Saturday, August 15, 2009

Smarter than the average dog

As a child, I watched the cartoon Yogi Bear. He always claimed he was 'Smarter than the average bear.' Which was how he got away within sneaking food from picnics. Subterfuge was a major component of his strategy.

Finn is a very agreeable dog, not getting into things he isn't supposed to, even when we aren't watching him. This does not mean he isn't capable of working out a strategy to get what he wants, even when he knows we don't want him to do it.

Yesterday I took of from work because I had a horse being picked up. The rest of the day I spent cleaning house, the major part being the weekly sweeping and scrubbing of my hardwood floors. Doing this is a lot easier if the major person contributing to the floor debris isn't there getting in the way. We had a beef rib bone for Finn, so I thought I would put him outside, and give him that to chew on while I cleaned.

This wasn't going to be easy, Finn believes he can't be any further than 3 inches from us at all times, no matter what we are doing. I went outside with Finn, taking the precaution of closing the back door, and gave him the rib bone. He immediately went to the door, found it closed, then sat on the grass with his bone. He knows he isn't allowed inside on the rug with a greasy bone, but he really prefers to eat treats on his rug. I did a few yard chores, waiting for him to get distracted with the bone, but he instead buried it, and followed me around the yard. So be it, I went inside, closing the door behind me and started cleaning.

When I was done, Finn was waiting right outside the back door. he came in, no sign of the bone. Later that day I was going through mail, and Finn asked to go out. I went out with him, but he just stood on the deck looking at me. He does that a lot, stand and look around, contemplating life, etc. before he finally goes about his business. Fine, I went back in and left him outside. As I was sitting at the table, I noticed Finn zip by me and go right to his rug. Usually he stops, gets a drink, then wants to be petted when he comes in. I looked up, and Finn had the bone with him. He had buried his bone, waited until supposedly I had forgotten about it, gone outside, waited for me to leave, then, dug it up and brought it in right by me.

The sheer sneaky cleverness of it stunned me and delighted me. I couldn't bring myself to scold him, and the bone was already on the rug now. I let him have it. It was a good reminder agreeable and submissive does not equal stupid.

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