Too Smart By Half
In the evenings, we feed Toby after we have our dinner. Toby is well aware of this routine and spends his evenings watching us, waiting for us to make a move toward the laundry room, where his food is stored.
Toby has excellent mealtime manners. He knows that he needs to sit and wait until he's told 'Go eat'. He's learned the difference between 'go eat' and 'gopher'. He's even able to sit and wait while we leave the room. (And sometimes, on rare occasions, Peter has forgotten Toby was waiting and the dog has sat there for minutes, which has to feel like lifetimes to a hungry dog.) In fact, Toby has so associated being well-behaved with eating, his go-to begging move is to sit down.
Yesterday, we went into the kitchen after dinner and Toby was alternating between prancing frantically and sitting, as if to say 'I'm hungry and I'm ready'. When that didn't work, he ran up to Peter and sat down, looking up with an urgent expression. Then Toby ran into the laundry room, ran out toward his food dish, then ran back to Peter, sat down and looked up at him with that same urgent expression. The message was as clear as if the dog had suddenly learned to speak English.
Peter looked at him with amazement and amusement. "Did you see that? Toby, that was great." Then Peter's voice took on a tinge of regret. "But you know, this means I'm going to have to wait a little bit longer, because I can't let you think you can tell me what to do."