trying to just ignore her with the stick to see what happens, though often we do have to ask for drop it eventually when she starts eating it *sigh

At March 24, 2014 at 2:39 PM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...

I know, right? And her name works perfectly with that LOL

At March 24, 2014 at 2:40 PM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...

We'll see who wins LOL

At March 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM , Blogger M. K. Clinton said...

Bentley seems to always figure out a way to extra treats too! It is sad when our dogs outsmart us again and again! BOL!

At March 24, 2014 at 10:29 PM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...


At March 24, 2014 at 10:50 PM , Blogger D said...

Lol, smart girl! :) I'd go with teaching her to hold a toy in her mouth when you go on walks. I've actually been meaning to do this with Niles (for a totally different reason) but just haven't gotten started yet.

Good luck with whatever you guys go with!

At March 25, 2014 at 1:12 AM , Blogger DawgBlogger said...

Yeah, that's one of my thoughts. If the mouth has something already in it ...


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