We all really believe that we have trained our dogs.
Habibi has decided that whenever I eat something, he also deserves to get a tidbit. He can hear me opening the refrigerator or putting something in the micro from the midst of a deep sleep anywhere in the house. He presents himself in front of me, eyes shining, face smiling, tail wagging eagerly. If I am so unintelligent as to ignore him, he will run over to the refrigerator (where his favorite treats, sausage pieces, are kept), sit in front of it with his nose pointing to the door, and look back at me to be sure I am paying attention. He may also nudge the door with his nose, if I am being particularly obtuse. If I really try to ignore him – “Really, Habibi, you don’t need to get something every time!”, he will sit in front of me with an expression of, “Really! How many times do I have to show you?”. I ask him, “What? What do you want?” He looks at me with compassion – “I know you are not very intelligent and have trouble learning things,” before going back and pointing again at the refrigerator door. How can I refuse?
Habibi has trained me well….
He has also trained me to move over when he wants to get up next to me on the sofa. He comes over, and gently shoves his nose under the blanket against my leg until I move to make room for him. If I ignore him, he will simply get up and sit on my legs until I move them. There are, after all, various training methods…
If it is time to go outside to play, he will come over and stand staring at me, tail wagging, and may also walk back an forth a few times in the direction of the door. If I still insist on ignoring him, he will bring a toy over and drop it in my lap. “Okay, “ I may say, “if you want to play, here we go!” and throw it for him. Habibi looks at me with pity, and then may go over to get the toy and drop it in my lap again. “Please pay attention,” he says, “The house is not the place for playing, we have to go OUT for that!” Eventually, I realize what I am supposed to do, and go to open the door.
He has had a hard time training me about the meaning of barks. Obviously I should understand that different barks mean different things – there is a bark telling me that the neighbors are out there messing with the garbage cans, there is a bark for a cat passing by the gate, another one to tell me that the other dogs are busy with something that it is important for him to check out, and a bark that says, “This is serious! Something important is happening, and you had better come and take a look!” I am getting better at understanding, but I am sure that sometimes Habibi is close to losing patience with my learning disabilities.
I guess, to Habibi, I am reasonably well trained, but a bit stupid…