By Fred Prout
Dogs have their own set of rules. They supersede any that we try to impose on them. Simple: eat, drink, walk, sleep, give love, give more love, empty tanks and, to my dismay, periodically, eat grass and urff on the rug. Not outside, not on the linoleum. On the rug. I don’t know if you have ever watched a dog grab grass. Especially when they are involved with Canine Facebook (a more genteel way of saying pmail). They seemingly spot the desired blades from ten yards away, innocently start to walk past it, then, like a snake, the head yanks towards the prey, and, gobbles. A couple of years ago, I got tired of this and decided on a course of behavior modification. AKA training.
The book says to use a combination of rewards and punishment. Well, I’m not going to punish my dog for following the rules. And how do you reward her for not doing something? I just couldn’t figure that out. So I read further. Chapter Seventeen says “Your dog may respond to repeated demonstrations of correct behavior. So, as an example, throw the ball, bark and run after it yourself. Your dog may come to understand what you want.”
Well, I’m happy to report that over two years of training has finally paid off. Last Monday, Kelly grabbed some grass, ate it and we continued our walk. Miraculously, before we got home, she stopped and urffed on the sidewalk. She finally, after all that time, got it. It is a huge relief for me as I have come to hate the taste of grass. Also, the neighbors complain and take pictures.