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Wll wErk fr Fud an LUv

 

A couple of years ago, my daughter and a friend taught our dog how to raise a paw or “shake” for a food reward. The dog is sweet and friendly, but not exactly the Einstein of the canine world, if you get my drift. However, she learned quickly because there were treats involved.

Here’s the funny thing: we noticed she was using the raised paw, unprompted, in non-food situations. It’s now a sign that means “I need . . . [fill in the blank according to the context].” So on a long car trip, she was raising her paw if she needed to get out and use the bathroom (and I think she also does that if she wants the car window cracked so she can stick her snout out). And then yesterday, my husband was petting and talking to her because she had hurt her leg, and when he stopped, she lifted her paw. Obviously, she didn’t want the session to be over.

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There are 38 comments.

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  1. Member

    Even if she’s not an Einstein of the canine world, she’s got you doing what she wants. :-)

    • #1
    • March 12, 2018 at 9:11 am
    • 17 likes
  2. Member

    Adorable. Thank you for sharing this :)

    • #2
    • March 12, 2018 at 9:19 am
    • 5 likes
  3. Coolidge

    Worthless without pictures, this thread is.

    • #3
    • March 12, 2018 at 9:26 am
    • 5 likes
  4. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    TheSockMonkey (View Comment):
    Worthless without pictures, this thread is.

    I know. I thought I had a dog photo in my C drive, but couldn’t locate it. And I had to weigh it out: dog picture, or making a living?

    I’ll work on it if I get a chance today.

    • #4
    • March 12, 2018 at 9:29 am
    • 7 likes
  5. Member

    I have a standard poodle. Pretty smart, in dog terms. One of the first things we taught her was to hit a bell that hangs from the doorknob when she wants to go outside. After 9 years of that, she recently started going to the bell and ringing it for anything that needs attention. Just like your girl. If her usual caregiver (me) isn’t home and she wants food or water, she rings the bell and then brings whoever comes to her aid to her bowls. If she wants help retrieving a ball under a sofa, or just a scratch and no one is paying attention, she goes to the bell. “Ahem.”

    • #5
    • March 12, 2018 at 10:11 am
    • 11 likes
  6. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    KiminWI (View Comment):
    After 9 years of that, she recently started going to the bell and ringing it for anything that needs attention. Just like your girl. If her usual caregiver (me) isn’t home and she wants food or water, she rings the bell and then brings whoever comes to her aid to her bowls.

    Ha, ha, ha. That is so entertaining.

    • #6
    • March 12, 2018 at 10:12 am
    • 4 likes
  7. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    Something interesting I observed my dog doing several years ago made me realize she kind of recognizes what human hands are for. A neighbor came by with her grinning infant, about nine or ten months old. Our dog loves it when people comes to the house and greeted her as she would greet other guests, but with a tad more gusto. This small guest was proving to be one of her favorites, and the mother and I were laughing but trying to keep the baby at a sanitary distance. Then the dog brought over her toy, the rope, for her favorite game of tug-of-war, and dropped it next to the baby. When the baby didn’t respond as expected, the dog kept trying to maneuver the rope into the the tiny hand.

    • #7
    • March 12, 2018 at 10:23 am
    • 14 likes
  8. Contributor

    KiminWI (View Comment):
    I have a standard poodle. Pretty smart, in dog terms.

    All poodles are very smart and they know just how to wrap us around their . . . paws.

    • #8
    • March 12, 2018 at 10:38 am
    • 6 likes
  9. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    What I think is at work here is part of the animal’s survival instinct. Dogs easily figure out or learn anything that contributes to a good dog life–food, play, affection, etc. They can quickly adapt to know commands, words, or even subtle behaviors signaling you are going for a car ride. As for anything beyond that, such as conception of an airplane flying overhead, forget it.

    Some quirks are more difficult to interpret. For example, my husband started encouraging Blue to chase deer out of our yard. She kept it up energetically for awhile, but then with her sore back leg (she’s a three-legger), started defaulting to resting in the grass while watching the deer. However, if she caught sight of any of us–if we were pulling our car into the driveway or coming out onto the porch–she would get up and vociferously start running off the deer. This happened repeatedly throughout the day, so we weren’t imagining things. She wanted us to think she was doing her duty.

    This hasn’t happened for awhile since it’s winter and the deer are scarce, but come spring, she will be back at this performance.

    • #9
    • March 12, 2018 at 10:43 am
    • 13 likes
  10. Member

    We have had 3 Scottish Deerhounds (the beauty of the place) and 2 shelter dogs (the brains). I also had the great idea of putting a bell by the door to signal when the shelter dogs needed to go out. They learned very quickly and I had to remove the bell for our sanity.

    We added dogs sequentially, starting with the shelter dogs and the most amazing difference was their behavior towards Vultures. When we first moved out to the country, we had a vulture problem where they would sit in the trees or on the chimney. My wife would go out and yell and clap until they flew away. The first shelter dog quickly learned to run and bark at them. He was the first dog I knew that looked up. He knew the difference between Vultures (bark and go crazy) and crows, geese and so on (totally ignore) When we got the second shelter dog, he quickly learned from the first.

    Then we got deerhounds who never picked it up at all. On the other hand, they were excellent at chasing the deer away from the apple and pear trees. The deer were smart enough to know to run to the other side of the invisible fence that kept the dogs on our side.

    One last note: Growing up, we had dogs, but just one at a time. Out here, we built up to a pack of 4 (one shelter dog and three deerhounds) and are now down to one deerhound. Watching the interactions between two or more dogs is an amazing thing.

    • #10
    • March 12, 2018 at 11:21 am
    • 10 likes
  11. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    WillowSpring (View Comment):
    I had to remove the bell for our sanity.

    Ha, ha, ha.

    • #11
    • March 12, 2018 at 11:32 am
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    I have had 17 dogs. I could attest to how dumb the dogs thought I was all day long.

    • #12
    • March 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm
    • 9 likes
  13. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    If one paw doesn’t get the desired results . . . try the other one. (Actually, she probably switched legs for balance.)

    • #13
    • March 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm
    • 12 likes
  14. Member

    Completely adorable and very smart – of course cats don’t have to bother with tricks like raising paws – they just stare at you very intently and through osmosis, you quickly get the message….

    • #14
    • March 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm
    • 9 likes
  15. Moderator
    She

    Many years ago, we had a very tame goat (Lady Ada Lovelace) who lived up behind the house. She dearly loved small, fresh branches to chew on, from one of the nearby trees, and somewhere along the way, she “trained” us to reach up and snip one off and give it to her by a jerk of her head to get our attention, and then a piercing stare directed first, up to to the tree, and then straight at whichever of us was outside. Her glare was so patently demanding, that (of course) we had no choice but to oblige.

    • #15
    • March 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    • 8 likes
  16. Moderator
    She

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I have had 17 dogs. I could attest to how dumb the dogs thought I was all day long.

    My record for simultaneous dog ownership is 9. Think I probably have you beat. Yeah, most of them are not terribly bright. They are single-minded though, and that’s not nothing.

    • #16
    • March 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm
    • 6 likes
  17. Contributor

    Birch is smart enough to know that it’s cold outside, and to heck with that.

    • #17
    • March 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm
    • 16 likes
  18. Member
    sawatdeeka Post author

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Birch is smart enough to know that it’s cold outside, and to heck with that.

    She looks gentle and wise.

    • #18
    • March 12, 2018 at 1:18 pm
    • 3 likes
  19. Member

    She (View Comment):
    Many years ago, we had a very tame goat (Lady Ada Lovelace) who lived up behind the house.

    Is there a story behind the name?

    • #19
    • March 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm
    • 3 likes
  20. Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Birch is smart enough to know that it’s cold outside, and to heck with that.

    His or her owner, on the other hand….

    • #20
    • March 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    • 6 likes
  21. Coolidge

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):
    Something interesting I observed my dog doing several years ago made me realize she kind of recognizes what human hands are for. A neighbor came by with her grinning infant, about nine or ten months old. Our dog loves it when people comes to the house and greeted her as she would greet other guests, but with a tad more gusto. This small guest was proving to be one of her favorites, and the mother and I were laughing but trying to keep the baby at a sanitary distance. Then the dog brought over her toy, the rope, for her favorite game of tug-of-war, and dropped it next to the baby. When the baby didn’t respond as expected, the dog kept trying to maneuver the rope into the the tiny hand.

    In my neuroethology class many years ago, my professor told us that supposedly one of Pavlov’s dogs after a while used to jump up and ring the bell, figuring it should lead to dinner. I’ve never been able to confirm it but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

    • #21
    • March 12, 2018 at 4:00 pm
    • 7 likes
  22. Member

    She (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I have had 17 dogs. I could attest to how dumb the dogs thought I was all day long.

    My record for simultaneous dog ownership is 9. Think I probably have you beat. Yeah, most of them are not terribly bright. They are single-minded though, and that’s not nothing.

    You do have me beat. We had four and one came to visit for a few months then left. We called him Nod, not our dog.

    • #22
    • March 12, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    • 6 likes
  23. Member

    TheSockMonkey (View Comment):
    Worthless without pictures, this thread is.

    • #23
    • March 12, 2018 at 4:05 pm
    • 6 likes
  24. Coolidge

    I have to get Bob into this thread. He knows only a few tricks, but he’s a good dog.

    • #24
    • March 12, 2018 at 4:36 pm
    • 10 likes
  25. Member

    Animals are fascinating. We had a wonderful mutt named Mollie for 14 years; she was the kindest and gentlest dog I have ever known, but she had a fierce side which she rarely displayed. Once, my brother and sister in law dropped off their three week old baby while they went to a wedding. Mollie sat there observing my parents and I taking care of the baby for hours one end; when they came home, and my father gave the baby to my brother, Mollie started to viciously growl at my brother. It was kind of scary for a few seconds, but then it seemed to occur to her that if we were ok with giving the baby to my brother, then she could be ok with it too. That sort of thing was very out of character for her.

    • #25
    • March 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    • 5 likes
  26. Coolidge
    TBA

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):
    What I think is at work here is part of the animal’s survival instinct. Dogs easily figure out or learn anything that contributes to a good dog life–food, play, affection, etc. They can quickly adapt to know commands, words, or even subtle behaviors signaling you are going for a car ride. As for anything beyond that, such as conception of an airplane flying overhead, forget it.

    Some quirks are more difficult to interpret. For example, my husband started encouraging Blue to chase deer out of our yard. She kept it up energetically for awhile, but then with her sore back leg (she’s a three-legger), started defaulting to resting in the grass while watching the deer. However, if she caught sight of any of us–if we were pulling our car into the driveway or coming out onto the porch–she would get up and vociferously start running off the deer. This happened repeatedly throughout the day, so we weren’t imagining things. She wanted us to think she was doing her duty.

    This hasn’t happened for awhile since it’s winter and the deer are scarce, but come spring, she will be back at this performance.

    You should document, because I’m pretty sure that when you bring that up during her annual performance review she won’t admit to it.

    • #26
    • March 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm
    • 6 likes
  27. Coolidge
    TBA

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Completely adorable and very smart – of course cats don’t have to bother with tricks like raising paws – they just stare at you very intently and through osmosis, you quickly get the message….

    “Does Fluffikins seem even more contemptuous today than usual?”

    “Oh, I’d better feed her. Maybe change the litter box….”

    • #27
    • March 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm
    • 4 likes
  28. Coolidge
    TBA

    She (View Comment):
    Many years ago, we had a very tame goat (Lady Ada Lovelace) who lived up behind the house. She dearly loved small, fresh branches to chew on, from one of the nearby trees, and somewhere along the way, she “trained” us to reach up and snip one off and give it to her by a jerk of her head to get our attention, and then a piercing stare directed first, up to to the tree, and then straight at whichever of us was outside. Her glare was so patently demanding, that (of course) we had no choice but to oblige.

    Wasn’t that a George Clooney movie?

    • #28
    • March 12, 2018 at 6:47 pm
    • Like
  29. Coolidge
    TBA

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):
    Something interesting I observed my dog doing several years ago made me realize she kind of recognizes what human hands are for. A neighbor came by with her grinning infant, about nine or ten months old. Our dog loves it when people comes to the house and greeted her as she would greet other guests, but with a tad more gusto. This small guest was proving to be one of her favorites, and the mother and I were laughing but trying to keep the baby at a sanitary distance. Then the dog brought over her toy, the rope, for her favorite game of tug-of-war, and dropped it next to the baby. When the baby didn’t respond as expected, the dog kept trying to maneuver the rope into the the tiny hand.

    In my neuroethology class many years ago, my professor told us that supposedly one of Pavlov’s dogs after a while used to jump up and ring the bell, figuring it should lead to dinner. I’ve never been able to confirm it but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if it ate the bell either.

    • #29
    • March 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm
    • 3 likes
  30. Member

    You’ve all seen this video, right?

    • #30
    • March 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm
    • 4 likes
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