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Archive for February, 2014

Played

She played me. The Labradork has been playing me. I am a sucker. For three years we’ve worked spin. Some days were better than others (faster, tighter spins). But then there were the days the command didn’t seem enough and I’d have to get a hand signal as well. Those days the spin was half hearted, slow, and not very tight, and I would just cheer her on, encourage her, or sometimes bring the treat out to lure her into a better spin.

Because of course the problem had to be my training right? If she wasn’t doing it correct, even after all that time, I must not have trained it right. She must not understand. So I’d take a few steps back. I’d work it again. Bring out the treat (read bribe). And then one day something inside me questioned. She’s almost three years old. This is a simple behavior. Could I seriously be that bad of a trainer that she really didn’t understand what I was asking? That had been my assumption. It had to be me. And it was, just not like I thought.

The other night I filled up her food bowl with dinner. I held it in my hand and without a signal said, “Spin.” It was like a fan had turned on as she whipped around in tight circle almost nose to tail. This sweet, innocent little Labradork had been playing me! She’d figured out the least amount of effort she could put into this behavior and still get the treat! Why put in effort if mom will just bring out the treat and lead me around by the nose and then still give me the treat? Mom’s a sucker!

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