Monday, April 28, 2008

Trade and Yuck

In training our new pup one of the best tips, I've been given is to teach her to "Trade." I give her some wonderful treat and she drops whatever she has in her mouth or is playing with in order to get something better. Normally she will have something she shouldn't (i.e. a stolen handkerchief ) and I will "Trade" with her for a yummy treat or toy she really likes. It only took two times for her to figure out "Trade" is a very good thing. The drawback is she has learned if she wants a treat, all she has to do is steal a handkerchief from the dirty clothes hamper, run to where I am and wait for the "Trade" offer.

I'm OK with this if it will keep her willing to "Trade" when she has something bad or yucky. The test came yesterday. We've been airing out the house and in the process a huge fly made his way into the house. We've been chasing this monster for a couple of days, but he managed to allude us. The buzzing sound has been bugging Trixie. She would follow the fly through the house, jumping about trying to catch it.

I don't think flies live a really long time, so after three days in the house, this fly had become a old fly. Yesterday he landed rather low on the doors to the deck and his reflexes just weren't quick enough. Little Trixie jumped and snagged it. My first thought was "Good the fly is gone." The second was "Yuck, she's eating a fly." So we quickly tried the "Trade" option. This was the first time she had something she wasn't willing to "Trade" for the treat in my hand. She'd look up at us, thinking about it, but kept the fly in her mouth. Thankfully we were keeping her from chewing, but still, yuck!

I finally dug out one of the smelly liver training treats. That finally got her to put the fly on the floor and while I held the treat above her head so she would have to look up, my husband moved in to remove the now very dead fly carcass. It took some work to get her to give up her prize but without the "Trade" trick, she'd have eaten it. Now, it wouldn't have killed her or even made her sick, but yuck.

Thankfully, I didn't remember that she woke me from my nap by licking me on the mouth. But I do now, YUCK!

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