Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teaching Trouble a new trick

Every weekday, my oldest son comes home from school and takes Trouble for a jog. Trouble LOVES this. He seems to know exactly what time Jon is due home from school, and will watch eagerly from the window for the first sign of "his boy" coming home.

Trouble with Pepper, the foster kitty. Most recent picture I have.

Recently, Jon discovered that his high school has a chess club that meets every Wednesday after school. I gave him permission to go as long as his grades stay consistent. Of course, no one thought about explaining this to Trouble.

He was waiting at the window, like always, watching eagerly for Jon to come into view. Every time a kid would walk past the house, Trouble's tail would wag faster and faster...only to stop suddenly when he realized it wasn't "his" kid. Half an hour later, Trouble had had enough. He crawled onto my bed, buried his head under the blankets, and started crying. Pitiful whimpers and plaintive wails came from my quivering bedspread as the poor puppy gave voice to his sorrow.

It was clear I had to distract the poor little guy, so I pulled out a handful of treats and decided to teach him a new trick. Twenty minutes later, Trouble was happily playing dead every time I pointed at him and said "Bang!".

I praised him for being a good puppy and rewarded him with a stuffed animal to gnaw on, then went to browse the net. About ten minutes later, I heard a light whimper by my elbow. "What's wrong, baby?" I asked, looking over at him. Trouble wagged his tail and dramatically collapsed, looking at me hopefully. When I didn't get the hint, he glanced at the treat bowl, then back at me, and wagged his tail a little bit more. I tried very hard to hide my laughter as I praised him, then turned back to the computer.

Two minutes later, he wiggled into my vision, and when I glanced his way, he collapsed again.

This has been going on for half an hour now. I've successfully taught him to play how do I teach him to stop?

UPDATE: Trouble has been playing dead at a glance for over an hour now. Sean arrived home from running errands and I excitedly went to show him the new trick. I pointed at Trouble and said "Bang!". Trouble just cocked his head to the side and looked at me with a puzzled expression.

"Yeah, Trish, great job training the dog." chortled Sean as he walked out of the room. And of course, the moment Sean walked out? Trouble fell flat on his side and played dead.

The dog is an unrepentant brat.