Thursday, September 11, 2008

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."



At 11 September 2008 at 10:45, Blogger Babaloo said...

Oh my, Toby is such a smart dog! Amazing. Jack just wants to eat. I think that's his main purpose in life. That and getting his chest/chin scratched (still itchy). Maybe we should try and introduce something he needs to do to get his food. Maybe that'll calm him down. Hm. A lot of work that's going to be...

At 11 September 2008 at 15:19, Blogger Kaycie said...

What a well behaved dog. Can Peter come train my two for a while?

At 13 September 2008 at 01:58, Blogger ped crossing said...

Velcro isn't nearly that patient. He dances and prances and bounces. Especially if you say breakfast or dinner. He knows what time of day that should happen and tries not to let us forget.

I did train him to wait before he digs in, but he will only wait if I tell him to.

At 16 September 2008 at 11:15, Blogger wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Oh, you're so tough on Toby. But you have to be, don't you? Jake has taken to licking his lead when he wants to go on a walk. He gives us his plaintive look and walks to the cupboard where his food is when he's hungry. The other night we were out so he put himself to bed and got out the Bonio box (he always gets a Bonio at bedtime).

At 20 September 2008 at 06:54, Blogger -Ann said...

Babaloo - It's not really that bad. You'd be surprised how quickly food focuses the mind.

Kaycie - I'll suggest to him that this could be his side business. :)

PC - I'd love to see Velcro bouncing around. I bet it's cute.

WUASTC - Especially with a dog like Toby, who will be in charge (but uncomfortable with that status) if he thinks no one else is taking the responsibility. I love the mental image of Jake putting himself to bed.


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