Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who's training who?

My critters find me very easy to train. I've been aware of this for years. When I am working with horses or other performance animals, I have to be very careful that we are progressing on my agenda - along with theirs!

For example, our little pug cross, Scraps, is on pain medicine for a torn ligament right now. The vet said the pills taste good and she should eat them fine. The first two, she did. Then she spit it out. I wrapped her pill in a hot dog. She ate it. Then this morning, she ate the hot dog, spit the pill out and expectantly looked at me. Obviously, I was supposed to wrap another hot dog around the pill.

At that point, I realized her scheme and force fed her the pill. She has a bit of a weight problem, too. She does not need extra hot dogs. I have one very unhappy little dog! She was sure she had her human much better trained than that.

Sometimes I don't even realize the ways they change my behaviour. My Aussie will come up and sit next to me. If I don't go into auto-pet the dog mode, he will rumble. Rarely any more does he have to escalate to a full "YIP" to get me to automatically start stroking him with a hand or foot.

Shawn laughed at me the other morning when he came into the office. It took me a minute to figure out why. His cat, Halfie, likes to sit in my office chair. She gets very upset and subversive if I move her. She will jump on my lap, rub on my computer and make a general pest of herself. But, if I just leave her in the chair and type over her, life is good.

Halfie knows who really runs the Common Threads office!

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